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The film of Glastonbury Fayre 1971

Watch David Putnam and Nick Roeg's take on Glastonbury Fayre 1971 - the start of something enduring, amazing and a major part of Glastonbury festival's rich history.

A Bit of History
There is some debate about which was the first ever Glastonbury, there was a small one day event in September 1970, but for those who were there, the real start of the Glastonbury magic has to be the 20th - 24th June 1971, a memorable and amazing 'happening' where the infamous pyramid stage was first born! (of course it was nothing like the sophisticated structure you'll see today!)

Of course there was a rainy start but the weather came out to play and a legend sprung into life. This Glastonbury would have gone on much longer but for the fact that the council of the time were determined to close it down, the villagers were up in arms and the media of the time were having a field day (or days!) reporting on the hippy invasion that had taken over the small and sleepy village of Pilton in Somerset.

Frequent threats of injunctions were made but festival goers and organisers stood firm,  no-one wanted the festival to end. Of course the powers that be finally won and like all good things it did end, the authorities of the time could not be convinced that the bunch of hippies who had invaded Somerset weren't a major risk to society as they knew it. Everybody who was there knew that it was the start of something special and history shows they have been proved right, maybe not in the ways that was thought at the time - but Glastonbury stands firm as the UK's most iconic and very special music festival.

We hope that Glastonbury always has, and always will be considered a 'risk to society' in that it will continue to challenge perceptions and to stand up for the things that are good in our society and to offer a little bit of hope by showing a way for those things that need to change, we think that in one way or another Glastonbury has always done that.

Although the 1971 festival was funded by Arabella Churchill (sadly now deceased) and Andrew Kerr, the full credit for the continuation of this legendary festival rests with Michael Eavis and his family, a man with a vision and a determination matched by few. Through the years, and at times when there has been determined efforts to see the end of Glastonbury festival, Michael Eavis has stood firm to his principles and to his belief in all that is Glastonbury and this is why it has evolved to become the phenomenon it is today, a festival like no other.

The festival and the messages it sends out is able to reach millions and a key feature is its ability to raise awareness. This is the festival that, with it's thousands of devotees, genuinely does make a difference to people's lives on many different levels, there's a strong concentration on a range of causes and Glastonbury has raised millions for charities both at home and abroad, it's also strengthened the local economy and brought millions in revenue to Pilton and the surrounding villages.

If you only ever go to one festival in your lifetime it should be Glastonbury. The festival is what you make it and people have very different experiences there - what most have in common is that all who go there are touched by its magic - Glastonbury is steeped in history - it changes, grows and evolves all the time, but it's always ahead of the game and it will always be unique and special.

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18th April 2009
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