A terrific opportunity is squandered in “Glastonbury,” Julien Temple’s docu reviewing 35 years of the U.K.’s longest-running and most colorful rock festival. While one can appreciate helmer’s resistance to a conventional, chronological overview, what emerges is a long, structureless muddle that does justice to neither the stellar acts nor changing countercultural times event has encompassed. On home turf fans may find it an acceptable if less-than-ideal souvenir. Considerable retooling, however, will be needed to attract wider interest. At present, feature doesn’t even bother identifying musicians, many little-known outside the U.S.
Founded in 1970 by idealistic yet pragmatic farmer Michael Eavis, fest first attracted 1,500; a hundred times that number now attend. Despite spats with conservative locals and police, not to mention unruly fans, it’s maintained a blissful utopian vibe.
Yet faced with some 700 hours of archival and new footage, Temple seems overwhelmed. Undated clips blur into Hippie Times and Kinda Recent camps, Thatcher Era somewhere between. Montages of people naked, peeing, eating, drunk, in funny costumes etc. grow tedious, while most performers are limited to fleeting excerpts. Slick package is inherently diverting, but such priceless material should’ve been shaped into something coherent.