If you are facing the prospect of being up to the nostrils in mud while trying to listen to the distant sounds of ZZ Top in a urine drenched pasture at Glastonbury, then congratulations! You are part of a celebrated and proud musical history.
As it was on this day in 1971 that the first, sort of proper, Glastonbury festival took place. There has been an event the previous year, snappily titled the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival, but in 1971 the word GLASTONBURY was thrust front and centre in the name, even if the edge was slightly taken off by adding the very twee ‘fayre’ after it.
1971’s Glastonbury Fayre featured David Bowie, Gong, Hawkwind and Traffic and, if the pictures are anything to go by, a great deal of hair. The next festival occurred in 1978 when a bunch of hippies turned up in a field mistakenly thinking some kind of event was taking place. It wasn’t. But a few bands were dredged up to keep them entertained. In the 1980’s Glastonbury slowly gestated into the colossal, Dolly Parton loving shindig it is today.
Facts from the first Glastonbury Fayre
- Around 12,000 people attended, tiny compared to the 175,000 people expected at this year's festival.
- Tickets were free... that's right, free. Not the £238 it costs today.
- The famous Pyramid Stage was first used. But did you know it was built as a replica of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
- David Bowie played at the festival and so did US folk singer Joan Baez and folk band Fairport Convention.