John Harris

Journalist & Author

In the Left Field, a glimmer of hope behind the Brexit doom

One subject dominated political debate in Glastonbury’s activist area – but all is not lost

On Friday morning, I stood ankle-deep in the mud, held out a microphone, and asked the people walking away from the Pyramid stage to sum up their feelings about the EU referendum result in one word. I was after gut feelings rather than eloquence, and out they came: “Crap”, “Bollocks”, “Shocking”. Only one passerby went the other way: “Great – I’ve woke up English,” he said, and with a look of deep joy, went on his way.

Glasto was self-evidently a majority-for-remain kind of place, and there was one place people’s post-referendum feelings were soothed and shared: the Left Field, the big top curated by that great English institution, Billy Bragg. It has been part of the festival furniture since 2002. During the day, it hosts debates and discussions – chaired by me, for the past couple of years. At night, there is music, usually with a political tilt. And this year, just about everything that happened under the canvas was inevitably coloured by what had happened in the real world just as the festival had got going.

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