Back in March 2020, the organisers of the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts were preparing to host their hotly-anticipated 50th-anniversary event.
But, as know, the world had other ideas.
Now, after the festival was postponed in both 2020 and 2021, Glastonbury is finally back, and it promises to be a huge celebration.
Over 200,000 people will be descending on the site on the edge of Pilton in Somerset, for a spectacular weekend of music, dance, comedy, theatre, circus and cabaret. But if you’re not one of those lucky people who secured a ticket, you can still enjoy the wonders of Worthy Farm by tuning into BBC Two, Three and Four.
If you thought Glastonbury started on the Friday, you are very wrong. The gates fly open on Wednesday morning and the adventure begins. From their bird’s eye view at The Park, Lauren Laverne and Jack Saunders take a look at what’s coming up over the weekend, investigate what the cows have been doing for the last three years, and are joined by special guests for bespoke acoustic performances.
Also joining the gang is Glastonbury first-timer, BBC 1Xtra’s Remi Burgz, who will be exploring every corner of the festival.
BBC Two’s live coverage from the stages begins tomorrow night as the sun sets on the first full day, with Lauren, Jo Whiley and Clara Amfo introducing performances from Wet Leg, Wolf Alice and TLC. Then, at 10pm, it’s the much-anticipated set from pop icon Billie Eilish, who, at 20 years old, is the youngest solo artist ever to headline the famous Pyramid Stage.
Co-organiser of Glastonbury Festival Emily Eavis said: “This feels like the perfect way for us to return and I cannot wait!”
Following Billie’s headline set, Jo and Lauren present highlights from other acts including Foals, Primal Scream and Four Tet. Over on BBC Three, there is a set by two of pop’s current stars, Griff and Sigrid in the John Peel Tent.
Meanwhile, award-winning UK rapper and songwriter Little Simz returns with numbers from her fourth album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, North Shields indie-rocker Sam Fender makes his festival debut, and Stockport five-piece Blossoms take to the Other Stage.
On BBC Four, Crowded House perform on the Pyramid Stage, before Robert Plant and Alison Krauss play songs from their duet albums. Then, Mercury Prize winner Arlo Parks performs on the Park Stage, with Bristol post-punk outfit IDLES on the Other Stage.
If tonight’s taster has left you thirsty for more Glastonbury, then fear not, there will be wall-to-wall coverage on the BBC throughout the weekend.
That includes a Saturday night headline set by rap and hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar, Diana Ross in the Sunday teatime legends slot, and Sir Paul McCartney closing the festival on Sunday, a week after his 80th birthday.
As the former Beatle will admit (he was scheduled to play back on 2020), it’s been a Long and Winding Road to get to this 50th anniversary edition of Glastonbury, but he’ll be ready to Twist and Shout as the crowds at Glasto, and those watching at home, Come Together for an almighty celebration.