Music, mud and an embrace of diversity have marked the Glastonbury festival through the decades. Its open-air intimacy draws thousands - and their backpacks, airbeds and often, torrential rains - to the open gates at Worthy farm in Somerset for a weeklong descent into spirited mayhem. Over 210,000 attendees will be on site this year for the humongous event in Pilton, Somerset, which will see over 3,000 performers play across an incredible 62 stages. Its free, carnivalesque atmosphere embraces eclectic activism and a counterculture vibe, as seen in these photos
Image: Jason Cairnduff / Reuters Revellers throng to IICON, the immersive audio-visual arena. The sculptural head artwork, animated by state-of-the-art video mapping, delivers a vision of future music from the cutting edge of today’s underground. Glastonbury Festival site, Somerset, Britain, June 22, 2023.
Image: Kate Green/Getty Images Sportsbanger returned to open Shangri-La for the second year running, with their 10th birthday mega rave at Shangri-La on Day 2 of Glastonbury Festival 2023.
Image: Robert Blomfield /Getty Images At the first Glastonbury Festival in September 1970, a young hippy couple prepares food on a campfire by their tent.
Image: Joseph Okpako/WireImage/ Getty Car Henge, Glastonbury’s own ‘Stonehenge’ is a monumental new installation by the founder of the Mutoid Waste Company and revolutionary underground artist Joe Rush at the Glastonbury Fest 2023. Made of 24 iconic vintage cars to emulate the ancient stone structure, Carhenge is a tribute to the pillars of counterculture and the free festival movement, the heroines and heroes from the margins of society.
Image: Matt Cardy/Getty Images Two festival revellers roll in the mud after taking part in a tomato fight at the Glastonbury Festival 2016. With the current forecast of periods of thundery showers, festivalgoers can look forward to sticky goop caused by trampling feet on the wet mud.
Image: Jon Super /Redferns / Getty A file photo of flooded tents after a month's worth of water fell over the festival site in just a few hours in 2005 at the Glastonbury Fest site.
Image: Henry Nicholls / Reuters Jack Watney and Sarah Adney celebrate after getting married during Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in 2019. Also read: Can music festivals actually go green?
Image: Henry Nicholls / Reuters American singer Miley Cyrus performs with her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, on the Pyramid Stage during Glastonbury Festival in 2019. Miley brought out her dad and Lil Nas X for a cover of ‘Old Town Road’ – a definite Glastonbury moment.
Image: Matt Cardy/Getty Images Two festival-goers pass a roll of toilet paper between toilet cubicles during the 2004 Glastonbury Fest. This year, the fest has over 1,300 compost toilets across the site.
Image: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images The legendary Jimmy Page and Robert Plant performed on stage as Page & Plant at Glastonbury Fest on 25th June 1995. Formerly of the English hard rock band Led Zeppelin, the pair recorded and toured in the mid-1990s under the title Page and Plant, recorded a highly successful first album and embarked on a world tour. Also read: 'Hallyu' goes global: South Korean pop culture booms in Europe
Image: Joseph Okpako/WireImage/Getty Kendrick Lamar performs on the Pyramid stage during day five of Glastonbury Fest, 2022. Clad in a white shirt and a bejewelled crown of thorns, the Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper delivered his astonishing flows, making a case for women’s rights.
Image: Dylan Martinez / Reuters Patti Smith kisses the Dalai Lama as she performs on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Fest, 2015. Honouring him ahead of his 80th birthday, Smith invited the Tibetan leader onstage and read a special birthday poem before leading the audience in singing happy birthday to the exiled leader.
Image: Dylan Martinez / Reuters Katy Perry performs on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Fest 2017. Katy was a must-see mainstream act, in that spangly outfit and an adorable vulnerability while she worked the crowd, performing her hits.