A VISIT TO Britain’s West Country on the eve of the summer solstice prompted your columnist to reflect on the serendipitous, socialist past of live music. The road passed by Worthy Farm, which 50 years ago hosted the first Glastonbury festival, costing £1 ($2.50 at the time) a ticket. Back then its owner, Michael Eavis, a dairy farmer, had the mad idea of inviting the Kinks, whom he loved to listen to while milking, to headline a one-off gig, agreeing to pay them £500. When those rockers pulled out, he approached Marc Bolan of T. Rex. Bolan was driving through Somerset to play at Butlin’s, a holiday camp. He agreed to stand in but almost withdrew when brambles threatened to scratch his velvet-lined car.
As Mr Eavis writes in a book, “Glastonbury 50”, Bolan’s bravura performance inspired him to continue the festival. On June 24th-28th it was due to celebrate its half-century with headliners including Kendrick Lamar and Diana Ross. But, as with almost all live music, it was halted by covid-19. Looking through the fields (and the Glastonbury rain) at the distant outline of the Pyramid stage, Schumpeter felt wistful. As a lad growing up in Somerset in the late 1970s, he would slip into the festival via the back garden of a friend’s house, too cheap to buy tickets. But Mr Eavis was never in it for the dosh, anyway. When he failed to make...
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