Rock On

nineties, the Glastonbury Festival became quite respectable. The villagers of Pilton and the local authorities no longer object to it. Rather, they have come to welcome the influx of visitors (and the money they bring). (Some 1,700 people are employed before, during and after each festival - not including sub-contractors, volunteers and those who work in return for a donation to their favourite charity.) And, it turned out, most of the festival-goers were quite nice, really.

The modern festival is much bigger, too. 100,000 turned up in 1998. It's been growing every year (save for 1991 and 1996, when Michael Eavis decided that he, and Worthy Farm, deserved a break). The area of the festival now spills over on to two adjacent farms - with several stages (in addition to the original pyramid), with children's areas, with an ever-expanding food/crafts/sales area, with a Healing Field, offering all sorts of alternative medicines and lifestyles, and a Sacred Space (featuring its own stone circle).

The festival earns some £500,000 every year. Since the end of the Cold War, this money now goes to environmental groups like Greenpeace and developmental projects like Jubilee 2000 Coalition. In addition, the local economy receives a substantial boost from the annual event.

In the new millennium, Michael Eavis' daughte, Emily, took over the running of the festivals (although Michael still gets involved). Back in 1985, Emily had 'performed' Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star on the Pyramid stage - just before the Style Council.

So, the Glastonbury Festival has been going on for fifty years now - give or take a few gaps. It's an institution, almost. It's already part of the Season - like Henley Regatta and Cowes week.

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