"It's romantic, and beautiful," says Michael Eavis of Glastonbury, the music festival he's been organising from his farm for the last 25 years. It didn't look romantic or beautiful to me, it looked like a place you'd have to share with Tony Benn, Björk, Keith Allen and a myriad of muddied hippies: it looked like hell, actually.
The faithful, however, will respond to this ragbag documentary history of the festival in which Julien Temple has mixed performance footage, Super 8 film, home video and a Nicolas Roeg documentary of 1971 to recreate the famous "vibe" of Glastonbury. An argument goes that the festival has succumbed to commerce, and that what used to be a countercultural jamboree has sold out to high fences, dodgy security and NatWest cashpoints. Maybe so, but from the endless parade of fire swallowers, fancy-dress nuts, nudists and assorted bumpkins, Glastonbury still looks more than anything like a medieval village fête, and doubtless smells like it, too: the scene in which the toilets are emptied into a sump is definitely a low point.
Temple spins the story out to a patience-busting two-and-a-half hours, which I suppose is a blink of an eye compared with five days at the real thing. You'd have to be either seriously stoned or mad to want to go there; from the look of certain revellers they qualify on both counts.Reuse content