For many people in the UK, the onset of spring means only one thing – the advent of the music festival season. From Glastonbury in June to the Reading and Leeds Festivals at the end of August, music festivals play a large part in the British summer experience – regardless of the weather.
Traditionally, the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset has been seen simultaneously as the both the kick-off and the highlight of the summer festival season. As famous for the rivers of mud it attracts during periods of rain as the big names it draws, Glastonbury began in 1970 with 1500 people attending. In contrast, last year’s festival – memorably headlined by American rapper Jay-Z – saw over 100,000 people attending, figures that are a testament to how deeply Glastonbury is embedded in the hearts of British music fans.
Other popular festivals featuring rock and electronic acts are spread across the season, with T in the Park in Scotland in July, the V Festival in mid-August and the Reading and Leeds festivals at the end of August. But rock music certainly isn’t the only genre to light a fire under festival-goers in the UK. The Cambridge Folk Festival attracts thousands of folk fans from across the world in the serene and beautiful surroundings of Cherry Hinton in Cambridgeshire. This eclectic festival is even older than Glastonbury, having started in 1964.
What’s more, the UK is home to some of the globe’s most vibrant arts festivals every summer, like the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe in August, and the Brighton Festival and Fringe in May. In fact, the Edinburgh Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world with over two thousand shows last year spanning theatre, comedy, music and many more genres.
However, with the economic downturn looming large over many people’s finances this year, it’s possible that a lot of music fans and arts buffs won’t quite get to make it to their favourite festivals this year. Tickets for music festivals in particular can run into hundreds of pounds for a whole weekend, while tickets at Fringe events often sell out quickly – especially if they’ve been receiving good press.
However, the huge technological advances of the last decade mean that it’s now easier than ever to make sure you don’t miss out on seeing your favourite bands or shows – even if it’s from the comfort of your own living room. Rapid developments in digital television mean that highlights from major music festivals and events are increasingly being shown on TV, both recorded and live.
Digital channels are often among the first to screen footage from music festivals and channels with interactive features usually let you choose from a selection of bands to watch. Detailed programmes on arts festivals are often compiled too and can be seen on specialist channels like Sky Arts. What’s more, with more and more people choosing HD television, the crystal-clear quality of this format means that your favourite musical groups and performers will seem even more unforgettable.