How the Pilton Pop Festival became the iconic Glastonbury Festival we know today

Have you listened to the Glastonbury Festival 2022? Known for its big acts, unique fashion and unbeatable atmosphere, Glastonbury is unlike any other. If you haven’t made it this year, start planning for 2023 now!

Have you listened to the Glastonbury Festival 2022? Known for its big acts, unique fashion and unbeatable atmosphere, Glastonbury is unlike any other. If you haven’t made it this year, start planning for 2023 now!

But how was this global festival born? Has it always been the center of music and fashion or did it have humble beginnings?

We delve into Glastonbury’s humble beginnings as the Pilton Pop Festival and its journey to becoming one of the most popular events on the international calendar. Are you ready for a slice of music history?

What is the Glastonbury Festival?

Before we dive into Glastonbury’s varied history, we’ll give you a quick overview of this huge event.

With around 210,000 guests, an impressive 40 ton pyramid stage and even a dairy farm, this festival is unlike any other. Visitors can enjoy 30 different areas, more than 100 stages and performers, and relieve themselves in 3,330 restrooms.

As you can imagine, the process of building Glastonbury is not easy. Event planners work year round to bring the festival to Somerset every year. From recruiting staff to filling the lineup with star performers, Glastonbury planners never have a moment to lose.

1970: back to the beginning

Let’s go back to 1970. The first year the Glastonbury Festival appeared was in the early 1970s, the day after Jimi Hendrix passed away. But it was not a morbid event!

Originally held in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, Glasto’s first year saw just 1,500 attendees. Also, it is important to note that this festival was not yet called Glastonbury; attendees signed up for the Pilton Pop Festival. The price to attend was just £1, including free milk from the dairy farm – a far cry from the £280 tickets available in 2022.

Notable acts from the event’s first year included Al Stewart, Marc Bolan, Keith Christmas, Quintessence and Stackridge.

Presentation of the Pyramid stage

When you think of the Glastonbury Festival, what comes to mind? For many, it’s the iconic Pyramid Stage.

Although the Pyramid Stage appeared sporadically from the 1970s through 1981, it became the stage we know and love in the 1980s. In 1981, the Pyramid Stage became a permanent fixture on the farm, serving as a shelter for the livestock in winter.

1981 was an important year for the Glastonbury Festival, as it was the year the name of the festival changed from Pilton Pop Festival to the name we use now.

Creator Michael Eavis collaborated with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the 1980s, using the festival to promote CND while building funding. Glastonbury began to be associated with good causes and the Earth, a tradition that continues, with David Attenborough as a mystery guest last year.

Popular acts seen in the 1980s included The Smiths, Madness, Van Morrison and Elvis Costello.

Partying in the 90s

Glastonbury began to look like the event we know today in the 1990s. During this decade the event achieved legendary status and revelers from across the UK made the annual trip to put their worries aside for a weekend of fun.

In 1994, The Levellers headlined the festival, drawing a crowd of over 300,000 attendees – the largest crowd to date. Along with record crowds, 1994 was the first year Glastonbury Festival was shown on Channel 4, with coverage from two main stages.

The festival we know and love today

Throughout the 2000s, the Pyramid Stage received a facelift, creating the 100-foot-tall stage you’ll see today. The event has also become a place to see and be seen, with paparazzi catching famous British celebrities letting their hair down over the weekend.

Highlight performances include David Bowie, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Beyoncé and Jay Z. Don’t worry if you missed these acts – we expect there to be more to come as the festival continues to attract music lovers from all over the world. .

This year Glastonbury celebrated its 50th anniversary belatedly. Top performers of 2022 included Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar and Diana Ross. Another successful year!

The bottom line

Glastonbury has come a long way since its beginnings as the Pilton Pop Festival, cementing its place as one of the top events in the world. Whether you’re there for the music or the vibe, this event really should be on your 2023 calendar.

Are you going to sign up for next year’s festival?

Jan G. Gilbert