Crash course: Music festivals

This month, the Isle of Wight festival and Glastonbury launch that British summer season of traipsing around fields to hear live music.

TIMELINE

BOB DYLAN, NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL

1965

Dylan goes electric, causes outrage and sets the standard for memorable festival sets

JIMI HENDRIX, WOODSTOCK

1969

Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner" at Woodstock: the pinnacle and death knell of the 1960s glory days

LED ZEPPELIN, KNEBWORTH

1979

100,000 showed up, and noise complaints were received from miles away for one of the band's last gigs

THE SMITHS, GLASTONBURY

1984

The Manchester band woke up Glastonbury in a fallow period between its 70s origins and 90s rock-and-rave heyday

THE STONE ROSES, SPIKE ISLAND

1990

Not really a festival, but with sun, drugs and era-making music, it felt like one, and inspired many

NIRVANA, READING

1992

The grunge band's last UK gig and one of their defining moments, a ferocious set to 50,000 awestruck fans

PULP, GLASTONBURY

1995

Jarvis and co filled in at the last minute for headliners The Stone Roses, creating one of Britpop's defining moments

FLAMING LIPS, COACHELLA

2004

The US showed it could still do festivals. Lead singer Wayne Coyne rolled over fans in an inflatable ball

BEYONCÉ, GLASTONBURY

2011

Glastonbury's wholehearted embrace of pop is controversial, but all-singing, all-dancing Beyoncé didn't disappoint

This month, the Isle of Wight festival and Glastonbury launch that British summer season of traipsing around fields to hear live music

How to be: A festival cliché

Live the dream and improve your chances of appearing in newspapers and promo images by following these simple rules...

* Don't have a partner who would willingly sit on your shoulders or allow you to straddle theirs? Just ask the person next to you – it will be too loud for them to refuse. The view of the stage is great from up there

* Crowd surfing is euphoric if it goes well, but be sure to save it for an audience fully imbued with the festival spirit required to keep you aloft. If you time your surf badly, you risk a painful drop back to earth

* Tiger, alien or the back of a pantomime horse – whatever the costume, it's the thought that counts. Just ensure that your outfit has pockets – and ventilation. Daft Punk-style robot heads are the 'hilarious' masks of the moment

By Charlie Cooper

Profile: The businessman

As organisers of Glastonbury, Michael Eavis, and latterly, his daughter Emily, are the faces of British music festivals.

But there are other important figures in the business, a little out of the spotlight but no less fond of wellies and muddy fields. One such as Melvin Benn, the managing director of Festivals Republic.

Between 2002 and 2012, Benn's firm (initially Mean Fiddler, a company he ran with Vince Power – another big name in European festivals) had a 20 per cent stake in Glastonbury. Together with the Eavises, Benn helped steer the event into the modern era, where things run on time and no one jumps the fence.

Despite parting ways with the Somerset event, Benn's firm still runs several festivals ranging from teen magnets Reading and Leeds to the middle-class family favourite, Latitude.

So if you are planning a wet weekend in a tent, watching music outdoors and drinking beer in a plastic cup, Benn may have been the one who (indirectly) persuaded you to part with two hundred-odd quid.

By Luke Blackall

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