Glastonbury Festival is the best job in the world, says BBC executive producer

The BBC’s Glastonbury Festival TV coverage is the ‘jewel in the crown’ and the team behind it have thought about ‘how to give everyone the magic of Glastonbury’, says the executive producer behind the TV outing. This year.

he highly anticipated festival returns this week for the first time in three years after the pandemic forced organizers to cancel twice.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Sir Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish and rapper Kendrick Lamar will headline the Pyramid stage, while Diana Ross will take the place of Sunday tea legends.

The BBC will bring coverage to the public on ‘all four linear TV networks’, which ‘has never happened’, and it will also air its ‘biggest offering on the iPlayer’, the TV executive producer says from the BBC, Alison Howe.

She told the PA news agency: ‘There’s an awful lot going into it. We love what we do, but we work really long hours to make sure it’s as good as possible.

“We spend a lot of time planning it, I think about it all the time, even though I work on a lot of other shows for the BBC.

“It’s a huge part of your life if you’re working in live music coverage, it really is the crown jewel, so we want to have thought of everything.

“There’s an awful lot in physical terms, and then a lot of planning, execution, thinking, management, and the hours on site are long, there’s no getting around that.

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Billie Eilish performing on the other stage at Glastonbury Festival 2019 (Aaron Chown/PA)

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Billie Eilish performing on the other stage at Glastonbury Festival 2019 (Aaron Chown/PA)

“But everyone who comes to work with us at the festival, they don’t really think about that, they just think about being there and having the best job in the world at that time.”

Ms Howe, who has worked on the festival’s cover every year since 1992, said it was continually getting “bigger and better” which “has only been intensified by the pandemic”.

“What we’ve been thinking about this year is how to give everyone the magic of Glastonbury.

“That kind of unique position that he has both physically – in that he’s in the middle of the countryside on a dairy farm – and the kind of aura where he fits in spiritually and then all these great artists and performance that happens on site,” she said.

This year, the BBC has “advanced technically” by bringing Ultra High Definition (UHD) filming to the Pyramid stage, which is a “big step”.

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BBC Broadcasting House in London (Ian West/PA)


BBC Broadcasting House in London (Ian West/PA)

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BBC Broadcasting House in London (Ian West/PA)

“I think it’s the start of a journey in terms of the technical aspects of capturing a lot of live music, it’s exciting,” Ms Howe said.

Speaking about the festival’s return, she added, “I think getting excited would be an understatement, really excited and honored because we don’t take it for granted that we can do this all the time.

“We have a brilliant working relationship with the Eavis family and all the people who bring the festival together, the BBC is in a way part of that family.

“There is no doubt that the festival and the BBC have somehow grown together over the years.

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Glastonbury co-hosts Michael Eavis with his daughter Emily (Chris Radburn/PA)


Glastonbury co-hosts Michael Eavis with his daughter Emily (Chris Radburn/PA)

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Glastonbury co-hosts Michael Eavis with his daughter Emily (Chris Radburn/PA)

“The whole BBC team comes together, that’s the best part because that’s when the BBC is at its best, I think, when it’s all working together on one thing. as it did at Jubilee and major sporting events… I hope we make the BBC and the public proud.

The BBC will broadcast on TV, radio, BBC Sounds, BBC iPlayer and online, from flagship shows on the Pyramid Stage to emerging artists on the BBC Music Introducing Stage.

Coverage will be brought to the public by some of the BBC’s most beloved presenters, including Clara Amfo, Dermot O’Leary, Jack Saunders, Lauren Laverne, Vick Hope and Zoe Ball – all broadcasting live from Worthy Farm.

Laverne will broadcast from the gates on Wednesday when the first festival-goers enter the site, while All Day Glastonbury will continue on 6 Music throughout the weekend in addition to coverage on Radio 1, Radio 1Xtra and Radio 2.

The BBC’s dedicated Glastonbury channel is due to launch on June 23, featuring a four-day feed of live performances and preview programmes.

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Clara Amfo (Matt Crossick/PA)


Clara Amfo (Matt Crossick/PA)

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Clara Amfo (Matt Crossick/PA)

Wells MP James Heappey said there was “great excitement” that the Glastonbury Festival was returning to his constituency after a three-year hiatus.

He told the PA news agency: ‘It’s great to have the festival back after the pandemic.

“It’s a huge contributor to the local economy and while we’re always keen for organizers to work closely with local authorities to minimize disruption to residents, it’s with great enthusiasm that we welcome stars from around the world. world and hundreds of thousands of music lovers, in our corner of Somerset this weekend.

Similarly, on Twitter, Kylie Minogue said performing on the Glastonbury Legend stage in 2019 was “one of the most amazing times” of her life and she hopes everyone has the “most amazing time this year”. .

The Somerset festival will welcome around 200,000 visitors from Wednesday, with more than 80 artists performing including US pop star Olivia Rodrigo, Lorde and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

However, festival-goers will struggle to arrive at the Pilton site amid three days of major rail strikes in the biggest outbreak of industrial action in a generation.

Only a fifth of trains were running on Tuesday as around 40,000 members of Network Rail’s Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and 13 train operators walked out in a bitter dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

Jon Collins, managing director of Live – the voice of the UK live music industry – told the PA news agency: “It’s one of the biggest weekends of the year. for live music fans, with Glastonbury and British Summer Time (festivals) both taking place for the first time in three years, due to the pandemic.

“However, fans and staff now face serious delays and potential security risks as they are forced to choose alternate routes.

“While we recognize the legitimacy of this action, our industry is facing a perfect storm of fragile consumer confidence, rising costs, inflation and supply chain issues, which means we cannot frankly unable to bear the impact of new strikes threatened this fall.

“Beyond this week, any further action will have extremely negative impacts on a sector that is already on the brink.”

In a statement, the Glastonbury Festival added that due to the extra traffic, festival-goers may arrive at the site from 4pm on Tuesday evening when “traffic volumes are low”.

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Trains stopped at Edge Hill Sidings in Wavertree Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)


Trains stopped at Edge Hill Sidings in Wavertree Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

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Trains stopped at Edge Hill Sidings in Wavertree Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Glastonbury’s lineup also includes new artists such as Arlo Parks, Doja Cat, Easy Life, Fontaines DC and Griff, alongside established names such as Crowded House, Primal Scream and Supergrass.

Pet Shop Boys will headline The Other Stage in a ‘long-awaited’ performance, while former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant will appear alongside American country and bluegrass star Alison Krauss, after the release of their second collaborative album.

Three Ukrainian acts, including 2016 Eurovision winner Jamala, will bring an anti-war message to the site and there will be discussions on climate change, Black Lives Matter and Russia.

Glastonbury 2022 runs from June 22 to June 26 and tickets are sold out.

Jan G. Gilbert