Glastonbury 2020: BBC announces exciting update and other highlights

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·4-min read

The BBC has been granted permission for a skeleton production and presentation crew to broadcast live from Worthy Farm this weekend on what would have been Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Presenters Clara Amfo, Lauren Laverne, Mark Radcliffe and Jo Whiley will broadcast on BBC Two against a backdrop of the festival’s iconic Pyramid Stage.

The team of presenters will rotate across the three days, hosting from the sprawling site’s fields, Worthy Farm and the Pyramid Stage as part of The Glastonbury Experience.

Glastonbury Festival 2015 – Day 1
Jo Whiley will host Tea Time Legends on Sunday (Yui Mok/PA)

Each of the nightly shows will be followed by a classic headline performance – with Beyonce’s 2011 set on Friday at 10pm, and Adele’s 2016 set on Saturday at 9.30pm.

On Sunday, Whiley and Radcliffe will take over from 6.30pm to 8pm for Tea Time Legends, looking back at the stars who filled the Sunday afternoon Legends slot.

These include Neil Diamond (2008), Brian Wilson (2005), Shirley Bassey (2007), Lionel Richie (2015), Al Green (1999) and Kylie Minogue (2019).

To cap off proceedings, David Bowie’s 2000 performance will air from 9.30pm to 11.30pm on the Sunday – marking the first time it has been shown on TV in its entirety.

Glastonbury Festival Bowie
David Bowie at Glastonbury (Toby Melville/PA)

Laverne said: “I’m delighted that Clara, Jo, Mark and I will be able to broadcast from Pilton again – although the circumstances are very different.

“All you need to do is get the snacks in – and tune in to the BBC as we bring you the best of the festival from the best seat in the house.”

Radcliffe said: “I know it’s selfish but I am really looking forward to seeing Worthy Farm and the surroundings without a festival going on.

“It will be a new experience to walk the fields and think, ‘This is where the Avalon Ale House would be’.

“I felt sure we’d be in front of the Pyramid Stage in the rain but fingers crossed – set fair.”

There are a number of ways to enjoy the festival from your own home, here is a rundown of a few options:

Glastonbury iPlayer channel

The iPlayer launched its dedicated Glastonbury channel on Thursday and has already streamed performances by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, The Cure, Radiohead and more.

Performances by Metallica, Blur, REM, The Killers, Mumford And Sons and Foo Fighters are also available on demand.

The BBC Music Introducing Stage, which has promoted up-and-coming acts at the festival since 2007, has also been honoured with a film.

Voiced by BBC Radio 1 presenter Huw Stephens and Jaguar from Introducing, the film is also available on iPlayer.

What else is on?

A full list of online events being hosted by Glastonbury’s individual areas – including the Green Fields, Strummerville and Block 9 – is available on the festival’s website.

Late-night dance area Block 9 is holding talks and performances, including a virtual warehouse party with Norman Jay on Saturday between 9pm-3am.

The Arcadia Stage, which has seen DJs perform from atop a towering crane, said it had attempted to host “a real-world performance” this weekend but settled for releasing classic sets online.

A statement on its website said: “We did try to pull a real-world performance off this weekend – flying a hot air balloon over Bristol and Glastonbury, live-streaming a DJ set and aerial performances from over people’s actual gardens, but were eventually foiled by new layers of Covid-related issues.”

Glastonbury Festival 2019 – Day 5
The Arcadia Stage in 2019 (Lukonic Photography/PA)

What would Glastonbury have been like this year?

The Somerset event was due to celebrate its 50th anniversary, with Sir Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar all headlining the Pyramid Stage.

At the time of cancellation, the line-up featured pop acts Dua Lipa, Camila Cabello and Pet Shop Boys, as well as rockers Sam Fender, Blossoms, Haim and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Global recording artist of the year
Taylor Swift was due to headline at Glastonbury (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Rap and grime featured heavily, with Dizzee Rascal, Burna Boy, Kano, Aitch and AJ Tracey all planning to make appearances.

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, Primal Scream, Supergrass, Sinead O’Connor, The Specials, Caribou, Crowded House, Happy Mondays, Metronomy and US country music star Kacey Musgraves were also on the bill.

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis has said that this year’s festival would have been inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement had it gone ahead.