This is my last journey as a professional photographer…
Glastonbury Festival is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world. Coming to Glastonbury involves a fair amount of travel, but when you get past these impediments, you enter a huge tented city, a mini-state under canvas. British law still applies, but the rules of society are a bit different, a little bit freer.
The Festival site has distinct socio-geographic regions. The more commercial aspects are around the Pyramid, Other and Dance stages, which feels as if the West End of London a Saturday night has been removed to a field and thoroughly beautified. To accomodate the more laid-back reveller, more chilled out areas like the Jazzworld and Acoustic areas are in easy walking distance. If that’s still not the relaxed state a Glasto-goer is after, there are also family oriented areas like the Kidz Field, the Theatre and Circus fields.
And if you’re into the more alternative, less noisy aspects of festival life, you can always head up to the Field of Avalon, the Tipi Field, and the Green Fields. At the top of the site is the Sacred Space – the stone circle is a modern construction, but it has already seen as much celebration and ceremony as some of its forebears. Sun-up on a Sunday morning, with drums and torches and chanting and an astonishing measure of joy from the sleepless revellers at the Stone Circle is a glorious sight to behold.
The Festival takes place in a beautiful location – 900 acres in the Vale of Avalon, an area steeped in symbolism, mythology and religious traditions dating back many hundreds of years. It’s where King Arthur may be buried, where Joseph of Arimathea is said to have walked, where leylines converge. And the site is ENORMOUS – more than a mile and a half across, with a perimeter of about eight and a half miles.
Then there are the people, thousands of them in all their astonishing and splendid diversity! You’ll meet all kinds of people, of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities, lifestyles, faiths, concepts of fashion (or lack of it) and musical taste.
The overall vibe of the Festival is consistently mellow and friendly, even in the event of rain and all that comes with rain, a field and thousands upon thousands of tramping feet.
The first Festival was held on the day after Jimi Hendrix died – 19th September 1970 – over a two day period and before long “word had got around.” It was the Blues festival at the Bath & West Showground that had inspired Michael Eavis – The 75-year-old who founded the event on his Somerset farm – to begin a festival of his own although on a smaller scale. Attendance: 1,500.
Glastonbury celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2010, a milestone that brought a fresh buzz of excitement to the Worthy Farm valley. Attendance 135,000.
This year line-up included: U2, Morrissey, B.B. King, Wu-Tang Clan, Two Door Cinema Club, Coldplay, Paolo Nutini, Beyoncé, Plan B, Paul Simon, Laura Marling, Primal Scream, Mumford & Sons, The Chemical Brothers, White Lies, Friendly Fires, Jimmy Eat World, The Kills, Alice Gold, Queens of the Stone Age, Kaiser Chiefs, Janelle Monáe, Aloe Blacc, Kool & The Gang, Hercules and Love Affair, Noah and the Whale, Warpaint, Anna Calvi and Thom Yorke.
Pictures by one of the greatest italian photographer of our time, Ganzo’s friend Alessio Pizziccannella – www.alessiopizzicannella.com
There is no Glastonbury in 2012, but you can already register to buy tickets for Glastonbury 2013. www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk
You can get your own ‘heart mum’ tattoo and find out more about White Ribbon Alliance’s work raising international awareness about the nearly 600,000 women worldwide who die each year from pregnancy-related complications, @ www.whiteribbonalliance.org