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Glastonbury: An Oral History of the Music, Mud and Magic [Illustrated] [Paperback]

John Shearlaw , Crispin Aubrey , Michael Eavis
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 Jun 2005

This is the remarkable story of how the Glastonbury Festival, that started as a party in a Somerset field in the 1970s, went on to become one of the world's most famous music festivals.

The tales are told in the words of everyone involved with the festival, from Michael and Emily Eavis and Arabella Churchill to Glastonbury village residents and local policemen. There is also a wealth of celebrity contributions: we hear from David Bowie, Normal Cook, Fran Healy, Chris Martin, Billy Bragg and John Peel, to name just a few.

It adds up to a fascinating slice of popular history, telling the full story of this much loved festival.

Frequently Bought Together

Glastonbury: An Oral History of the Music, Mud and Magic + Glastonbury Festival Myths and Legends + Glastonbury: The Complete History of the Festival
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (2 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091897637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091897635
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 290,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Lets you experience the festival without getting muddy feet or throwing your TV out the window...a heady portrait of the event, stirring and never stale" (Observer)

"Admirably thorough... The authors of this book have let the characters speak for themselves" (Robert Sandall The Sunday Times)

"If you've never been to Glastonbury, Crispin Aubrey and John Shearlaw have provided a fascinating oral history to tell you what you've missed" (Daily Mail)

"No coffee table is complete without this glossy retrospective of the coolest festival" (B Magazine)

Book Description

The definitive oral history of one of the world's greatest music festivals

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once you pick it up...... 5 July 2004
By A Customer
This has to be one of the best books I have ever read. Brilliantly researched and compiled, Glastonbury Festival Tales is a must have for any fan of the festival. With contributions from key figures of the festival to ordinary punters, the book offers a complete overview of the event and what happens behind the scenes to make in so special.
A must for any book shelf, you'll be dipping in and out of this book for years to come! Its superb!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Format: not enough magic 3 July 2007
By Johnentwistlespout VINE VOICE
I've been to Glastonbury seven times, although not for a few years. As everyone knows it's a very, very special festival. When I used to return to work after 5 days of mayhem my life suddenly felt incomplete and I got very emotional for quite a few weeks afterward. I mention all this because the experience cannot be done justice by book, film or photo. Any of these mediums is going to fail to be completely successful, and indeed this book also fails, which is a disappointment because I think it's probably in a perfect format to act as a memento for those who have attended. Over 300 odd pages contributors donate a paragraph or two on each of the 26 (up until 2005) events and its fun to see how the festival increased in size and how amateurish it was for so long...but there just aren't enough contributions from actual festival goers. It's a real pity because these are the people who actually make it what it is; you can almost feel the place in their words. The organisers, for the most part, just don't have the same view. I would also have liked to have seen a full line up for each festival rather than just a summary...and more photos...essentially a massive sprawling, hard backed encyclopaedia on the place. Maybe one day we'll get one...then I'll be front of the queue. Until then this slightly underwhelming novelette will have to do.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wish I'd been.... 29 Dec 2006
Reading this finely produced history of all the Glastonbury Festivals made me wish I'd gone to one while I was young enough to cope with it.

Atmospheric pictures and hundreds of snippets from Festival goers and doers.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Everything is Anti-climax 28 Jun 2005
Maybe it's just being back from the festiest of all festivals itself, but I'm really profoundly disappointed by this book. The mud still about my person is more resonant - perhaps Glastonbury is the one and only human venture that you can't sum up in words. Actually, I think not, I think it can be done, but just hasn't been here: it's mildly diverting rather than passionately riveting. Oh dear - I'm just a Glastonbury addict looking for a hit that isn't in these pages. It needs more pictures, more vivid moments, more insight and, well, better writing. Still, there isn't another Glastonbury until 2007 so this will just have to do.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I like it 26 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I like this book very much, although there are one or two omissions (that I know about because I was there) that I must try to send to the author for any future edition.
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Okay, I admit it - I'm a big festival fan. I've been to a few in my time, the major ones being Hop Farm, Reading and Download, but Glastonbury has been my spiritual home since I first went back in 2011. I bought this book for some light reading ahead of one of the festivals, just to get me on the mood.

If that's why you're reading it, you're in a good place - if not, you'll just wish you were there. Aubrey and Shearlaw investigate the full story of Glastonbury Festival, from its humble beginnings as a party on Michael Eavis' farm to its modern-day status as one of the greatest festivals on the planet.

The book includes first-hand accounts and a collection of photographs of the festival throughout the years which will make you feel like you were really there. It's just a shame that the Daily Mail agrees with me - they say, 'If you've never been to Glastonbury, Crispin Aubrey and John Shearlaw have provided a fascinating oral history to tell you what you've missed.'

I wouldn't go that far, though - sure, it's an interesting read, but it lacks inspiration and fails to capture the quintessential Glasto spirit which festival-goers have grown to know and love over the last forty years. It's like reading a biography of a magician - not only does it lack magic, but also it dispels some of the illusions that kept you under his spell in the first place.

That's not to say you shouldn't read it - it just does what it says on the tin, nothing more and nothing less. Judge for yourself!
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