Glastonbury Festival 1984

See the 1984 site in the GlastoEarth Map
Bonus Features > 40 Years of Glastonbury

"I think of 84 as being the miners' strike year, blazing sunshine and men with buckets collecting money." - Geoff

Glastonbury CND Festival 1984

The year began with a court case that marked the beginning of a more formal relationship between Eavis and local government. Mendip Council, concerned about attendance numbers and buoyed by their newly granted legal powers, brought prosecutions for breaching five of the twenty four licence terms.

The cases were successfully challenged. The defence representative concluded, provocatively, "Mendip Council should count itself fortunate having such a successful organisation running the festival".

It was not a sentiment shared by the environmental health chairman: "I was disgusted by the verdict. What is the point in a council imposing conditions if they can be broken without a penalty?"

Perhaps as a result of pragmatic reflection, Mendip Council later granted a licence for the biggest 'Pilton festival' ever.

Although one might have expected this to bolster a "carry on regardless" mentality, some things had proven to be too much even for Eavis' liberal outlook. With no official police presence on site, the sale of drugs had become increasingly overt. Stalls would display quaint hand painted signs, advertising their wares and prices.

The boundary had been pushed too far. Signs went up declaring "Sale & Display of Drugs Forbidden" and organisers set about their own undercover enforcement operation. Some recall however, not surprisingly, that the legal drug alcohol was more problematic.

The line up for 1984 included what was one of the first controversial bookings - The Smiths. Speaking to the Times in 2008, Emily Eavis said: "The crew were up in arms about it, because it was felt that the Pyramid Stage was the domain of bands like Hawkwind. They even deliberately spelt the band’s name wrong on the running order, to make a point.”

Over in Norman's Close, the field that now hosts the Acoustic stage, something rather remarkable had arrived - the first Green Field. The idea and its scale would grow over the years, run by Liz Eliot, to become one of the defining features of the festival. A happy evolutionary accident that today gives Glastonbury a uniqueness that other major events can't reproduce - a substantial ideological sanctuary away from the commercial hub.

So, in just a few years, the event had doubled in size and brushed off legal challenges stemming from legislation designed to keep promoters like Eavis on a tight leash. Peace and prosperity.

Glastonbury's halcyon years were in mid flow.

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