Hi, this is Gemma Dempsey and this week I am devoting the entire Global Gig Guide to one very special event -- the legendary Glastonbury Festival in the south west of England.
Wherever you live in the world, I expect there is a strong chance you will have heard of Glastonbury. It all began in 1970 when an inspired farmer decided to start his own music event. The bill included Marc Bolan and Al Stewart and a crowd of 1500 people. These days the crowd numbers over 150,000, the event takes place over three days and comprises all manner of performing arts and music, alternative therapies and energy initiatives. So what makes Glastonbury different? Well partly its because of where it is -– it lies in the vale of Avalon where King Arthur is rumoured to be buried, its surrounded by lay-lines, it takes place around the summer solstice and is down the road from Stonehenge. It's also the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival on the planet. But mostly what makes Glasto so special is the brilliant line up of music, attracting people from all over the world and all walks of life.
Here are just some of the acts at Glasto 2007: Artic Monkeys, Bjork, Electric Soft Parade, The Killers, Annie Nightingale, Paul Weller, Fatboy Slim, Toumani Diabate, Bonde do Role, Mark Ronson, Rufus Wainwright, Trentmoller, The Who, Editors, Iggy Pop and many more.
Farmer and festival entrepreneur Michael Eavis still runs the event (along with the Mean Fiddler organization)and has managed to keep corporate involvement to a minimum while supporting a number of excellent charities such as Water Aid and the Make Poverty History campaign. Like many festivals this year, they are planning on making Glastonbury as 'green' as possible, and they ask that you do not bring loo paper as Nouvelle will provide recycled toilet tissue -– I mention this as the Glasto toilets are almost legendary as the mud and the music. Just imagine you are going to a foreign country with rudimentary plumbing and you'll soon get the swing of it.
While music is what attracts most people, there are lots of other things to do –– head to the Green fields where you can have your chakra cleansed or meditate under a pyramid; hang out in your birthday suit with other free thinking souls, wander through the tipi field, get on a bicycle generator and literally help to keep a show running, go to the theatre and circus areas to marvel at stilted jugglers and metallic clad warriors, check out the fire spewing art sculptures; at night time head for Lost Vagueness -- an area that takes burlesque to another level -- it even has a wedding chapel for brave or daring. Feeling active? Go to the Glade and dance to trance and electro.
If you get the chance, walk up to the stone circle just before daybreak. If you're lucky, you will catch an amazing sunrise serenaded by drummers and a cheering crowd. Then you can pass out in your tent for a few hours before that becomes a sweaty sauna and you stagger out of it just in time to catch the first band of the day!
As it's England, in June you should be prepared for all weathers – I have personally enjoyed Glastonbury wearing a bikini during the daytime and a ski jacket in the evening , and in 2005 it rained so much I thought I would be taking a boat back to London – but nothing dampens the great Glasto vibe.
I would like to dedicate this Global Gig Guide to my great pal and Glastobuddy, Fiona McBlane. Here’s hoping we both make it there next year!
We'd love to hear about festivals in your part of the world, so why not send us an email? Global@kcrw.com. Otherwise check back with us next week for more information on Global Gigging.
Fusion Festival Germany: June 28 – July 1, Line up TBD
Denmark July 5- 8, The Danes annual rocking great festival: The Beastie Boys, Beirut, Eagles of Death Metal, Thomas Dybdahl, John Legend, Mika, Matmos, Peter Bjorn & John
Torino Italy Traffic July 11-14, FREE! : Daft Punk & LCD Soundsystem, Artic Monkeys, Antony & the Johnsons, Art Brut, Franco Battiato and Lou Reed plays 'Berlin'
Iceland Airwaves music festival October 17-21: Bloc Party, Gus Gus and many more
Disclaimer: Although I have tried to make the Global Gig Guide as accurate as possible, KCRW accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by any person resulting from information contained in the Global Gig Guide . We would recommend that you to verify any critical information with the relevant authorities before you travel.
Glasto 2005 - Three-hundred tents were washed away by a 4 foot wave of water!
Glasto 2005 - Watching Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, performed by the English National Opera
Glasto 2005 - We have made it back to the car and finally heading for dry land!
Amazing wooden sculptures on the way to the Green Fields area
This is the head of a huge tortoise that was being made in the Green Fields. Is that man behind me walking wearing a kilt?