Glastonbury 2023: Date and how to watch as full line-up is announced

The UK’s biggest festival returns in late June, rain or shine

·7-min read
The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2022. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2022. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

After celebrating its belated 50th birthday last year, Glastonbury 2023 is set to keep the UK’s biggest and (arguably) best festival going with another annual celebration of the performing arts.

The long-standing reputation of this Pilton-based party has become the stuff of legend ever since its inception back in 1970. In the years following, this once humble gathering has grown into one of the world’s largest and most eagerly-anticipated music festivals, with each of its culturally conscious instalments mirroring the social temperature of the times.

Giants of the music and pop-culture world, from Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé to Dolly Parton and Radiohead, have each graced its many stages, come rain or shine.

Read more: The best music festivals of 2023

Meanwhile, audiences have regularly found themselves either overjoyed or infuriated with their valiant attempts at trying to bag its gold-dust tickets.

Put simply, Glastonbury is one of the biggest moments in the world’s cultural calendar. If you’re looking for a whistle-stop tour of its history and details of 2023’s line-up and how to watch, you’ve come to the right place.

What is Glastonbury festival?

Michael Eavis co-founded Glastonbury festival with his wife Jean in 1970. (Photo by Jim Ross/Invision/AP)
Michael Eavis co-founded Glastonbury festival with his wife Jean in 1970. (Jim Ross/Invision/AP)

The festival now universally known as Glastonbury was founded in 1970 by Michael Eavis and his late wife Jean. Eavis was and still is a dairy farmer who was inspired to create his own music festival after attending the Bath Festival of Blues a year prior.

Originally named the Pilton Pop, Folk & Blues Festival, this hand-made open-air event was initially due to be headlined by The Kinks before T-Rex replaced the band at the last moment.

Tickets only cost £1 — a far cry from their current price tag — and Eavis’ initial party attracted around 1,500 people to the fields of his dairy farm in Pilton, Somerset.

After a successful first outing, Eavis was determined to keep going, and has done ever since. Cut to 2023 and Glastonbury festival is a much more different event than the one that initially kicked it into gear all those years ago.

These days, Glastonbury is attended by roughly 200,000 people. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
These days, Glastonbury is attended by roughly 200,000 people. (Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Today, it’s attended by roughly 200,000 people — enough to transform its sleepy Somerset surroundings into a pop-up city whenever the festival starts — and it contains much more than musical performances.

Throughout a week in late June, 900 acres of the picturesque Vale of Avalon are transformed into a vibrant cultural space featuring installations, traders, arts and crafts activities, healers and of course, plenty of music, from huge international acts to people in tiny tents with nothing but a bit of creative flair.

While the event has had its ups and downs, including a long-standing battle with overcrowding and those determined to break in and the ever-fluctuating nature of British weather, it remains one of the biggest musical events of the year.

Michael Eavis' daughter Emily Eavis is now the primary overseer of Glastonbury festival. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Michael Eavis' daughter Emily Eavis is now the primary overseer of Glastonbury festival. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Socially minded and dedicated to supporting charities and good causes around the world, Glastonbury also takes every fifth year off in order to allow its farmland to recuperate after the intensity of multiple festivals.

In 1999, Michael’s daughter Emily Eavis became the co-organiser of Glastonbury and today is the driving force behind the festival’s yearly bookings and output.

Who is playing Glastonbury 2023?

Sir Elton John will perform his last ever show at Glastonbury 2023. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Sir Elton John will perform his last ever show at Glastonbury 2023. (Simone Joyner/Getty Images)

As always, Glastonbury’s musical line-up is just divisive enough to delight and disgruntle fans in equal measure, with 2023’s main stage headliners Arctic Monkeys, Guns n’ Roses and Sir Elton John doing exactly that.

Responding to criticism surrounding this all-male Pyramid Stage headlining trio, current festival organiser Emily Eavis cited a “pipeline” problem and explained that she was dedicated to “balancing” the remainder of the bill.

This can thankfully be seen in other elements of 2023’s line-up, with the likes of Lizzo, Lana Del Rey, Beth Orton, Blondie, Carly Rae Jepsen and Texas rounding out the roster.

Lizzo will perform at Glastonbury 2023. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Karl Lagerfeld)
Lizzo will perform at Glastonbury 2023. (Getty Images for Karl Lagerfeld)

Additional names due to perform at Glastonbury 2023 include Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Manchester artist Aitch, Alt-J, Lil Nas X, Christine and the Queens, Hot Chip, Lewis Capaldi, Manic Street Preachers and many, many more acts across three jam-packed days.

The full line-up was announced on Tuesday, 30 May, and Queens of the Stone Age, the Chemical Brothers, Royal Blood, Skepta, Caroline Polachek and Digga D were added to the line-up. Other notable names onn the Pyramid stage include Royal Blood, who will now play before Arctic Monkeys on Friday, Rick Astley on Saturday, Maisie Peters and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and The Master Musicians of Joujouka.

A mystery act named the ChurnUps has also been announced for Glastonbury, though it seems a secret celebrity act whose identity festival organisers are keeping close to their chest.

The Glastonbury 2023 line-up poster (Credit: Glastonbury)
The Glastonbury 2023 line-up poster. (Glastonbury)

Over on The Park stage, attendees can enjoy headlining performances from Fatboy Slim, Fever Ray and Alt J, with Thundercat, Sparks, Weyes Blood, composer Max Richter, with Tinariwen, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Viagra Boys also visiting across the weekend.

On the West Holts stage, Kelis, Loyle Carner and Rudimental are on headlining duty, with Young Fathers, Ezra Collective, Black Country New Road and She Say She making up just a handful of performers due to appear at this area of the festival.

Meanwhile, at Woodsies (previously the John Peel Stage), fans will encounter Hot Chip, Christine and the Queens and Phoenix as their headliners, with War Paint, Editors, The Courteeners, Pale Waves, Shame and The Murder Capital also playing under the tent. The tent is also expected to host two more big-name acts, who have not yet been announced, as well as Caroline Polachek, Editors, Slowdive, Shame, the Murder Capital, Working Men’s Club, Wunderhorse and the Last Dinner Party, Courteeners and Pale Waves.

The Other stage will see Queens of the Stone Age headline on Sunday, Lana del Ray on Saturday, and Wizzkid on Friday. New acts confirmed include Dermot Kennedy, Krept & Konan, Japanese Breakfast, the Lightning Seeds, the Hives, Ben Howard, the Unthanks, the Lathums, the Teskey Brothers, the Joy, and supergroup Generation Sex.

Full line-ups for a variety of stages and spaces including Block9, Strummerville, the Acoustic stage, Pilton Palais, the Glade, the Kidsfield, Glasto Latino, Unfairground, Arcadia, Shangri-La, The Common, Theatre & Circus, Left Field, Croissant Neuf, Field of Avalon and Silver Hayes have also been revealed.

Tickets for Glastonbury 2023 went on sale in late 2022 and sold out in an hour, despite a technical issue involving the event’s ticketing system throwing a last-minute spanner into the works.

How can I watch Glastonbury 2023?

A general view of the Glastonbury Festival in Worthy Farm, Somerset, England, Friday, June 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Scott Garfitt)
A general view of the Glastonbury Festival in Worthy Farm, Somerset, England, Friday, June 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Scott Garfitt)

An extensive selection of coverage from many different Glastonbury festival stages is typically available to view and listen on the BBC, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds — both live and via catch up after the festival has ended.

While it has yet to be confirmed, it is highly likely that the BBC will continue to offer the same type of multi-stage coverage for Glastonbury 2023.

Read more: Mel C shares Glasto disappointment

Taking you up close to many elements of the weekend’s festivities, the BBC also shares music, special performances and interviews from each event across BBC 6 Music, alongside providing select coverage on places like BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC Two and BBC One.

These are all free to enjoy as long as you own a valid TV licence.

Glastonbury 2023 will take place between Friday 23 and Sunday 25 June.