In 2023, the summer solstice falls on the opening Wednesday of Glastonbury Festival and the sun will set at its highest azimuth in the North West right over this brand new area, which makes a new home in the spaces previously occupied by the John Peel Stage and The Woods. Welcome to WOODSIES, which takes its name from the Worthy Farm fields it occupies (following in the fabled field-name footsteps of Silver Hayes, West Holts and The Park).
A stone’s throw from Silver Hayes and San Remo, just north of the river and next to the Pyramid field, the Woodsies area combines Woodsies Main Stage with bars, cafes, décor, campfire, installations, and The Woods’ aerial walkways in the trees, making this a new, verdant alternative to hang out throughout the day and after the main stages close.
Although the WOODSIES STAGE takes a new name for 2023, it will offer the same raucous, effervescent and gloriously sweaty vibes it did when it was known as the John Peel and, before that, the New Bands Tent. With the same great team at the helm, they’ve delivered another fantastic line-up of both new and well-established acts. From the moment the stage kicks-off on Friday morning with female Ukraine rockers The Sixsters, to a closing Sunday night headline set from eclectic French pop-rock heroes Phoenix, expect a diverse, thrilling bill of some of the best live music you’ll find.
Meanwhile, next to the Wicket Ground campsites, Webbs Ash, Spring Ground and Michael’s Mead, there will be cabaret, burlesque and out of this world happenings. The Once In A Blue Moon Café and Tolpuddle Bar – with DJs, storytellers, buskers and performers – provide a perfect late night counterpoint to the more far flung areas of the site. Party on into the night, find yourself in the enchanted fairy-lit woodland or make new friends around the convivial and warming Tolpuddle fire. Expect rare grooves, world and acoustic sounds from the ground and a feathered Mexican ritual solstice celebration to the god of the West!
The ship-shaped platform high up in the big ash tree, christened Union Castle (named after the ship that took Michael Eavis on his seafaring adventures), overlooks Glastonbury Tor and Woodsies Main Stage. An aerial walkway through the tree canopy takes you over Peetas Pond. Dappled in sunlight during the day, while at night, illuminations light up the foliage making it all seem that much more magical.
Every night, from dusk till dawn, the Tolpuddle Fire is lit in the ring of great stones below the ship. Also connected to the Eavis family, the stones and the fire symbolise the legacy of a small group of agricultural labourers from Dorset, who’s conviction, deportation to Australia and subsequent pardoning in the early 19th century became the first semblance of the trade union movement in the UK.
This year we have planted more than 1000 new trees in Woodsies alone as part of our commitment to maintain the magic of the original Worthy Farm and to let us remember the importance of keeping the land as a haven for wildlife as well as festivals and farming. We want to recreate a 300 year old Oak tree as a symbolic totem to our connection with nature and the wild spirit of place as well as a focus of the Tolpuddle area.
The Mexican traveling troupe Xicome will be at the tree to bless the new Woodsies site on solstice eve and will be performing with their ritual concert The Call Of Quetzalcoatl on Thursday and Saturday. Circus Caravan Of Lost Souls will also be bringing their night time dream circus as a pop-up superfestival act around the Tolpuddle fire and the Tolpuddle Bar with walkabout, fireshows, music, busking and performance burlesque.
Most excitingly of all at midday on the very same midsummer solstice day (the opening Wednesday of the Festival) our Festival founder Michael will be coming to the Tolpuddle fire to open the new area.
So that’s WOODSIES. And we can’t wait to see you there.