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David Bowie and Adele headline virtual Glastonbury 2020: BBC to broadcast past performances in full

The festival's organisers have teamed up with the British broadcaster to bring shows by some of the biggest artists on screen

David Bowie headlines Glastonbury Festival on June 25, 2000. Reuters 
David Bowie headlines Glastonbury Festival on June 25, 2000. Reuters 

In March, Glastonbury organisers announced that the 50th anniversary of the famed Somerset festival had been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But there will still be something for music lovers between June 25 and 29, when the festival was supposed to take place. Organisers have teamed up with the BBC, which has televised the event annually since the 1990s, to provide would-be festivalgoers with the Glastonbury spirit at home, showing a series of historic sets from years gone by.

It plans to screen classic Glastonbury performances in full, featuring some of the biggest artists in the history of the festival, including Adele, who headlined in 2016, Beyonce (2011), Coldplay (2016) and Jay-Z (2008). Notably, the screening of David Bowie's 2000 headliner set will be the first time the performance has been broadcast in full on television.

Other performances to watch include those by Amy Winehouse (2007), Arctic Monkeys (2013), Baaba Maal (2005), Blur (2009), Dizzee Rascal (2010), Lady Gaga (2009), PJ Harvey (2004), Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (1998) R E M (2003), The Rolling Stones (2013) and Toots and the Maytals (2011).

"There are so many memorable sets being played across the BBC over what would have been our 50th anniversary weekend," says Emily Eavis, co-organiser of the annual festival.

"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, Beyonce, The Rolling Stones, Jay-Z, Billie Eilish and lots more. Me and my dad will definitely be watching!"

Emily is the youngest daughter of the festival's founder and organiser, Michael Eavis, who launched the event as the Pilton Pop Folk and Blues Festival in 1970, with the Glastonbury Fayre coming a year later.

People will be able to watch the performances on British channels BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC iPlayer, and listen to them globally on radio and BBC Sounds online.

"Between June 25 and 29, when the 50th anniversary of Glastonbury Festival was due to take place, the BBC will be bringing the spirit of Glastonbury to viewers at home across TV, BBC iPlayer, Radio and BBC Sounds," organisers announced with a Facebook event.

At the time of writing, the event had been live for six hours and 1,800 people had registered themselves as (virtually) attending, and 4,900 people said they were attending. In 2019, 203,500 people attended the English festival.

Organisers are urging people to replicate Glastonbury at home, saying: "We want you to get involved, too ... whether it’s setting up tents at home, making festival flags, food or wristbands."

The 50th anniversary celebrations were set to be headlined by Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and Diana Ross, with Dua Lipa, Lana Del Rey and FKA Twigs also set to play alongside the more than 1,000 acts on the bill. It is not yet clear if they will be included in the remote performances to be streamed on the BBC.

More information is available here.

Updated: May 27, 2020 01:10 PM

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