‘Glastonbury Festival Tales’ review

by John Shearlaw and Crispin Aubrey

Get the scene. I bought this from the Speaking Tree tent, in the Field of Avalon, at the 2004 Glastonbury Festival. A group of us sat in Cafe Avalon flicking through it, while the mud grew muddier outside.

Two days later, I meandered up to the top of the Stone Circle, with my chair, as I’d strained my Achilles tendon, and started to read it from the beginning. As the wind came down on that Saturday, I moved to shelter against one of the stones in the Swan Circle, with the atmosphere around and within me as it must have been in 1971. It was wonderful!


Buy Glastonbury Festival Tales from Amazon
By the time I’d got to the 80s, I’d spent a bit more time in the Left Field and I was now back at my friend’s house in Brierley Hill. The friend who introduced me to Billy Bragg and New Model Army, and has been going to the festival since the early ’90s.

By the time I read through until the sanitized era of my own attendance at the Festival (I went for the first time in 2002), I was snuggled up in my sleeping bag on a friend’s floor, having a cigarette and drinking cups of tea. In short, I think the world kind of altered ITSELF to ensure that I was in the right zone for every era of the Festival.

This book certainly opened my eyes. It’s made me look at the Festival, not as a hippy, witchy type out on an Alice in Wonderland adventure, but as an historian. There was so much which I quite simply didn’t know, even after all those years of clicking onto websites, watching it on the telly and canting with people who had been.

I would recommend this to anyone, but for those who have actually been to the Glastonbury Festival, it’s a must.

Originally appeared on
Today I Have Mostly Been Reading…
reproduced by permission.

Leave a Reply