Let’s not let some pesky pandemic entirely spoil our summer. This weekend, 200,000 people were due to decamp to Worthy Farm in Somerset for several days of loud music, al fresco revelry and frankly terrifying toilets. Like most of this year’s events, though, Glastonbury 2020 has been cruelly kiboshed by Covid-19.
Cheer up, though, festival lovers, because all is not quite lost. The BBC is still providing comprehensive coverage – and this time without the traditional grumbles about a glorified group jolly on licence fee payers’ money. All weekend, classic Glastonbury sets will be available across TV, radio and online, with a special iPlayer channel devoted to streaming highlights and memorable moments from years gone by.
Meanwhile, all manner of mud-spattered fun can be found on Glastonbury’s official website. Here, the virtual line-up ranges from poetry to theatrical performances, from Green Fields holistic healing workshops to Kidzfield clowning.
This would have been the festival’s 50th year (sob), but it’s never been easier to bring the Pyramid Stage to your sofa. Here’s our hour-by-hour schedule for recreating the full Glasto experience in the comfort of your own home…
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5pm Right, let’s immerse ourselves in this and do “Glasthomebury” properly. Before you set off for the festival “site”, hop in the shower for a thorough scrub. Warning: this will be your last wash for the weekend.
5.30pm Time for essential prep. Don wristbands and hang an “Access All Areas” pass around your neck, allowing you into all corners of the house and garden. Erect hand-painted signs pointing towards Food & Drink (kitchen), Camping (bedroom) and Toilets (anywhere you like if you’re a male at a festival, but best stick to the bathroom).
6.10pm Stock up with the traditional pre-festival food ’n’ booze run. Decant spirits and mixers into plastic bottles. Get bunch of bananas and bag of satsumas to be “healthy”. Fill the bath with cold water and sling in your drinks to keep them chilled. Or, within hours, authentically lukewarm.
6.25pm Text radio stations and post social media selfies, informing the world: “On our way to Glasto! So it begins…”
6.55pm Arrive “on site”. For retro realness, sneakily climb over your own fence to gain access.
7.20pm Set up camp. Hardcore Glasto-nauts are pitching tents in their gardens. If that’s too much like hard work, lay a blanket in front of the TV, then sprinkle it with grass, crisps and Wet Wipes.
8.30pm BBC Two’s coverage kicks off. Pour yourself a flat G&T and switch on some fairylights. You’ve arrived! Panic that you’ve lost your friends before remembering you’re home alone.
8.55pm Queue for your own loo while checking your phone, tutting at lack of reception and holding it aloft in futile gesture to see if another bar of signal pops up.
9pm Elbow’s 2011 set on BBC Four. Their sunset rendition of “One Day Like This” is the perfect opportunity to hold your glowing phone aloft to recreate ye olde “lighters in the air” moment.
10pm Beyoncé’s history-making 2011 headline set on BBC Two. It’s booty-shaking, hair-whipping hits all the way. Well, until Queen Bey takes a pause from playing anthems to announce: “This one’s a new song.” An ideal time for another loo/drinks break.
11pm Jay-Z’s 2008 headline set on BBC Four. Watch a few bangers, then head to bed for a fitful, sweaty night’s sleep. Don’t over-shoot the runway tonight. There’s a long weekend ahead.
9am Rise and shine, campers! Shake off your hangover with some yoga in the garden while strangers walk past, staring.
10am If the yoga didn’t do the trick, try a life-giving full English from a “van” (your spouse). For genuine Glasto vibes, wash it down with a pint of pear cider. Too early? Full-fat Coke.
11am Sunburn is an essential element of the Glasto experience, so top up your levels by reading the weekend papers in the garden. Possibly take a nap on the ground, while people step over your prostrate, reddening form.
1.30pm Fill up with a stomach-lining lunch, preferably involving a “Buddha bowl”, avocado and obscene amounts of halloumi.
3pm Whether they’re worse for wear or looking implausibly pristine after being helicoptered in, star-spotting is a key activity at Glastonbury. Recreate this by clicking on celebrity gossip sites and bitching about their outfits.
4pm Glastonbury’s all about the music, man, so while away the afternoon with some selective iPlayer-surfing. In alphabetical order so you can find them more easily, we’d recommend (deep breath): Arctic Monkeys, Blur, David Bowie, Christine & The Queens, Dave, Billie Eilish, Foals, Fleet Foxes, Florence & The Machine, Foo Fighters, Killers, Arthur Lee & Love, Lizzo, Laura Marling, Janelle Monae, Radiohead, Nile Rodgers & Chic, The Rolling Stones, Stormzy, Toots & The Maytals, Amy Winehouse and The xx. That should keep you busy until tonight.
8pm Coverage starts again on BBC Two, so gather in front of the TV with cans of tepid Tuborg and tubes of Pringles.
8.40pm BBC puts the “worthy” into Worthy Farm with a report on how charitable and eco-friendly the festival is. Time for a loo/drinks break.
9.30pm Adele’s 2016 headline slot on BBC Two. Croon along to the ballads! Count how many times she swears between songs!
11.05pm Coldplay’s 2016 festival-closing set on BBC Two. Sway along, pretending you know the words (“Ner-ner-something… Paradise!”).
12am Time for your big night out dancing. Hope you’ve still got some plastic bottles of hooch left. Surf between TV and online, searching for streamed DJ sets with a “party vibe”. For a genuine rave-field feel, take jumpers on and off regularly, spend ages waiting for friends to wee in bushes, and wave away passing teens offering “balloons”.
1am Stamina fading? Head to “the stone circle” (make your own from garden pebbles and tealight candles) for some spiritual enlightenment (aka passing out asleep on the floor).
10am Recharge with a trip to the “Healing Fields”, aka the medicine cabinet. If you feel nauseous, at least it’s not exacerbated by the inimitable Glasto-smell: a heady blend of cowpats, fried onions, soft drugs and long-drop loos.
11am Feeling grubby and prepared to bend the rules? Have a shower. Make yourself feel less like a cheat by pretending it’s a traditional Glastonbury rain break. Wear wellies in the shower for full effect.
1.15pm Lunchtime. Imitate the textbook “hungover wander” by pondering a range of culinary options, then settling for the same burger/falafel as last time.
2.20pm Badly need the loo. Recreate Glasto panic by waiting ages, then blocking up your toilet with fistfuls of toilet paper and, ahem, other things. Decide you don’t need the loo after all.
6.30pm BBC Two airs highlights of the Sunday “teatime legends” slot. Expect Neil Diamond, Shirley Bassey, Al Green, Brian Wilson, Lionel Richie, Dolly Parton, Barry Gibb, ELO and last year’s Kylie Minogue. Ah, that’s better.
7.30pm TV presenter enthusiastically introduces “an exclusive backstage acoustic set” from someone you’ve never heard of. Ideal time for a loo/drinks break.
8.35pm Sore feet? Even sorer head? Decide to go home early and watch the rest on TV. Oh, you’re already home. Result. Actually, Antiques Roadshow is on…
For full details, visit the BBC Glastonbury Channel: bbc.co.uk/glastonbury