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BBC to air Glastonbury documentary ’50 Years & Counting’ before 2022 festival

The broadcaster has announced its biggest ever coverage for this year's festival

By Will Richards

Fans in a live crowd put their hands in their air on a blue sky day
Glastonbury Festival (Picture: Alamy)

The BBC are set to air a new documentary about Glastonbury Festival called ’50 Years & Counting’ as part of their coverage of the 2022 festival.

This morning (May 31), the broadcaster – who have been broadcasting the Worthy Farm festival live to the nation since 1997 – has announced plans for its biggest ever coverage of Glastonbury, with the festival hosting its twice-delayed 50th anniversary celebrations from June 22-26.

‘Glastonbury: 50 Years & Counting’ is described as “a kaleidoscopic portrait of Glastonbury and its social and musical history… given through the testimony of its principal curators, Michael and Emily Eavis, as well as artists who have appeared there.”

Produced and directed by Francis Whately, it will feature contributions from Coldplay‘s Chris Martin, Radiohead‘s Ed O’Brien and Thom Yorke, Florence Welch, Johnny Marr, Dua Lipa, Stormzy and many more.

‘Stormzy: Road to the Pyramid Stage’ will also be shown on BBC One and iPlayer before the festival, and “will see the mega-star rapper reflect on his Glastonbury journey, which led to one of the all-time iconic headline performances in 2019.” The full set will also be available to watch back.

At the festival itself, Lauren Laverne will broadcast her 6 Music breakfast show live from Worthy Farm on the Wednesday (June 22) as fans arrive at the festival. Select sets from Glastonbury will also be broadcast in Ultra High Definition for the first time.

Lorna Clarke, BBC Director of Music says: “I’m very proud of the BBC’s long history of broadcasting from Glastonbury, the highlight of our Summer of Live Music,” BBC Director Of Music Lorna Clarke said in a statement.

“Our coverage this year will be our most extensive to date, with over 35 hours of programming across BBC One, Two, Three and Four, and over 40 hours on BBC iPlayer – in addition to digital live streams from the five biggest festival stages. We’ll also have wall-to-wall coverage on the BBC’s pop radio networks and BBC Sounds – with over 60 hours of broadcasts from the festival itself. For the first time, we’ll be showing sets from the Pyramid stage in Ultra High Definition, a fantastic progression in our Glastonbury story, which aims to help audiences access every epic musical moment.

“Our expert team of presenters will guide audiences around Worthy Farm, whilst BBC iPlayer – with its dedicated Glastonbury channel – and BBC Sounds will allow people to watch and listen on demand, throughout the festival weekend and beyond. Many thanks to Emily and Michael Eavis for once again allowing us to bring their incredible creation to millions of music lovers around the UK.”

Festival organiser Emily Eavis added: It’s a joy to have the BBC and its brilliant team back and broadcasting live from Glastonbury for the first time since 2019 – continuing a special partnership that’s been evolving since 1997. I’m looking forward to Worthy Farm being filled with thousands of people once again and for millions more around the country being able to enjoy performances from our stellar line-up, courtesy of the BBC, wherever they are.”

Yesterday (May 30), Glastonbury shared the full line-up and set times for this year’s festival. Organisers unveiled the first wave of acts in early March, with Billie EilishPaul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar set to top the bill.

Since then, Glasto has been releasing individual line-up posters for its multitude of areas and stages – including Silver HayesFields Of Avalon and Block 9 – ahead of the extensive full timetable landing.

Sam Fender is set to perform in the slot immediately before Eilish on the Pyramid Stage on the Friday night (June 24), with The Libertines scheduled to open The Other Stage at 11:30am that morning.

Other prominent Pyramid Stage slots have gone to Wolf Alice, AJ Tracey, Haim, Lorde and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.