Summer equals the beach, BBQs, and, if you’re a music lover, the opportunity to catch your favourite bands at a summer music festival. While the amount of rain in the U.K. might not provide ideal conditions for listening to music outside, the number of music festivals in the U.K. is huge and the biggest and most famous is Glastonbury Festival in Somerset.
Glastonbury Festival has been going for 47 years. The first festival took place on owner Michael Eavis’ farm in 1970 with 1,500 people in attendance and tickets costing just £1 (which also included a pint of milk on arrival). Fast forward to this year, and the festival is still happening on Eavis’ farm except now he is expecting 135,000 people and they will each be paying £238 for their tickets (and that’s without milk!).
So what makes Glasto (as it’s affectionately called by regulars) so successful? Well, first up, it’s the bands and musicians it attracts. Traditionally a rock and alternative music festival, all the biggest rock bands have played the main stage at Glastonbury over the years, including: The Cure, Oasis, The Rolling Stones, Kings of Leon and U2. However, over the last few years the festival has diversified its main stage performances to include rap: Jay-Z and Kanye West, and pop: Beyonce and Adele. But there’s much more to Glastonbury than just the main stage. There’s around 60 venues and areas which include a silent disco, a World Music stage, an acoustic area, the dance music tent and a children’s area.
But some people are happy to pay over two hundred pounds to go to Glastonbury and not even care if they see or hear a single band play! This is because Glastonbury is so much more than the music, it’s an opportunity to get lost in an area that is bigger than many real-life villages (the perimeter is over 13kms) and just enjoy all the magical experiences that come your way… including circuses, cinemas, yoga sessions, a wedding chapel, workshops, sculptures and artwork.
But, of course, this is England and the weather doesn’t always play ball. Some years there has been glorious sunshine for the whole weekend, but more often than not there are at least some days of rain and sometimes the rain just doesn´t stop. Glastonbury has been known to have turned into a mud bath after torrential downpours and storms. When the rain comes, so does the mud and it has got so bad on occasions that people have ended up swimming in the stuff. Even the most glamourous of attendants such as the jet-set supermodels who attend always bring their wellies with them – it’s the only form of footwear for this festival.
This year saw Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran headline the main stage over the weekend of the 23rd, 24th and 25th of June but they were almost eclipsed by all the visiting Hollywood Stars you could spot at the festival like Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, the Beckhams, several actors from Game of Thrones and many more. Most of them equipped with the Glastonbury “uniform” Hunter wellies.
Vocabulario de interés
(expression) has been going for: has lasted for
(adverb) affectionately: doing something in a way that shows good feelings/love
(noun) chapel: a small religious building
(expression) to not play ball: to not cooperate
(noun) mud: after it rains the ground becomes wet and produces brown mud
(adjective) torrential: used to describe heavy rain
(noun) downpours: periods of rain
(noun) the jet set: rich and glamourous people who travel and party for pleasure
(noun) wellies: colloquial abbreviation of wellington boots, typically green boots you wear when it rains or on a farm
(verb) to headline: to be the main performer or event