The best Glastonbury myths, legends and stories

29 June 2024, 13:00

Truth or myth? At Glastonbury, expect the unexpected
Truth or myth? At Glastonbury, expect the unexpected. Picture: Alamy/Getty Images

It's a magical place, that Glastonbury. As you can imagine, sometimes the legend is more interesting than the truth. Radio X looks at some classic Glasto tales.

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Radio X

By Radio X

  1. Aliens (and other stuff)

    A freedom of information request a few years back revealed that between February 2007 and August 2011, Avon and Somerset Police received no fewer than 27 calls describing aliens in relation to Glastonbury.

    Some of the calls detailed how the caller was the "Son of God" on Earth and another claimed UFOs were causing their dog to draw pictures. Draw your own conclusions. But here's some 100% genuine footage:

    The Chemical Brothers Glastonbury 2015 UFO Sighting!

  2. Manic Street Preachers and Toiletgate

    In 1999, the Manics brought their own portable toilet to the festival, which bore a sign saying: "These facilities are reserved exclusively for the Manic Street Preachers." Billy Bragg berated the band for their prissiness, but Nicky Wire retaliated later that summer when the band played T In The Park.

    Dedicating Tsunami to Bragg, he shouted: "I wouldn't want his d*ck pi*sing all over my toilet for all the money in the f**king world. Get back to the army, you d*ckhead. And stop stealing Woody Guthrie's songs."

    Manic Street Preachers - Billy Bragg Rant

  3. Was Michael Jackson really dead?

    There was a WEIRD atmosphere in the early hours of the Friday morning at Glastobury 2009. News started to break that Michael Jackson, the King Of Pop, had died suddenly at his US home. There was much disbelief and scoffing from people who thought this was typical Glasto gossip and pure nonsense from overactive imaginations. Of course, it turned out to be true and the tributes started to flood in.

    Michael Jackson: Glastonbury festival reacts

  4. The legend of the "poo lagoon"

    For many years, the endless stream of human excrement and waste water was decanted into a trucks and apparently decanted into a huge cess pit on Worthy Farm known as "The Lagoon".

    Writer and Glastonbury veteran Marc Leverton told Clash magazine that the feculence was filtered before heading off to the nearest sewerage works and that many, many mobile phones were discovered, plus false teeth and even a false leg that was never claimed. That would have been an unfortunate day for one person.

    To cut down on the lorry traffic and be more environmentally friendly, organisers a new "Poo Pit" in 2010. One can only imagine what that looks like in your darkest nightmares.

    See also: that story everyone hears about someone being trapped on a portable bog that had fallen over.

    High on the list of the Worst Jobs In The World: having to follow the Poo Truck during an incident of "blowback"
    High on the list of the Worst Jobs In The World: having to follow the Poo Truck during an incident of "blowback". Picture: Tom Corban / Alamy Stock Photo
  5. Bez gets arrested

    Bez got arrested for "on suspicion of intent to supply drugs" on the Friday afternoon in 1998 and had to miss his DJ set with Joe Strummer on the Sunday as he'd been kicked off the site. Of course, he's a reformed man nowadays.

    Here's Bez, in happier times, doing his maraca thing with The Rapture on House Of Jealous Lovers, back in 2003.

    Glastonbury 2003 The Rapture with Bez House Of Jealous Lovers live

  6. Joe Strummer defeats the mud

    1997 was one of the muddiest Glastonburies EVER. But man of the moment, the late Joe Strummer, rallied the festival-goers with a statement in the Glastonbury daily newspaper: "We ain't beaten, man. We will beat this deluge!" Radiohead went on to play a stunning headline set on the Saturday. Thanks, Joe.

    Joe Strummer Rock the Casbah + Tommy Gun Live Glastonburyfestival 26 jun 1999

  7. Mansun's sinking stage

    Further to the mud story of 1997, Chester's finest were due to perform on The Other Stage on the Sunday night, but a combination of sound problems and an apparently sinking stage meant that they didn't play a single note. They ran out of time and left the chaos to headliners The Bluetones.

    Mansun's nemesis: The Other Stage at Glastonbury 1997
    Mansun's nemesis: The Other Stage at Glastonbury 1997. Picture: Alamy