10 incredible photos of Glastonbury through the years

22 June 2022, 14:54

With Glastonbury back for the first time in three years, here are some of our favourite images from the legendary festival.

The 50th anniversary of the Glastonbury was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, and sadly the 2021 edition was also shelved, with lockdown restrictions still in place. But while the wait has been long, it also means anticipation is at fever pitch for Glastonbury 2022. We decided to pick ten of our favourite images from the archives that sum up the spirit and magic of Glastonbury.

  1. Glastonbury - the early days

    The very first Pyramid Stage at the 1971 festival. David Bowie was one of the artists playing that weekend.
    The very first Pyramid Stage at the 1971 festival. David Bowie was one of the artists playing that weekend. Picture: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

    Glastonbury was first held in September 1970, the day after Jimi Hendrix died. Its roots were in the hippie and free festival, but it went on to embody the spirit of peace, unity and care for the planet. The first Pyramid Stage was literally built out of corrugated iron used for cowsheds.

  2. Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage in 1983

    A general view of crowds in front of the original Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival in 1983.
    A general view of crowds in front of the original Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival in 1983. Picture: Pete Cronin/Redferns/Getty Images

    It's incredible to think that for a long time, Glastonbury lived in the shadow of other festivals like Reading. This shot from 1983 shows how small the festival used to be - you could watch the Pyramid Stage artists close up from the comfort of your own tent.

  3. Glastonbuy nightlife

    The Block9 area made its debut in 2010, recreating a tower block in the fields of Worthy Farm
    The Block9 area made its debut in 2010, recreating a tower block in the fields of Worthy Farm. Picture: Guy Bell / Alamy Stock Photo

    Very few festivals can compete with the sheer diversity of activities that take place 24 hours a day at Glastonbury. You'll see some sights as you make your way around!

  4. Glastonbury - The Other Stage, The Park and all the other great areas

    A view of the ribbon tower at The Park, with The Other Stage in the distance
    A view of the ribbon tower at The Park, with The Other Stage in the distance. Picture: Raggedstone / Alamy Stock Photo

    There are so many stages to take in at Glastonbury oustide of the Pyramid... The Other Stage, the John Peel Tent, The Park, West Holts, the multiple dance stages... there's so much to absorb.

  5. Glastonbury's sacred spaces

    The Stone Circle at dawn
    The Stone Circle at dawn. Picture: Everynight Images / Alamy Stock Photo

    Well into the 21st Century, the spiritual side of Glastonbury continues to have its influence. The festival apparently takes place on ancient ley lines and has its own prehistoric stone circle, whether revellers gather at all hours.

  6. Glastonbury's performance art areas

    The Arcadia Spider in 2015
    The Arcadia Spider in 2015. Picture: David Jensen / Alamy Stock Photo

    The gian fire-breathing Arcadia spider is back for Glastonbury 2022, and it's always impressive to see the pyromaniac arachnid. Recent attractions include the replica seaside pier, the Unfairground, the "drive-in" Cineramageddon and the ever popular Shangri-La and its predecessor Lost Vagueness.

  7. Glastonbury's unpredictable weather

    Flash floods at Glastonbury in 2005; hopefully we won't see this again, thanks to preventative measures put in place
    Flash floods at Glastonbury in 2005; hopefully we won't see this again, thanks to preventative measures put in place. Picture: Andrew Aitchison / Alamy Stock Photo

    June in Britain can be a bit of a lottery when it comes to weather - and the hundreds of thousands of people can soon turn a downpoir into a swamp. But, occasionally, there will be a scorcher of a year, and a muddy Glastonbury experience is a music fan's rite of passage.

  8. Glastonbury camping

    Walking by the campsites at Glastonbury 2008
    Walking by the campsites at Glastonbury 2008. Picture: Robert Noyes / Alamy Stock Photo

    It's not just about going to watch performances - Glastonbury is about throwing off the shackles of everyday life, getting in a tent and getting back to nature with your mates.... And it's also about stumbling through hundreds of identical looking tents at a million o'clock in the morning.

  9. Glastonbury's communal spirit

    Flags fly in front of the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2015
    Flags fly in front of the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2015. Picture: Roger Cracknell/Alamy Stock Photo

    The sight of flags waving in front of a headliner on the Pyramid Stage is one of the enduring sights of modern Glastonbury festivals. Some think it's inconsiderate to other festival-goers, others think it wouldn't be the same without them. But there's no denying that people coming together to enjoy music, art, debate and more is something we should celebrate.

  10. The pure scale of Glastonbury festival

    Glastonbury festival from the air in 2017
    Glastonbury festival from the air in 2017. Picture: David Wootton / Alamy Stock Photo

    Glastonbury is less of a music festival and more of a mini-city that springs up for a week, complete with its own rules and regulations, philosophy and lifestyle. Have the best weekend of your life!