Glastonbury Music Festival Profile

Pete Cronin/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Basics:

  • What: Music festival Glastonbury
  • Where: Pilton, Somerset, England
  • When: Annually on the last weekend of July (with every fifth year taken off)
  • Founded by: Michael Eavis
  • Founded: 1970

Glastonbury History:

The Glastonbury Festival was inspired by a 1970 outdoor concert by Led Zeppelin in Bath, England, and it remains very much rooted in the laid back ethos of the period. Michael Eavis held the first Glastonbury on September 19, 1970, on his farm.

Attendance was impressive for a first time festival - 1,500 music fans showed up to see artists including:

The following year, the dates for the festival were changed to the end of June for the Summer Solstice and it was renamed the Glastonbury Fayre. Although the "fayre" has been dropped from the name, the June dates remain in place.

The Machine Behind the Festival:

Glastonbury is still the baby of Michael Eavis, the man who created the festival and still owns the farm on which it is held. He is assisted in running the gig by concert promoters Mean Fiddler. As the festival has grown over the years, Eavis has allowed independent groups to take control over different areas on the festival land to host their own events within the Glastonbury framework. Usually these areas are run by companies with a product to promote or NGOs like Greenpeace.

Giving Back at Glasto:

In keeping with the spirit in which it was created, Eavis is committed to using Glastonbury to promote social causes.

All of the workers at the festival are volunteers, most from charity organizations. Charity groups that send volunteers to the festival are rewarded with sizable donations from the proceeds (Oxfam is a major beneficiary). All glass, cans and paper from the festival are recycled and many charity groups set up booths on the grounds to solicit donations from concert goers.

Eavis has also supported a wide range of charities of his choosing with the proceeds throughout the years.

What to Expect at Glastonbury:

Glastonbury is absolutely huge - attendance had topped 177,000 in 2007, so expect crowds! The festival stretches over 3 days and camping on site is the norm. Musically, there is a heavy emphasis on British indie bands, but plenty of other genres are represented as well, especially including electronica and world music. The exact structure of stages and tents vary annually.

Although Glastonbury is primarily a music festival, you can also find comedy, dance, art and even a circus on site.

Play at Glastonbury:

Getting to play at Glastonbury usually comes down to having a lot of press attention or an agent or manager who is able to pull some strings. Unlike many other festivals, however, Glastonbury does offer a few opportunities for unsigned artists or bands on smaller labels to get a shot:

- Artists who want to play on the acoustic stage should send demos to:
Glastonbury Acoustic Stage
Asgard
125 Parkway
Regents Park
London
NW1 7PS


- Artists who want to play in the dance village should send demos to:
Glastonbury Dance Village
PO Box 1132
Bristol
BS99 2JZ


- Unsigned British bands can enter the Q Magazine Glastonbury Talent Competition.

It is held annually, but the dates change, so keep an eye on the magazine for details.

- International artists can submit two tracks electronically to the festival via on the Glastonbury website. Keep in mind that they will get in touch if (and only if) they want more info about your band - don't contact them to follow up.

Need some help getting your demo together? Check out these articles: