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BBC’s Glastonbury Experience to return for second year following cancellation

Glastonbury (Ben Birchall/PA)
Glastonbury (Ben Birchall/PA)

The BBC will once again broadcast a weekend of special programmes to mark Glastonbury Festival, which has been cancelled for the second consecutive year due to the pandemic.

Like last year’s virtual celebration, The Glastonbury Experience 2021 will air across TV, radio, BBC Sounds and iPlayer and feature a mix of classic sets, documentaries and special programmes.

From Friday June 25 to Sunday June 27, Radio 2’s Jo Whiley, Radio 1’s Clara Amfo and 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne will all be hosting tributes to the Somerset event and its 50-year history.

Each day of programming will focus on a different theme at Glastonbury, the 1990s on Friday, the 21st century on Saturday and legends on Sunday.

However, this year individual performances from the Live At Worthy Farm event will also be available to stream on iPlayer from Thursday June 24.

The five-hour global livestream premiered in May and saw acts including Coldplay, Michael Kiwanuka and Jorja Smith performing from locations across the festival site.

A hour-long BBC Two documentary with the working title of Live At Worthy Farm: Backstage and presented by Jo Whiley will tell the story of how the event was put together.

BAFTA Film Awards 2021
Clara Amfo (Ian West/PA)

Classic Glastonbury performances from artists including Radiohead (1997), Kylie Minogue (2019) and Fela Kuti (1984), the latter of which has not been shown on TV in its entirety before, will also air on BBC Two and BBC Four across the weekend.

Amfo said: “As a nation of music lovers, Glastonbury is truly a part of our DNA.

“Whether it’s two or 20 performances, we all have a collection of them seared into our memory from many a previous weekend on this Somerset farm.

“Sharing some of my personal faves is a real treat and a testament to the hard work from the Eavis family and these brilliant artists.”

Laverne said: “Bringing the world’s greatest festival into viewers’ homes with the BBC Glastonbury team is pretty much the best job in the world.

Glastonbury presents Live at Worthy Farm
Damon Albarn performs during Live at Worthy Farm (Anna Barclay/PA)

“A close second, however, is being given access to the archive to help curate a selection of performances by some of the many music icons to have graced the Glastonbury stages.

“I’ve got a line-up of legends for your living room on Sunday and I can’t wait to share it with you.

“See you down the front!”

Lorna Clarke, controller of BBC pop music, said: “Summer wouldn’t be complete without a celebration of Glastonbury on the BBC and this year will be no exception.

“We’ll be making many of the spectacular performances that the BBC and Glastonbury Festival have worked together to capture over the years available across TV, radio and digital platforms.

“I’m also delighted that Emily and Michael Eavis have allowed us to broadcast highlights from Live At Worthy Farm, for listeners and viewers to enjoy whenever they wish and wherever they are.”

In May Glastonbury organisers were given permission to host a special one-day event at Worthy Farm in September.

The licence allows for up to 50,000 attendees but they will not be allowed to camp overnight.

Co-organiser Emily Eavis told NME that, if it were to go ahead, the event would be a larger version of the Pilton Party, an annual fundraising concert for villagers, workers and local residents, and would be called Equinox.

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