News: V&A to host week-long celebration of Glastonbury

Starting today, the V&A is hosting a seven-day online celebration of all things Glastonbury. Coinciding with the weekend when the world-famous festival was due to celebrate its 50th year, the V&A has delved into its collections and asked for contributions from its curators to help fill your festival void.

Home to the nation’s Glastonbury Archive, the museum will be launching a new collections page on its website as it develops an online resource for the public to learn about and navigate this amazing collection of posters, programmes, designs, interviews, film, photographs, backstage passes and other memorabilia.

V&A curators have also created new content providing an introduction to the Glastonbury Archive and the Festival’s History as well as an examination of Glastonbury and Fashion, and Glastonbury and Stage Design.

The personal memories of those that attend Glastonbury are just as important as the artists that perform. The crowd at the festival is famous the world over, which is why the V&A is today launching a call out for members of the public to send in their memories from the festival. Using the email address glastonbury@vam.ac.uk, the museum is asking for your written memories to enter the archive to help tell the story of those that attend. Glastonbury is more than the performances themselves, it is about the communal social experience of the festival-goers. The memories project will contribute towards a 360 degree mapping of its 50-year history.

A specially commissioned soundscape by award-winning sound designer Gareth Fry will also launch on the V&A website. This 7 minute binaural piece includes recordings from the across the festival to explore a day in the life of Glastonbury. Recorded during the 2015 festival, it conveys the atmosphere of festival life through snippets of conversations and familiar sounds from across the festival site including sunrise at the Stone Circle and sound checks at the Pyramid Stage. This sonic experience recreates the side of Glastonbury enjoyed by its guests but not covered by TV channels.

Gareth Fry, Sound Designer said: “Glastonbury is so much more than just music – there are comedian, circus acts, workshops, buskers, dozens of international cuisines. The camping, the walking, the people you pass by and the people you meet. There’s something unexpected around every corner.”

Museum staff have also revisited their memories of attending the festival and each selected one song that reminds them of their visit. The collection of songs has now been compiled as a playlist on Spotify that the public can also update with their favourite songs heard at the festival, providing the perfect soundtrack for your #Glastonbury2020 weekend.

The museum’s regular online activity #LetsMakeWednesdays will also be celebrating the festival with a range of ideas which will trigger creativity and performance. The weekly online programme of activities and challenges for children, will set a day of festival-themed fun with flag making, fashion creation and at home music innovation. Whilst the blog series Pandemic Objects will examine how Glastonbury has repurposed festival objects to support the NHS.

Kate Bailey, V&A Curator of Theatre Design and Scenography said: “Glastonbury Festival is a crucible for ideas and creativity. The Glastonbury Festival archive is an extremely important growing collection for the V&A. This diverse archive reveals how the festival has developed exponentially over the past 50 years to become the global cultural phenomenon it is today.”

Emily Eavis, Glastonbury Festival Co-organiser said: “We are delighted that the V&A is joining us in celebrating Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary. The festival is witness to decades of creative, social and political change, and your memories are an integral part of this story. Please do share your Glastonbury memories and join in the V&A’s seven days of festival fun.”

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