Here's how the BBC is celebrating Glastonbury's 50th anniversary festival - and how to watch classic sets

Thursday, 28th May 2020, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th May 2020, 3:59 pm

In the absence of Glastonbury Festival – which was cancelled this year in light of the coronavirus crisis – the BBC will be broadcasting classic Glastonbury performances.

Much like they did with Eurovision, the BBC will be revisiting the archived and digging out classic sets from the festival’s long and storied history.

Previous headline sets from superstars Beyoncé, Adele, Coldplay, David Bowie and Jay-Z will be shown on BBC Two and BBC Four, while a new pop-up channel will appear on BBC iPlayer, and will feature more than 60 historic sets.

Lorna Clarke, the controller of BBC Pop said: "Even though Worthy Farm can't be full of thousands of music lovers this year, the BBC will celebrate with four days of memories and archive footage to give our audience a taste of the festival in their own homes."

Here’s everything you need to know about it:

What special programming will be on?

More than 200,000 people would have descended on Worthy Farm in Somerset if the festival had gone ahead from 25 to 28 June.

Instead, presenters Clara Amfo, Edith Bowman, Jo Whiley, Lauren Laverne, and Mark Radcliffe will host four days of programming across the BBC.

At the centre of the BBC coverage will be three 90-minute programmes on BBC Two, broadcast on Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 June.

They will feature performances from The Rolling Stones, REM, Amy Winehouse, Arctic Monkeys, Blur, Dizzee Rascal, Lady Gaga and PJ Harvey.

There will also be special programming on radio and through BBC Sounds: Jo Whiley will present a series of special shows on BBC Radio 2 from Monday 22 June, while Sounds will host over 20 archive performances and All Day Glastonbury curated collections of back-to-back sets.

Which archive performances will be available?

At the time of writing, a full list of archive performances included as part of the BBC’s celebrations has not yet been made available.

Emily Eavis said: “There are so many memorable sets being played across the BBC over what would have been our 50th anniversary weekend.

“Personally, I’m looking forward to a weekend of reflecting on the history of our festival and going back to some classic performances from David Bowie, Adele, REM, Beyoncé, The Rolling Stones, Jay-Z, Billie Eilish and lots more. Me and my dad will definitely be watching!”

Who was due to headline Glastonbury 2020?

Headlining this year’s Glastonbury – before coronavirus got in the way – were Taylor Swift, Sir Paul McCartney and US rapper Kendrick Lamar.

Other acts set to appear at the festival included Dua Lipa, Pet Shop Boys, Mabel, Supergrass, Lana Del Rey, AJ Tracey, Manic Street Preachers, Happy Mondays, Sinead O'Connor, Skunk Anansie, Dizzee Rascal, Primal Scream, and Elbow.

The music festival, due to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, became the latest in a long list of high-profile events cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Michael and Emily Eavis, the event's organisers, confirmed that tickets for this year would roll over into 2021.

A post on Twitter announced the news, saying: "We are so sorry to announce this, but we are going to have to cancel Glastonbury 2020. Tickets for this year will roll over to next year. Full statement below and on our website. Michael & Emily."

The postponement followed updated guidance from the Government at the time, calling on people to stay away from pubs, clubs and theatres and to avoid all non-essential contacts and travel.