BBC To Celebrate Glastonbury’s 50th Anniversary With Extensive Programing

Though the legendary UK festival was cancelled this year amid COVID-19, it will be celebrated with special programming and a pop-up channel on the BBC iPlayer.

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Credit: Ki Price/Getty Images

2020 marks what would have been Glastonbury’s 50th year. Though the iconic UK festival was cancelled in March, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the BBC will broadcast widespread coverage in its place, from 25 – 29 June. Programing will include full-length performances, interviews, and a bonus-filled airing of Julien Temple’s acclaimed 2006 documentary, Glastonbury. Additionally, a special pop-up channel will be available on the BBC iPlayer, offering on-demand footage and back-to-back sets from the festival’s previous performers.

Although fans will miss out on headlining appearances from Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar this year, they will have the opportunity to catch full sets from the likes of Adele (2016), Beyoncé (2011), JAY-Z (2008) and Coldplay (2016), as well as a 2000 performance from David Bowie, which will air in its entirety for the very first time on TV.

BBC Radio will also broadcast a series of specials from Jo Whiley and Lauren Laverne, while festival co-organiser Emily Eavis will join Laverne on the air throughout the morning of 26 June. Eavis, who is the daughter of Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis, said in an official statement: “There are so many memorable sets being played across the BBC over what would have been our 50th anniversary weekend. Personally, I’m looking forward to a weekend of reflecting on the history of our festival and going back to some classic performances from David Bowie, Adele, R.E.M., Beyoncé, The Rolling Stones, Jay-Z, Billie Eilish and lots more. Me and my dad will definitely be watching!”

Three 90-minute television specials will air on BBC Two throughout the weekend, beginning on Friday night. Each evening will offer a mixture of rare footage and classic performances from such artists as Amy Winehouse (2007), Blur (2009), Lady Gaga (2009), PJ Harvey (2004), R.E.M. (2003), The Rolling Stones (2013) and Toots and the Maytals (2011).

BBC iPlayer content, meanwhile, will offer back-to-back sets from past festivals. Additionally, app users can access over 60 on-demand sets, including those from The Killers (2004), Lewis Capaldi (2019), Radiohead (1997), The Chemical Brothers (2019), Billie Eilish (2019) and Lana Del Rey (2014).

For more information on the BBC’s Glastonbury Experience, visit the festival’s website.

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