Glastonbury The Movie Review

An effort by documentarian Lisa Lake to capture the essence of being at one of Britain's biggest music festivals, this follows (somewhat aimlessly, but then so is your average Glastonburian) the event in full, without great access backstage.

by Neil Jeffries |
Published on
Release Date:

21 Jun 1996

Running Time:

96 minutes



Original Title:

Glastonbury The Movie

How does the old joke go? If you can remember the festival... you weren't really there. Ironically, this film is forgettable for all the wrong reasons.

It starts promisingly enough, with a montage of various film and video clips showing thousands of people converging on the historic Somerset site last summer. These aptly illustrate the sheer scale of the event before seguing into a dozen or so vox-pop clips of revellers finding different ways to say the same thing: that they come to Glastonbury to forget the real world and indulge in a few mind-altering substances with tens of thousands of similarly-motivated strangers. So far, so amusing.

But then begins the first of endless panning shots around the legion of bodies wandering about, interrupted by studies of performances both on and off the main stages - but with the exception of The Lemonheads, The Verve and Porno For Pyros, none of the "major" artists are featured.

The directorial team (reunited again after 1995's The Punk And The Princess) seem voyeuristically obsessed with scantily-clad girls and quickly run out of ideas. A handful of "characters" are followed at intervals but their actions look unconvincingly staged and the film rapidly degenerates into a loop tape of crowd shots, mumbled asides and performance clips.

The makers succeed in giving the festival-goer's perspective, but backstage access - used so brilliantly in Michael Wadleigh's Woodstock or Murray Lerner's criminally overlooked Isle Of Wight film - would have improved this ten-fold. Without it, the result is akin to watching someone else's holiday video.
Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us