Timeline: Glastonbury over four decades

Posted on: November 8, 2010

The changing face of 40 year-old Glastonbury Festival – a story of flower power, freak floods, and iconic music.

1970 Michael Eavis held the first Glastonbury festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset, then known as Pilton Festival, with 1500 attendees.

1971 David Bowie makes Glastonbury debut, attracting nationwide interest. The infamous Pyramid Stage is first built.

1971 The festival was recorded and released on film, called Glastonbury Fayre, showcasing the medieval tradition of music, dance, poetry and theatre entertainment.

1981 The first year the festival made profit, organised in conjunction with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) . Eavis donated £20,000 to the campaign.

1990 Saw the biggest festival yet. The ‘Battle of Yeoman’s Bridge’ occurred when violence broke out at the end of the festival between the security guards and new age travellers – led to the cancellation of the Festival in 1991.

1992 Following the Cold War, Eavis donated £250,000 to Greenpeace and Oxfam instead of the CND. Acts such as Shakespeare’s Sister drew younger crowds than previously seen before.

1995 The 25th anniversary saw the Festival become more commercialised, as it was televised on Channel 4, staging acts such as Oasis and Massive Attack.

1997 Known as ‘The Year of the Mud’ due to torrential rain. The Festival increases it’s media presence, with live broadcasts from BBC Radio 2 and a daily newspaper was published. Tickets prices rose to £83.

2002 The ‘Ring of Steel’ was build at the cost of 3 million pounds, to prevent security breaches seen by gatecrashers in 2000. 140,000 festival-goers paid £97 for tickets, who saw the likes of Stereophonics, Coldplay and Fatboy Slim perform.

2008 Controversial headliner Jay-Z brought hiphop to the traditional rock and folk event, but won over critics covering Oasis classic ‘Wonderwall’ as crowds of 134,000 celebrated a new era of the festival.


2010 Marking the 40th anniversary, Stevie Wonder and Muse headlined. Tickets, priced at a record high of £185, sold out in less than 24 hours.

2012 Due to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Eavis announced that the Festival shall not be taking place, as there will be a shortage of portable toilets and policing in the UK that summer.


2 Responses to "Timeline: Glastonbury over four decades"

2012 cancellation due to shortage of cops and portaloos? Sorry, no. The break year was moved from 2011 to 2012 a good few years before that “story” broke….

Excellent stuff on Timeline: Glastonbury over four decades elliott keene. I possibly agree with most of it!

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