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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2019 » June » 29

‘Michael Eavis didn’t know what dance music is’: a history of rave at Glastonbury

Delivered... Joe Muggs | Scene | Sat 29 Jun 2019 9:00 am

At some point in the late 80s – though no one remembers exactly when – Glastonbury festival became a nexus of the traveller, free party and acid-house scenes, and the festival was never the same again

Giant rubber duckies; tunnels of flowers; bassbins disguised with gingham tablecloths; sitting in upturned burning cars as entertainment. As if it weren’t enough of a struggle trying to get people to untangle their first Glastonbury raving memories from three decades ago, the things they do remember feel pretty hallucinatory on their own.

Nobody can be quite sure when raving first started in Glastonbury. Obviously all-night dancing predates acid house, but through the 80s that meant dub reggae: Youth of Killing Joke and the Orb remembers Saxon and Jah Shaka soundsystems as “the only music you could go dance to all night long that wasn’t acoustic around a bonfire”. The Mutoid Waste Company’s dystopian wreckage sculptures hosted pagan-industrial metal-banging dances throughout the night. Dance music as such wasn’t unknown, though. Mark Darby of Exeter’s Mighty Force collective says: “The first traveller soundsystem playing dance music I personally heard was Crazy Dave’s Record Bus – an old green coach with huge speakers – going through a disco phase, one afternoon at Stonehenge 83!”

Glastonbury is banning single use plastics. The world’s largest greenfield festival wants to avoid scenes of the area in front of its legendary stages being strewn with plastic after the shows have ended. In 2017, visitors to the festival got through 1.3m plastic bottles. 

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