Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Why is Glastonbury so white?

By Ed West

It’s embarrassing to admit, but I’ve never been to Glastonbury festival, and as the years go by, the likelihood of ever going is starting to recede (although I’m not that older than the average attendee, who is 39). Inevitably I would end up feeling like Mark Corrigan in the episode of Peep Show where he goes clubbing and in the early hours explains how ‘there are systems for a reason in this world, economic stability, interest rates, growth’ and how ‘it’s only the miracle of consumer capitalism that means you’re not lying in your own shit, dying at 43 with rotten teeth.’

I feel like I just wouldn’t fit in, as if they’re not my people. In fact, a few years back I remember a photograph taken at Glastonbury which better than anything else summed up the sort of person I imagined going there. It showed a banner bearing the slogan, ‘No borders’, or something to that effect, perhaps with ‘no one is illegal’ or ‘we are all migrants’ underneath. The banner was hung on the fence, the fence which every year is erected around the festival to keep non-ticket holders out. Almost like it was some sort of ‘border’, to ensure there was safety and order within.

I’m not sure if this was the same year when everyone was crying about the Brexit result, or singing ‘oh, Jeremy Corbyn’. I don’t know what the political theme will be in 2022, although I imagine that most Glastonbury goers would be rather critical of the Government’s Rwanda flight policy, or indeed any policy that dealt with illegal immigration on the scale we’re seeing. But I guess they might not be so relaxed if 30,000 mostly young men turned up at their festival without tickets, and without any security checks.


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