Glastonbury in the 90s is a musical bonanza

For music fans, Glastonbury Festival is always special, but last year’s was set to be particularly noteworthy – it would have been 50 years since Michael Eavis first opened his farm for what was then called the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival.

But then the pandemic hit, and the event had to be cancelled. Sadly, hopes that festival-goers could celebrate at the site this year instead were also dashed.

Fortunately, there is good news. Although campers may not be setting up their tents on Worthy Farm this year, the BBC is still devoting a weekend to all things Glastonbury The festival has produced enough classic moments over the years to keep BBC2, BBC4, and iPlayer going, but there will be some newer highlights in the mix.

Last month, the concert Live at Worthy Farm premiered online, and the BBC will be bringing us special director’s cut of some of the best bits. The artists performing include Coldplay, George Ezra, HAIM, IDLES, Róisín Murphy, Jorja Smith, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, The Smile and Wolf Alice, as well as Damon Albarn, whose set caused a stir on social media as much for his lockdown hair as his music.


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There will also be a programme exploring how the event came together, which will be hosted by Jo Whiley. She says: “I had a fantastic time at Live at Worthy Farm in May, so I’m also really looking forward to showing viewers exactly what went on behind the scenes.”

This evening though, Jo will be looking a bit further back, to the 1990s. The DJ and presenter says: “Whilst we can’t be together in the fields of Pilton just yet, I can’t wait to go back in time and share a selection of my favourite Glastonbury memories and performances with you all. I have incredibly fond memories of the 90s at Glastonbury, so join me on Friday, June 25 to relive some of the very best moments from that unforgettable decade.”

Although Glastonbury may have started in the 1970s, it was during the 1990s that it explores how the event evolved over the decade that saw the arrival of dance music, Britpop and the television cameras which helped to take the festival into the mainstream. Drawing on footage from the BBC archive, and with narration from Skin, whose band Skunk Anansie were the last Glastonbury headliners of the decade, the programme looks back at those years from the perspective of those who were there, sharing memories of everything from Robbie Williams to the extreme weather.

Speaking of bad weather, the 1997 weekend went down as one of the muddiest in Glastonbury history, but it also the year that gave us what many people gree was one of the festival’s greatest ever sets courtesy of Radiohead, who had released their seminal album OK Computer just two weeks earlier.


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At 10pm, the BBC remind us just why the performance was so special with Radiohead at Glastonbury 1997, featuring songs including Paranoid Android, Karma Police and No Surprises

It’s followed by another historic set, REM at Glastonbury 1999, including Daysleeper, The One I Love, Losing My Religion, Everybody Hurts and Man on the Moon.