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BBC to Launch ‘The Glastonbury Experience’ to Mark 50th Anniversary of Iconic Festival

Crowd at Liam GallagherGlastonbury Festival, Day
Maja Smiejkowska/REX/Shutterstoc

The BBC is to mark the 50th anniversary of the Glastonbury Festival with “The Glastonbury Experience,” five days of highlights and sets from past festivals which will air at the end of June when the event was due to take place.

The organisers of Glastonbury announced in March that this year’s festival was cancelled due to coronavirus. Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar were due to headline the 50th anniversary event.

In their place, from Thursday 25 to Monday 29 June, BBC Two and BBC four will show classic Glastonbury performances in full from some of the biggest artists in the history of the festival, including Adele (2016), Beyoncé (2011), David Bowie (2000), Coldplay (2016) and Jay Z (2008).

“The Glastonbury Experience” will be led on BBC Television by three 90 minute live programmes in prime time on BBC Two – one for each night of the main Glastonbury weekend from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 June.

The programmes will celebrate some of the festival’s greatest performances since BBC coverage began in the 90s. Artists featured will include Amy Winehouse (2007), Arctic Monkeys (2013), Baaba Maal (2005), Blur (2009), Dizzee Rascal (2010), Lady Gaga (2009), PJ Harvey (2004), Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (1998) R.E.M. (2003), The Rolling Stones (2013) and Toots and the Maytals (2011).

BBC Four will also broadcast three additional programmes, featuring past acoustic performances from Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Kano, Leon Bridges, Patti Smith, Richie Havens and Youssou N’Dour.

Streaming service BBC iPlayer will also launch a pop-up BBC Glastonbury channel, with over 60 historic sets available to watch on-demand.

Highlights include Ed Sheeran’s headline performance from 2017, Christine & The Queens debut in 2016, Florence + The Machine in 2015 and LCD Soundsystem’s Other Stage set from 2016.

BBC iPlayer will also include on-demand sets such as George Ezra (2019), The Killers (2004), Lewis Capaldi (2019), Radiohead (1997), Foals (2019), The XX (2017), Lana Del Rey (2014), Primal Scream (2011), Christine & The Queens (2016), The Chemical Brothers (2019) and Billie Eilish (2019).

“The Glastonbury Experience” is a BBC Studios production, produced by Alison Howe and Mark Cooper.

Lorna Clarke, controller of BBC Pop said: “Even though Worthy Farm can’t be full of thousands of music lovers this year, the BBC will celebrate with four days of memories and archive footage across TV, BBC iPlayer, Radio and BBC Sounds, to give our audience a taste of the festival in their own homes.”