Lauren Laverne On The Life-Changing Power Of Glastonbury Festival

'We ended up driving home wearing bin bags over our pants.'

Lauren Laverne Glastonbury festival

by Lauren Laverne |

My first Glastonbury experience…

I was 19, it was 1997, I was in a band and we were due to play on The Other Stage. That year, it rained and rained and rained. Emily Eavis told me not long ago she and her dad had driven around the site, begging people not to leave as it was so wet. It was absolutely apocalyptic. The stage we had been due to play on sank, and our gig was cancelled, so it was one of those weekends where everything could have fallen apart. I mean, the clothes we were wearing actually did fall apart! We ended up driving home wearing bin bags over our pants. But it was kind of brilliant, it was so extreme. It was such a visceral experience; I’ve been going back ever since.

My favourite Glastonbury set…

So difficult to choose just one but, if I had to, it’s Beyoncé on the Pyramid Stage in 2011. That was a significant set, not just for Glastonbury but for pop music all over the world. That felt to me like a really big moment in festival culture. It was the first festival set I remember where people were watching live around the world online and reacting to it and that has since become the norm. So it was, culturally, a jumping off point that took us into the next decade. If you look at what Beyoncé has done since, and what festivals all around the world have become since, it comes from that moment and that night. She was apparently throwing up with morning sickness before she went on stage [nobody knew she was in the early stages of pregnancy with Blue Ivy at the time], and she still absolutely stormed it.

My favourite Glastonbury memory…

In recent years I’ve been able to take my own children and that has been amazing. The past few years my kids have been old enough to have their own experience, their own artists that they want to go and see. Watching The Cure headlining with my now twelve-year-old, and Billie Eilish with his little brother was just incredible. To see their reaction to the music and all of the fantastic art and culture that they were surrounded by. I remember my first time at the festival, and it has been such a significant thing in my life and who I’ve become as a person, to see that happen to them is really magical. Last year was my best ever, for that reason.

What Glastonbury means to me…

I always say Glastonbury is the Christmas of music. It is this annual event where everybody across the musical spectrum comes together. Like Christmas, it’s different for everyone. Everyone’s got their own traditions and perspective on what an authentic Glastonbury is, and all of those are correct in their own way. It is an amazing moment where the cultural heart of Britain all comes together in one place, and the counter cultural heart of Britain to some extent. It’s got all of the best things about music: escapism, community, friendship and fellowship among people who go there. Everybody checks their day jobs and their stresses at the gate, and they all come in, with the spirit of the festival, to have an adventure together. It’s a very necessary interruption of the business of the year.

How to festival at home…

Get some festoon lights - lighting is everything – and a really good sound system, because the bass is going to get heavy. A fire pit because you don’t want to get chilly. Then all you need is snacks, and obviously the BBC so you can watch it: the best view in the house!

Lauren Laverne will take part in The Glastonbury Experience (Thursday 25 June to Monday 29 June), the BBC’s celebration of Glastonbury across TV, iPlayer, Radio and Sounds to mark what would have been the festival’s 50th anniversary

The Most Iconic Glastonbury Fashion Looks Ever


The Most Iconic Glasto Fashion Looks Ever

Kate Moss and Pete Doherty
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Adwoa Aboah
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Alexa Chung
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Florence Welch
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Sienna Miller
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FKA Twigs, 2015
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Lilly Allen
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Dua Lipa
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Solange, 2013
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Pixie Geldof
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Lizzo, 2019
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Alexa Chung
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Beyoncu00e9, 2011
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Kate Moss
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Edie Campbell
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Dolly Parton, 2014
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Margot Robbie and Cara Delevigne
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Gwen Stefani, 2002
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Kate Moss, 2005
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Miley Cyrus, 2019
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Alexa Chung
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Leomie Anderson
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Lana Del Ray, 2014
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Stella McCartney, 2017
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Adwoah Aboah, 2017
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Adele, 2016
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Poppy Delevingne, 2016
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