Glastonbury Week Part 4: Inside the BBC's coverage

Glastonbury Week Part 4: Inside the BBC's coverage

According to BBC Studios head of music Mark Cooper, the corporation’s coverage of Glastonbury has been a key driver for British culture over the past 20 years.

Speaking in the new edition of Music Week and dissecting the BBC’s campaign for Glastonbury 2017 alongside BBC Radio 2 editor Philippa Aylott and BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Cerys Matthews, Cooper said the BBC “does festivals in a unique way”.

With coverage set to continue until 2022, this year marks 20 years of BBC broadcasts from Worthy Farm, and Cooper confessed to feeling “proud” in “an anniversary year and a peak of this cycle”.

“It’s a culmination, we will innovate and go forward but we’ll always keep the core values of our coverage,” he continued. “This wonderful festival with a window seat provided by TV, radio and interactive for the past 20 years has been a massive driver for the UK culturally. Glastonbury is like the FA Cup Final.”

Asked to sum up the aims of BBC Music’s Glastonbury coverage, Cooper said: “One is to show the breadth and depth of the Glastonbury experience, with a real human element. Second is to provide an incredible ringside seat to some stellar performances by the hottest and most important acts in the world today.”

Aylott, meanwhile, called Glastonbury “the biggest moment of the year” for BBC Music. 

“It’s so much broader than [other festivals] and I think that’s why we can house all these radio networks and TV coverage [there],” she said. The figures last year were incredible and I think people want to unite and, without wishing to sound cheesy, music TV always does that. People enjoy music TV, enjoy music radio they want to have that big collaborative moment.” 

This year’s BBC Glastonbury coverage will see over 30 hours of broadcasting across BBC Two and BBC Four, with more peak BBC Two hours than ever before. BBC Radio 3 is set to broadcast live from Glastonbury for the first time, with a special edition of World On 3 to feature alongside the usual offerings from Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2, 6 Music and Asian Network. In addition, 120 performances from six stages will be available to stream in HD and via the BBC iPlayer.

Glastonbury kicks off today (June 21) and runs until Sunday (June 25), with Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran set to headline the Pyramid Stage.

Read about Emily Eavis’ plans for new Glastonbury offshoot Variety Bazarr here, and catch up with Foo Fighters agent Russel Warby here. Click here to revisit Travis’ breakthrough 1999 set. 

Look out for more Glastonbury coverage throughout the festival on and social media.

To read the full report on this year’s coverage, which charts the whole process from bookings, to production to the weekend itself, click here or pick up a copy of the magazine. 



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