Glastonbury Festival 1982

Glastonbury CND Festival 1982

Where did it all go right?

The recorded history of the festival becomes sparse at this point. No reports of shambolic organisation, financial failure or divisions in the ranks

It is as if, finally, the festival had truly found its feet. And if one looks at the run of the early eighties, that bears out. It had overcome the challenges of getting started, and was yet to face the challenges of being the hub for a counter culture that, for the organisers, would become more counter than culture.

So everything was perfect at Worthy Farm.


If there's one thing we have to talk about at some point, it's mud. The deep, gloopy, clinging Pilton soup truly arrived in 1982. The festival site, with the main attractions in the valley, is one giant collector for the rainy weather that blights the west of Britain. Manchester, Glasgow, Pilton: Raining. But that alone isn't the problem.

If you visit Matterley Bowl say, with it's chalk undersoil, for a wet festival, you'll find little more than an inch of the brown goo underfoot. The Vale of Avalon on the other hand has one huge impermeable problem. Clay. Dig down, and less than a metre deep, you'll find the waterproof lining that seals the valley. Once the top soil is saturated, there is only one splattering, energy sapping outcome.

Although it wouldn't be quite right to say that Glastonbury has a love affair with the mud (Eavis' has spent at least a million pounds fighting it), it has become an unlikely icon of the festival. If there's nothing the newspapers love more, it's a shot of beaming - often ecstatic - young people covered head to toe in Pilton's most famous product.

It's a product that is exported too. In 2007, as I made way home in London, the mud trail at Paddington went all the way down to the Underground platform. In 2009, for the festival, Bristol Airport fitted boot scrubbers at the entrance to its departures hall. In 2004, a jar of festival mud sold for £500 in a charity auction. It is mud like no other.

Wet years became 50-50. They would be seen as a rite of passage. Par for the course. Eventually though, there was one that was nearly the undoing of the whole event. More about that later.

For now though, despite the rain, Glastonbury Festival was on a roll.

Memorabilia (c) respective publisher. Scans courtesy of wiskey. For more information about GlastoEarth copyright policy see the 'About Us' page.