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Celebrating 50 years of Glastonbury

By David Porter

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From Thursday, June 25 to Monday 29 when the 50th anniversary of Glastonbury Festival was due to take place, the BBC will be bringing the spirit of Glastonbury to viewers at home with The Glastonbury Experience across BBC television, BBC iPlayer, BBC radio and BBC Sounds.

Jo Whiley relives some classic Glastonbury moments
Jo Whiley relives some classic Glastonbury moments

BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC iPlayer will show classic Glastonbury performances in full from some of the biggest artists in the history of the festival, including Adele (2016), Beyoncé (2011), David Bowie (2000), which will be the first time that performance has ever been broadcast in full on television, Coldplay (2016) and Jay-Z (2008)

BBC iPlayer will become the home for Glastonbury lovers, with a brand new pop-up BBC Glastonbury channel, bringing viewers back-to-back iconic sets and highlights from past festivals.

BBC iPlayer will also allow viewers to relive classic moments whenever they want, with over 60 historic sets available to watch on-demand.

This, plus all the coverage from across the BBC’s TV channels, live and on-demand, means iPlayer is the place for Glastonbury fans in June

BBC radio highlights will include a series of special shows from Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 2 from Monday, June 22.

Plus, Lauren Laverne will be joined in her BBC Radio 6 Music morning programme (8.30am-midday) by Emily Eavis on Friday, June 26

BBC Sounds will be the place for top audio highlights, bringing together the biggest moments from across BBC Radio, over 20 archive performances and All Day Glastonbury curated collections of back-to-back sets, allowing listeners to dive in for hours of great moments from Glastonbury over the years.

Clara Amfo will host some of the lookback programmes
Clara Amfo will host some of the lookback programmes

Some of the BBC’s best loved presenters including Clara Amfo, Edith Bowman, Jo Whiley, Lauren Laverne and Mark Radcliffe will host four days of programming on BBC Television and BBC iPlayer, dedicated to Glastonbury, and revisiting some of the festival’s most iconic and memorable moments and performances from over the years.

Controller, BBC Pop, Lorna Clarke,says: “Glastonbury Festival has for decades been a huge moment in the BBC’s music calendar, thanks to Michael and Emily’s magical creation.

"Even though Worthy Farm can’t be full of thousands of music lovers this year, the BBC will celebrate with four days of memories and archive footage across TV, BBC iPlayer, radio and BBC Sounds, to give our audience a taste of the festival in their own homes.”

Emily Eavis says: “There are so many memorable sets being played across the BBC over what would have been our 50th anniversary weekend. "Personally, I’m looking forward to a weekend of reflecting on the history of our festival and going back to some classic performances from David Bowie, Adele, REM, Beyoncé, The Rolling Stones, Jay-Z, Billie Eilish and lots more. Me and my dad will definitely be watching!”

This year was due to be the 50th anniversary of the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts.

The festival, organised by Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily Eavis takes place at Worthy Farm in Somerset.

It began in 1970 when, the day after the death of Jimi Hendrix, Eavis opened his farm for the first time to over a thousand punters.

Glastonbury is now the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world - with a site that is over a mile and a half in diameter. Each year, it hosts hundreds of thousands of festival-goers, who flock to see performances from the most famous names in music and immerse themselves in the vast range of performance that the festival has to offer.

On BBC television and BBC iPlayer

The Glastonbury Experience will be led on BBC Television by three 90 minute live programmes in prime time on BBC Two - one for each night of the main Glastonbury weekend, Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 June.

The programmes will celebrate some of the festival’s greatest performances since BBC coverage began in the 90s, with unique acoustic performances alongside rarely seen and triumphant archive moments.

Artists featured will include Amy Winehouse (2007), Arctic Monkeys (2013), Baaba Maal (2005), Blur (2009), Dizzee Rascal (2010), Lady Gaga (2009), PJ Harvey (2004), Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (1998) R.E.M. (2003), The Rolling Stones (2013) and Toots and the Maytals (2011).

BBC Two and BBC Four will broadcast a series of previous sets in full across the weekend, including from Adele (2016), Beyoncé, (2011), David Bowie (2000), which will be the first time that performance has ever been broadcast in full on television, Coldplay (2016) and Jay-Z (2008).

BBC Four will also broadcast three additional programmes, featuring footage from some of the best acoustic performances that have been filmed in the BBC compound throughout the history of the BBC’s coverage of the festival including from Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Kano, Leon Bridges, Patti Smith, Richie Havens and Youssou N’Dour.

BBC Two will also dedicate a special programme, introduced by Jo Whiley and Mark Radcliffe, to Glastonbury’s famous Sunday afternoon ‘Legends’ slot - which is played by a different established, respected and much-loved artist each year of the festival and takes place on the Pyramid Stage.

The programme, broadcast early evening of Sunday 28 June will feature lots of gems from many of the legendary artists to have played in that much loved slot at the festival.

On BBC One, The One Show will celebrate Glastonbury in the lead up to the weekend.

On Thursday, June 25on BBC Four, Edith Bowman will introduce a broadcast of Julien Temple’s acclaimed film Glastonbury, which celebrates and documents the history of this famous festival.

Concert footage, interviews, archive and home video collected from attendees themselves combine in this film to capture the essence of Glastonbury.

Musicians featured in the film include The Velvet Underground, Radiohead, Björk, Primal Scream, Pulp and, for the time on this new cut, Dizzee Rascal, Patti Smith and Amy Winehouse amongst many others.

Blue Peter joins The Glastonbury Experience with presenters Lindsey, Richie, Mwasky and children from across the UK performing, dancing, or creating their very own music festivals at home to inspire them to earn their Blue Peter Music badge, designed by Ed Sheeran. Blue Peter is on CBBC on Thursday 25 June at 5.30pm, and CBeebies on Friday 26 June at 5pm.

All programmes will be available to watch live and on-demand on BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer is the home for Glastonbury fans this year, with the launch of the first pop-up Glastonbury channel on BBC iPlayer.

From 10am on Thursday 25 June until late Monday 29 June, fans will be able to relive highlights including Ed Sheeran’s headline performance from 2017, Christine & The Queens knockout debut in 2016, Florence + The Machine conquering all in 2015 and LCD Soundsystem’s epic

Other Stage set from 2016 as well as a host of hidden gems from the BBC’s TV coverage and acoustic sessions.

On BBC Radio 2, long-time Glastonbury-goer and presenter Jo Whiley will build up excitement ahead of the Glastonbury Experience every evening from Monday 22 to Thursday 25 (8pm-11pm).

This special series of programmes will be packed full of Jo’s memories of Worthy Farm, as well of those of her fellow Radio 2 presenters and listeners.

Zoe Ball will be bringing some Glastonbury magic to listeners in her Breakfast Show on Radio 2 on Friday 26th June (6.30-9.30am)

Jo will return to the airwaves on Saturday 27 (4pm-6pm) with a selection of archive tracks recorded at previous Glastonbury festivals, plus interviews with special guests.

On Sunday afternoon, Sounds Of The 70s With Johnnie Walker will reflect on the Glastonbury performances from that decade, before Jo returns from 5pm-7pm to pay homage to those who have graced the Pyramid Stage to play the iconic Sunday afternoon ‘Legends’ slot. Jo will speak to previous Legends about their memories of performing in that slot.

On Monday 29, Jo will reflect on this unique Glastonbury Experience in her evening show (8pm-11pm).

On BBC Radio 6 Music, daytime presenters Chris Hawkins, Lauren Laverne, Mary Anne Hobbs and Steve Lamacq will take part in a Glastonbury Throwback Thursday on 25 June - a trip down memory lane in celebration of the festival’s greatest moments from the last 50 years.

Each show will feature archive tracks as well as listener requests - helping the audience re-live their favourite memories of Worthy Farm. 6 Music will also be playing archive tracks recorded at Glastonbury across the schedule and throughout the week beginning Monday 22.

Lauren Laverne will continue the festivities the following day in her morning programme on Friday 26 (8.30am-midday) as she is joined by Emily Eavis.

Plus Lauren’s People’s Playlist, in which Lauren picks the theme and the listeners pick the songs, will be dedicated to Glastonbury.

On Sunday 28 BBC Radio 6 Music will shine a light on the emerging artists who would have played at Glastonbury in 2020 in a special episode of The BBC Music Introducing Mixtape presented by Tom Robinson (2-3pm).

BBC Radio 1 will broadcast special daytime shows on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 (11am-3pm) which will showcase live performance from previous Glastonburys, in addition to a dedicated Glastonbury Essential Mix on Saturday 27 June (1am-3am).

BBC Radio 1Xtra will look back at some of Glastonbury’s most iconic moments, from Jay-Z and Stormzy’s historic sets on the Pyramid Stage to Alex’s duet with Dave on The Other Stage in 2019.

BBC Music Introducing

The BBC Music Introducing Stage has been a Glastonbury staple since 2007 and over the years has played host to artists including Catfish and the Bottlemen (2016), Celeste (2019), Ed Sheeran (2011), George Ezra (2013), Mahalia (2019) and NAO (2015) to name a few.

For 2020, a specially commissioned film, The Best of BBC Music Introducing at Glastonbury, voiced by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Introducing’s Jaguar will be available on the BBC iPlayer from Monday 22.

The programme will explore and remember some of the major names that have played the BBC Music Introducing Stage early on in their careers.

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