The origins of music festivals date back to ancient Greece, where such events often involved competitions in music, arts and sports. Since then, they have become a big part of the culture and a large number of people readily participate in them every year all around the world.
Modern music festivals evolved from the spirit of Woodstock, which in 1969 gave festivals global recognition. Even though the idea of music festivals came to the United Kingdom from the United States, now some of the UK’s events are world-renowned and have been held for many years.
One of the oldest festivals organised in Great Britain is Cheltenham. It started off as three small concerts in 1945 and as one of the first music festivals in Britain, Cheltenham helped to pave the way for future events of that kind and attracted worldwide attention.
Throughout the years it has grown to an enormous size and people travel great distances to participate. Its main goal is to promote up-and-coming young artists and encourage others to take part in the celebration.

Another one of Britain’s oldest music events is Edinburgh International Festival, first held in 1947 to raise people’s spirits after the war had ended. It started as typically classical event, but nowadays it consists of whole variety of different performances – from opera, theatre and visual arts to comedy and contemporary music.

One of the biggest and most famous musical events is Glastonbury, first organised in 1970. It was known then under the name of ‘Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival’ and it was inspired by the open-air concert headlined by Led Zeppelin. The festival was reated to celebrate music, dance, poetry, theatre and all other forms of entertainment, centred on the hippy movement. It started growing in popularity in 1980s, and since then the raise in recognition hasn’t stopped. These days it attracts tens of thousands of people every year and the tickets are always sold in record time. Throughout the years it featured artists like U2, Oasis, Imagine Dragons, The Cure, Joe Cocker, Radiohead and many others. Glastonbury has managed to maintain some of its free love, hippie ethos. It is committed to environmental causes, raising money for Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid.

But why are music festivals such a big business? Most of all, it has a lot to do with effects of modern life and the constantly changing music industry. People now are more likely to spend money on experiences such as participating in live music events over material goods. Nowadays, there’s nothing easier than clicking on a YouTube video and listening to our favourite music in a matter of seconds. There are thousands of different streaming platforms that allow us to listen to music for free. That’s why live music gained huge popularity. Experiences are being valued more and more. It’s hard to disagree that live music, even with the stuffy atmosphere of the concerts and noisy crowds is perceived differently to listening at home. It’s not even about listening
per se. People enjoy dancing, screaming at the top of their lungs and feeling a part of a group that enjoys the same type of entertainment as themselves.

news prepared by Lena Kozłowska from 2 B, edited by Ms Marta Leśniak