Arguably the world’s most famous festival, Glastonbury has grown from a gathering of 1,500 music lovers on Worthy Farm in rural Somerset back in 1970 – when tickets were priced at £1 and included free milk from the farm – to an event the size of a small city, regularly attracting 200,000 festival goers from across the globe. Following the festival’s belated 50th anniversary celebrations in 2022 (thanks to a two-year hiatus during the pandemic), this year’s event, which took place last week, delivered another five-day extravaganza of music, culture and community.
Elton John’s headline set drew one of Glasto’s biggest ever crowds, along with more than seven million viewers at home, in what was his final ever live performance in the UK. Other memorable moments included Lizzo’s succession of catsuit outfit changes, plus-sized dancers and all-female band; Rick Astley’s high-energy rendition of Never Gonna Give You Up and salmon pink suit; and Lewis Capaldi’s emotional performance of Someone You Loved, supported vocally by the 100,000-strong crowd (the singer has since cancelled the rest of his tour for mental health reasons).
While Glastonbury’s headline acts always provide the most high-profile attractions, the festival’s more experimental offerings are to be found off the beaten track, with veteran venues like Shangri-La boasting cult followings of their own. The festival’s relationship with dance music officially dates back to 1995, when Malcolm Haynes launched the aptly named Dance Tent as its first ever permanent electronic music stage. Having grown rapidly into the five-stage Dance Village, in 2013 it was renamed Silver Hayes in order to open up the area to more music, creativity and ideas.