Glastonbury is notorious for its gigantism. It can take dozens of minutes to move from one area to another, and each area has many stages. What do they each look like? What service do they provide? What music is played at each?
At Glastonbury, the Pyramid Stage is the most iconic location. Indeed, it is the biggest stage where people make their best memories watching big headliners. This year, The Cure, The Killers and Stormzy will top the bill. The same can be said about the Other Stage, which is a Pyramid-bis but without the great design. It is basically big names after big names. Not bad per se, but people go to Glastonbury mostly for the other areas.
We start with Shangri-La, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary at the British festival. It’s a common place to go at night, even if it can be crowded. The spirit of anarchy can be found everywhere, and people are encouraged to be more than just spectators. On their website, it says: “This radical area has a deep history in outsider art and underground culture.” You understand this even more when you see this year’s lineup with Gojira, Venom Prison and more. This year will also feature numerous collaborations and art installations.
West Holts is one of the places to be to see great performers and beautiful crowds at Glastonbury. This year, headliners are Wu Tang Clan, Jon Hopkins and Janelle Monáe. You can also enjoy performances by Lizzo, Comet is Coming, Kamasi Washington, Kokoroko, Jorja Smith and Acid Mother Temples among others. A great blend of world music, jazz, hip hop and electronica. West Holts is also host to Glasto Latino this year. We also know that the area is improved, with speakers at the back for example.
Arcadia is a famous stage, even known by people who have never been to the festival. Why? Thanks to their iconic 360 spider stage! Moreover, the stage has one of the best electronic lineup of the whole festival: 2 years ago, the likes of Boys Noize, Noisia and Groove Armada performed in the area. For next year, the spider will disappear but they are working on something new: an “evolving show in the sky (…) with giants bits of machinery”. If not for the music, you should go there for the stage design.
The Green Fields
The Green Fields is a set of stages designed to bring people closer together and to our planet. You can find there King Meadow, the most sacred place of the festival, with the Stone Circle, the Peace Dome, and the natural Peace Garden. A place to chill then, but also to learn. You can celebrate cultures and traditions as well as sustainability: the sound of their stage Croissant Neuf is run by solar power.
Among the night time areas, The Glade is probably the one where you will find the biggest electronic music artists. This year, headliner of The Glade stage is Fatboy Slim, who always delivers. You will also enjoy performances from Carl Cox, John Digweed, Seth Troxler, George Fitzgerald, Hernan Cattaneo and more. But the area is more than that one stage: you can find Spaceport, Glade Lounge and The Spike, all of which offer different programs.
Glastonbury wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t open for everyone, including the children. Do not worry, everything is prepared to help you and them have a good time: for example, Pilton Palais cinema hosted a giant “Frozen” singalong in 2017. At Kidzfield, it’s taken even further with numerous programs, from magicians to inflatables, puppets, dance shows and clowns, among others. Don’t forget that all kids under 12 can get into the festival free of charge, and all activities at Kidzfield are free as well.
Block9 is the clubbing heaven of Glastonbury. This year, the project will be taken even further, with the incorporation of IICON, a new stage that will be adjacent to it. A 65 feet head will be at its center, with one message from the creators: “It’s kind of a call to arms: stop messing around on Instagram and actually engage with the world around you.”
Glastonbury is like many festivals within one, with each area having its soul, vibe and sometimes mission. There are more and more areas just waiting to be explored, so prepare yourself for next year if you don’t already have a ticket.
Glastonbury is a five-day festival of contemporary performing arts that takes place in Pilton, Somerset, England. Aside from the performing musical acts, the festival also hosts dance, comedy, theatre, circus acts and other activities. Glastonbury is considered to be the largest greenfield festival in the world, with around 135,000 attendees. It was organised for the first time in 1970 and since 1981, the festival takes place every four out of five years. After a ‘fallow-year’ in 2018, the festival returns in 2019.