In Pictures: How they used to do festivals back in the day

31 July 2020, 20:00 | Updated: 31 July 2020, 20:01

Festival-goers Sophie Boisselet and Chris Welch attend the Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, UK, 26th-30th August 1970.
Festival-goers Sophie Boisselet and Chris Welch attend the Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, UK, 26th-30th August 1970. Picture: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The humble festival has been with us for over 50 years now. So how did your parents - or grandparents, even - enjoy the festival experience?

What were the differences? What were the similarities? What sort of bands were they watching? And, most importantly, what were the toilets like? Here are some brilliant archive photos of festivals from the1960s through to the 1980s.

  1. Fans arrive at the Isle Of Wight for the 1970 "Pop Festival". They're looking forward to seeing The Who, Jimi Hendrix and the final UK performance of The Doors with Jim Morrison.

    Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
    Isle Of Wight Festival 1970. Picture: Roger Jackson/Central Press/Getty Images
  2. Festival goers start to arrive for a lo-fi-looking Reading Festival in August 1980. They were there to see Iron Maiden, Whitesnake, Def Leppard and more.

    Reading Festival 40 years ago
    Reading Festival 40 years ago. Picture: Reading Post/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
  3. Toilets at the Isle Of Wight Festival, 1970. Good luck if you get the "cubicle" at the end.

    Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
    Isle Of Wight Festival 1970. Picture: Evening Standard/Getty Images
  4. If you lost your mates in 1976, how did you get in touch with them in the pre-mobile era? Leave a message on the message wall, of course! And then hope for the best.

    Reading Festival held at Little John's Farm, 27th August 1976
    Reading Festival held at Little John's Farm, 27th August 1976. Picture: Peter Stone/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
  5. There was one other option in those pre-mobile days.

    Festival-goers queuing up to make phone calls outside a red telephone box on the Isle of Wight while attending the Isle of Wight Festival, UK, 26th-31st August 1970
    Festival-goers queuing up to make phone calls outside a red telephone box on the Isle of Wight while attending the Isle of Wight Festival, UK, 26th-31st August 1970. Picture: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
  6. Using the amenities at Glastonbury Festival, 1971. These lucky festival goers could have been watching David Bowie's first Glasto performance the next day.

    Glastonbury Festival, 1971
    Glastonbury Festival, 1971. Picture: Ian Tyas/Keystone Features/Getty Images
  7. Roger Daltrey "copters in" to play The Who's headline set at the Isle Of Wight festival in August 1969. The band aired their rock opera Tommy that night.

    Isle Of Wight Festival 1969
    Isle Of Wight Festival 1969. Picture: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images
  8. Reading Festival grew out of the National Jazz Festival in Richmond in the early 60s. By the start of the next decade, the event had moved to Reading and adopted a crowd that favoured heavy rock. This is the view from the stage in 1973, when Status Quo and Genesis played.

    Reading Festival 1973
    Reading Festival 1973. Picture: Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images
  9. There was less of a stage show in the early days of British festivals, as this image from the Isle Of Wight in 1970 demonstrates.

    Ralph McTell performing at the Isle Of Wight Festival, 1970
    Ralph McTell performing at the Isle Of Wight Festival, 1970. Picture: David Redfern/Redferns/Getty ImagesDavid Redfern/Redferns/Getty
  10. The stage at Reading Festival in 1976. It's a bit "basic"

    Reading Festival, 29th August 1976.
    Reading Festival, 29th August 1976. Picture: Erica Echenberg/Redferns/Getty Images
  11. Forget "Follow us on Instagram" - at Reading in the 1976, you were encouraged to sign up with the "Daily Mirror Pop Club". Whatever that was.

    Reading Festival, 27th August 1976
    Reading Festival, 27th August 1976. Picture: Peter Stone/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
  12. British festivals always had connections with the counter-culture. In 1981, Glastonbury joined forces with CND - the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament, which protested against the arms race.

    Glastonbury Festival 1983
    Glastonbury Festival 1983. Picture: Pete Cronin/Redferns/Getty Images
  13. Glastonbury in the 1980s was a much more relaxed affair

    Relaxing by the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 1983
    Relaxing by the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 1983. Picture: Pete Cronin/Redferns/Getty Images
  14. It was a whole lot easier to star-spot in the late 60s! Keith Richards attended the Isle Of Wight in '69, as did John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr

    Keith Richards in the crowd at the Isle Of Wight Festival 1969
    Keith Richards in the crowd at the Isle Of Wight Festival 1969. Picture: McCarthy/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
  15. The hippie ethos was to "let it all hang out" - why bother with anything as conformist as having a tent?

    Camping at the Isle Of Wight Festival 1969
    Camping at the Isle Of Wight Festival 1969. Picture: Jean-Louis Atlan/Sygma via Getty Images
  16. Some real canvas tents and a distinct lack of dark fruits cider at the campsite at Reading in 1976

    Reading Festival, 27 August 1976
    Reading Festival, 27 August 1976. Picture: Peter Stone/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
  17. The front row at Glastonbury 1990 - note the complete lack of flags!

    Glastonbury Festival 1990
    Glastonbury Festival 1990. Picture: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images
  18. This festival fan at the Isle Of Wight in 1969 is probably in her 70s now!

    Girl dancing at The Isle of Wight Festival. 30th August 1969
    Girl dancing at The Isle of Wight Festival. 30th August 1969. Picture: Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images
  19. The crowd at the Isle Of Wight Festival in 1969. The following year was to be the last event on the island for 20 years - over half a million people are thought to have attended, prompting a rethink of festivals by both the organisers and the government.

    An aerial view of the crowds at the Isle Of Wight Festival 1969
    An aerial view of the crowds at the Isle Of Wight Festival 1969. Picture: People/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images
  20. Health and safety, 1980-style

    Reading Festival, August 1980
    Reading Festival, August 1980. Picture: Reading Post/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
  21. Festival-goers making their way to Reading in 1975

    "Reading Pop festival. Berkshire, August 1975"
    "Reading Pop festival. Berkshire, August 1975". Picture: Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images