Glastonbury is well-known for its hippy vibe, but this year will be the first time the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan monks have taken to the stage.
The Gyuto Monks of Tibet, who are exiled with the Dalai Lama in north India, will perform their chants in Glastonbury’s Green Fields, a 60 acre space where festivalgoers can “participate in new and old ways of living”.
The monks’ Glastonbury debut follows their recent global record deal with Universal’s Decca Records, in which all proceeds made from their forthcoming album Chants: The Spirit of Tibet will go to the monks’ monastery in Dharamsala, north India.
The Gyuto Monks, who are currently touring in Australia with the Dalai Lama, will also create a ceremonial sand mandala at the festival, a traditional Buddhist artwork which is destroyed on completion to mark the transitory nature of life.
The Dalai Lama has given his approval of the Glastonbury appearance, saying: “The work that the Gyuto Monks do in the west has my full support.”
Thupten Phuntsok, one of the Gyuto Monks, said: “We are honoured to be invited to take part in the world’s premiere music and performing arts festival, at the spiritual centre of the site.”
One of the oldest monks to perform is Lobsang Tsering, a 78-year-old exile, who followed the Dalai Lama to north India when the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1959.
The monks previously performed in the UK four decades ago when they sold-out the Royal Albert Hall in 1973.
The Gyuto Monks were nominated for a Grammy Award in the best traditional world music category in 2011 for their album Pure Sounds.
Their appearance at Glastonbury marks an increased interest in religious music, following the launch of the official UK Christian and gospel album chart in March.