John Harris

Journalist & Author

At good old Glastonbury the new politics finds a home | John Harris

Inspired by the likes of Podemos, young politically savvy punters keep the festival true to its radical roots

At 10am on Saturday, I tweeted the details of that day’s debates at the Glastonbury festival’s Left Field: an event titled Feminism Without Borders and another discussion, described in the running order as New Frontiers!, featuring campaigners against fracking, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (also known as the TTIP) and the war being waged on working-class London in the name of property development. Quick as a flash, there was one withering reply: “I thought people went to Glastonbury to get away from that stuff.”

When writing about this festival, you inevitably have to push through a great force-field of received opinion. Quiet apart from the idea of “Glasto” as some ephemeral, hedonistic bunfight, there are all those arguments about what has happened to its spirit over the past 10 or 15 years, usually phrased in the form of sneers. The festival has changed, but then so has the world. Walking around its seemingly infinite expanse and comparing it to the event I first attended, in 1990 – the last year before the organisers let the police in, when one could freely buy breakfast from a hash-cake salesman before meeting friends who had got in for nothing – feels like contrasting very different versions of the same thing. But so does comparing the Britain of now with the country that was about to say goodbye to Margaret Thatcher. Most worthwhile elements of our culture grow and develop, occasionally in ways some people do not like.

At the most packed sessions, the thought sprang to mind: here was a political tribe cohering right in front of us

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This entry was posted on Sunday, June 28th, 2015 at 9:41 pm and is filed under Guardian RSS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. « End of the party: how police and councils are calling time on Britain’s nightlife | Dylan Goes Electric! by Elijah Wald review – when Bob took a Stratocaster to the Newport folk festival »
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