One of the largest and most revered open-air music and performing arts festival in the world, the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts (or Glastonbury Festival for short) is one that music fans both in England and around the world both look forward to each year. Not only is the festival very highly anticipated globally, it has also been used as a template for other events.
The Glastonbury Festival regularly sees over 150,000 festival goers coming together in a huge tented city and have seen the likes of U2, Coldplay, The Killers, Paul McCartney, Muse and Rod Stewart headline the event in recent years.
For the first time ever, BBC Knowledge and BBC Entertainment will be airing a bespoke Glastonbury 2013 Highlights special, taking viewers to the heart of the action of this iconic British event. Streaming directly from the festival, the six-hour broadcast will run without break and feature selected acts and highlights from Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances.
Shouldering this very heavy and important responsibility of presenting the live broadcast on BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) will be Mark Radcliffe. No stranger to the industry, Mark has been involved since the 1980s and is also one of Britain’s most recognised DJs as well.
Taking time off his busy schedule, Mark shares his first Glastonbury memory and also how viewers at home can prepare for the festival coverage.
Question: What is your first Glastonbury memory?
Mark: Standing in the stone circle field with the old perimeter picket fence lying flattened on the ground and people without tickets pouring over it.
Question:And any other stand-out moments from past festivals?
Mark: Too many to mention really. But I will never forget my 50th birthday which I spent at Glastonbury in 2008. I played on the Avalon stage with my band The Family Mahone and the crowd sang happy birthday to me. Then I went up in the BBC helicopter and then stood on the side of the Pyramid stage to watch Leonard Cohen lead the whole crowd through ‘Hallelujah’.
Question:How do you feel knowing your coverage will be broadcast around the world including Australia, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Latin America and Asia?
Mark:Amazing. There is this incredible sense of privilege when presenting Glastonbury. Certainly on the Saturday night you really do feel the whole world is watching and it is a magical feeling.
Question:What acts are you most looking forward to this year?
Mark: The Stones of course and I’m really looking forward to hanging out at The Park Stage this year where the likes of Stealing Sheep will be very much on my radar. At the end of the day though, I’m looking forward to being surprised by people I didn’t know or didn’t know were that good.
Question:Why do you think Glastonbury – an iconic British festival – resonates with so many people around the world?
Mark: It is a global gathering of the clans for anyone who loves music and also wants to escape from the rules and regulations of everyday life. And that’s pretty much all of us right?
Question:What will you be trying to convey to viewers at home? How will you make them feel part of the action?
Mark: Just the sheer magical mix of sights, sounds, smells and the size of it. It is overwhelming for the novice and I just hope every year that we are saying to people – yes there are great bands on but the most important thing to know is that this is fairyland.
Question:Apart from the music, what makes Glastonbury such a legendary festival?
Mark: It just has the best bands and the most beautiful site – and I know this is a cliché – but with the Tor in the background – there is something deeply mystical and spiritual about it. There just is. And the effort they put in to make it all look amazing is incredible. It’s like nothing else.
Question:What will be in your festival kit?
Mark: Bin bags: carry your stuff, wear as emergency poncho, sit on if it’s wet or to just clear up a bit of rubbish if it’s dry. We’re all in it together eh?
Question:Any advice for viewers at home of how they should prepare to watch this festival coverage?
Mark: Don’t concentrate too hard. Leave it on, let it wash over you, keep getting up for ‘refreshments’, wander away, make toast, come back, see who’s on, wander off again, nod off for a bit, wake up much later not quite sure where you are, stay up later than you should. That way you’re having a festival at home. But with nicer toilets.
Thanks Mark for your time and we look forward to seeing you on TV this weekend.
The BBC Knowledge (StarHub channel 407) and BBC Entertainment (StarHub channel 521) channels will be broadcasting live the Glastonbury festival as it happens on Monday, 1 July from 2 – 8am, with repeats on BBC Entertainment at 6pm the same day and on BBC Knowledge at 1pm on Sunday, 7 July.
by Kenneth Wong
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