It’s only a couple of weeks til this year’s Glastonbury Festival kicks into gear and in the year 2015 it’s now far removed from those pre-fence days where tens of thousands would descend upon Worthy Farm without tickets looking to jump the fence. 1992 was my first festival and I never paid to get in. In fact I didn’t pay for entrance til 1997 but even then it was a piece of piss to walk into the festival without a ticket.
The festival wasn’t especially liked by most of the people of Pilton, the village where the festival is near. A few would welcome you but seeing as most of these people had to put up with around a week of having a bloody great music festival dropped on their doorstep with not just Travelers causing trouble (much of which was exacerbated by the security used by Michael Eavis) but by people just disrespecting the area generally. The other problem back then was the way it attracted a serious criminal element selling drugs or going from tent to tent robbing what they could, something that still goes on today albeit on a smaller scale.
Every year the festival was planned organiser Michael Eavis had an annual struggle to get it approved, and nobody disapproved of the festival more than Ann Goode, one of Eavis’s neighbours and a serious Christian fundamentalist. This is the person that used to stick a giant crucifix in her garden to ward off the ‘evil’ the festival would bring.Back in 1992 televised coverage of the festival would be a possible quick mention on the news, if at all, so when Channel 4 decided to televise a documentary about the 1992 festival in late 92, it was exposing people to something they’d not seen before as Glastonbury then was still seen as subversive and part of the counter-culture. It was somewhere hippies, kids, students and drop outs would go to and shunned by the mainstream.
Over 20 years later the mainstream has welcomed Glastonbury into it’s ample bosom, and it’s now so much part of the establishment that Tory MP’s can be found dead at it, let alone the fact that a Tory MP would even be allowed anywhere near it’s fences without causing a riot. So this documentary is a crucial part of the history of Glastonbury and a time before the sponsorship deals, Kanye West, posh gap year kids shitting themselves after taking too much ketamine, celebrities posing for pictures backstage and hours and hours of bland BBC coverage of shite Indie bands. This is the festival people are never going to experience and is a glorious little document of in many ways, far, far better days. I should say it’s not complete as the Youtube uploader points out, but it’s most of the documentary.