As the official crew t-shirt made clear, 2014 was the year of four headliners. Arcade Fire (first revealed at the end of 2013), Metallica, Kasabian and of course, Dolly Parton, who graced the front page of every national newspaper in the UK (and thousands more around the world) on the Monday morning as everybody made their way home.
News of Dolly’s first ever Worthy Farm appearance leaked out on the same night as Glastonbury scooped the Best Festival gong at the NME Awards in London in February. From there it was rhinestones all the way to the Pyramid, as she charmed an enormous afternoon crowd in the Sunday sunshine and also found time to welcome Michael and the grandchildren onto the Dolly tourbus. The BBC’s Jo Whiley interviewed a breathless Dolly straight after the show, coincidentally right in front of a print of Stanley Donwood’s ‘Nether’ illustration (as featured on our website). At 3-million plus, that clip became the most viewed item of the entire weekend’s coverage.
Meanwhile records were broken – again – both in front of and behind the scenes. Another record ticket sell out, in October 2013. A production record for Pyramid changeover, taking in Friday’s Arcade Fire lighting spectacular, Metallica’s Saturday mighty sub bass and Sunday’s anthemic close out from returning heroes Kasabian. And more records set by the BBC’s viewing and listening figures, both at home and abroad.
As always, preparation for 2014’s Festival began not long after the Rolling Stones left site in June the year before. Infrastructure’s ambitious plans included more than 20 new long drop sites and a much needed new million litre on site water reservoir, as well as a trial of the revolutionary new compost toilets provided for most crew areas for the first time. Roads were improved, bridges strengthened and work continued on the Pilton village social housing project, with over 20 houses completed by May.
Just a month later Glastonbury 2014 opened with the traditional Green Field’s bonfire high up in King’s Meadow on Wednesday night, crackling 30 feet in the air behind the ‘All You Need Is Love’ banner. The next day Banksy was back in Glastonbury, with his ‘factory farming’ installation parading noisily through the markets; legendary DJ David Morales flew in to pay tribute to the late Frankie Knuckles in a roadblocked NYC Downlow and Arcadia settled noisily into their new home below the Park.
Random highlights included a ‘Beatle visit’ from Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band, a dramatic lightning enhanced debut set from Rudimental on the Pyramid, a breathtaking solo show party from Skrillex on the Other Stage and one of the greatest closing sets ever seen at Glastonbury courtesy of Disclosure on the West Holts stage.
Along the way, the Festival churned out two editions of the official ‘Glastonbury Free Press’ newspaper, Worthy Farm made it to the final six farms in the judging of the Dairy Gold Cup – and actually won it the week after the show – and relatively kind weather (note: 2014 was NOT a wet one!) helped us record our highest ever direct donations to our partner charities, Greenpeace, Oxfam and WaterAid
“We had it all,” said Emily Eavis as the clean up crews moved into the Pyramid field on Monday morning. “But everyone pulled together and I think that spirit is what helped make it so special.
“And I think people really noticed the detail of what we do this year, from the political banners to flags and the fence coverings all over site. Music aside, the art and installations were by far the best we’ve ever had.”