What Went Wrong With… Glastonbury Festival (& Today’s Festival Goers)?

A Gucci Bag containing a Glastonbury Flyer by What Went Wrong Or Right With...?

Glastonbury was never in the same league as Woodstock or Monterey Pop. It was however, a festival which, with its juxtaposed atmosphere of open green country and electric guitars, became a British staple for Indie Rock lovers and left-wing hippies. Even though the festival began with Glam Rock, it grew into a show which embraced all forms of alternative music from Punk, Rock, Dance, to Soul. Performers ranged from The Cure to Black Uhuru, from Curtis Mayfield to Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine. For over two decades, Glastonbury successfully maintained this almost-alternative and friendly-subversive appearance by selectively choosing appropriate acts which appealed to the dread-locked, backpacked audience.

In the last decade or so, starting somewhere in the mid-noughties, this all changed. Glastonbury Festival is now a bloated, cater-to-all, Pop music-enticing, pile of confused shite. Years of booking anything and everything from Adele, Shirley Bassey, to Jay-Z, has corrupted a festival intended for the alternative, and placed it smack-bang in the realms of popular culture. Even though this year’s Glastonbury sponsors are green charity types, the groups and singers (or what passes for singers) are the complete antithesis of Greenpeace, Oxfam, and WaterAid. I’m not against modern-day acts from performing at Glastonbury, but Instead of moving with the times and attempting to book the present day equivalent to past greats (like maybe Dead Prez) the organisers instead see fit to book Example… whoop-dee-fuck. The only thing green this year is Professor Green.

With the ticket price soaring from the original £1 to an eye-watering £205 this year, the regulars have almost been priced out. You’re more likely to see a Gucci handbag than a Rucksack from Millets these days. No more Volkswagen Type 2 Campervans, only Range Rovers and BMW’s.

Like every other product or idea in history which begins small and understated, as soon as the whiff of money hits the air, the pulverising fist of business beats down on it, grabs the very heart and soul of the product, and proceeds to fist the life out of it. If this current rate of transformation follows into the future, a decade or so from now, they’ll probably have paved over the mud, banned the working-class, invited A$AP Rocky and Machine Gun Kelly for a retrospective, and be sponsored by Dolce & Gabbana.


3 replies »

  1. The festival would cost more to run that it used to as I am sure they use more lights and hire more people to come and that. There are bills to pay and they’d be higher than ever. I agree that it’s expensive but if they have more people like Jessie j and tinie tempah and all them people will come from all over the world.
    Also it’s a five day festival. (Wed-Sunday) that’s not gonna be cheap wherever you go. Also as a local – about 10-15 miles away, there are hundreds of camper and that go every year.

    I may be wrong with this info but this is what I believe is most likely true

    • Thanks for taking the time to reply. My point about Glastonbury is that regulars never wanted to see the likes of Jassie J & Tinie Tempah in the first place; so why turn around and say we have to pay more to see acts that we don’t want? The organisers are so out of date that they never asked acts like Jay-Z to perform in their prime (when he was with Big Jaz, Sauce Money, & Tone Hooker). It seems that Glastonbury waits for acts to become sellout Pop trash before they ask them to show up. The summer festivals are all becoming one big same-same sack of shite thanks to these “Pop” bookings. Glastonbury used to have it’s own identity, but with the likes of Jake Bugg & Rita Ora playing at almost every festival; it’s no longer worth the two hundred quid it costs to go. Nobody can tell the difference anymore between Glastonbury, Isle Of Wight, & V etc. etc. so who gives a flying shit about the high costs of Glasto’s bills. And on a side note; I don’t think anybody wanted to see Kenny Rogers perform… ever.

  2. Back in the 80’s I paid about 20 odd quid to get into Glastonbury. The bands that played were Steel Pulse, Aswad, the above mentioned Black Uhuru, Siouxsie and the Banshees, John Cooper Clarke and shit loads of other bands with true spirit. Loads less people went then aswell . Later on, it cost half a million quid to get in, the nobheads started to arrive, and you had fakes like kate moss showing up wearing diamond encrusted wellies. Around about this time ‘family freindly’ paedo Rolf Harris played on the pyramid stage. My God, what went wrong indeed.

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