The Glastonbury Festival is the world’s best work, says BBC executive producer

The BBC’s Glastonbury Festival TV coverage is “the jewel in the crown” and the team behind it has thought about “how to give everyone the magic of Glastonbury”, the executive producer behind this year’s TV output has said.

The much-anticipated festival returned this week for the first time in three years after the pandemic forced organizers to cancel twice.

To celebrate its 50th year, Sir Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish and rapper Kendrick Lamar will headline the Pyramid Stage, while Diana Ross will fill the Sunday Teatime Legends slot.

The BBC will bring audience coverage to “all four linear TV networks”, which has “never happened”, and will also broadcast “the biggest offering on iPlayer”, said BBC Television executive producer Alison Howe.

She told the PA news agency: “A lot goes into it. We love what we do but we work really long hours to make sure it’s as good as it can be.”

“We spend a lot of time planning it, I think about it all the time, even though I work on several other shows for the BBC.

“If you work in live music coverage is such an integral part of your life, it really is the jewel in the crown so we want to think about everything.

“A lot goes into this in physical terms and then a great deal of planning, executing, considering, tackling, and hours on site, there is no getting around it.


Billie Eilish performing on Stage 2 at Glastonbury Festival in 2019 (Aaron Chown/PA)

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“But everyone who comes to work with us at the festival doesn’t really think about it, they just think about being there and getting the best job in the world at that time.”

Ms Howe, who has worked on festival coverage every year since 1992, said it continually gets “bigger and better” which is “only aggravated by the pandemic”.

“What we thought about this year is how to give the magic of Glastonbury to everyone.

“That kind of unique situation is both physically – in that it is in the middle of the countryside on a dairy farm – and the kind of aura where it fits spiritually and then all these great artists and performances that happen on site. are,” he said.

This year, the BBC has “technically advanced” to bring Ultra High Definition (UHD) filming to the pyramid stage, a “huge step”.


BBC Broadcasting House in London (Ian West/PA)

“I think this is the beginning of a journey in terms of the technical aspects of capturing a lot of live music, it is exciting,” said Ms. Howe.

Speaking about the return of the festival, she said: “I think quite excited would be an understatement, really excited and honored because we don’t take it lightly that we get to do this all the time.

“We have a wonderful working relationship with the Avis family and everyone who brings the festival together, the BBC is part of that family.

“There is no doubt that the festival and the BBC have evolved together over the years.


Glastonbury co-organizer Michael Evis with his daughter Emily (Chris Radburn/PA)

“The whole BBC team comes together, that’s the best thing about it because it’s when the BBC is at its best, when it all works together on just one thing like it did Jubilee and Big sporting events … I hope we do the BBC and the audience proud.”

From headline shows on Pyramid Stage to emerging artists on BBC Music Introducing Stage will air on BBC TV, Radio, BBC Sounds, BBC iPlayer and online.

Coverage will be brought to viewers by some of the BBC’s most loved presenters, including Clara Amfo, Dermot O’Leary, Jack Saunders, Lauren Laverne, Vic Hope and Zoe Ball – all broadcast live from Worthy Farms.

Laverne will broadcast from the gates on Wednesday as the first festival-goers enter the site, while All Day Glastonbury will continue on 6 Music throughout the weekend in addition to coverage on Radio 1, Radio 1 Extra and Radio 2.

The BBC’s dedicated Glastonbury channel is set to launch on 23 June, offering a four-day stream of live performances and preview programmes.


Clara Amfo (Matt Krasick / PA)

The Somerset festival will host nearly 200,000 visitors starting Wednesday, with more than 80 artists set to perform, including US pop stars Olivia Rodrigo, Lord and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

However, the festival would face difficulties getting to the site at Pilton amid three days of major rail strikes in the largest outbreak of industrial action in a generation.

Only a fifth of trains were running on Tuesday in a dispute over wages, jobs and conditions for nearly 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and 13 train operators in Network Rail.

In a statement, Glastonbury Festival said: “Due to this week’s strikes, we anticipate that there may be additional traffic to the Glastonbury Festival site.


Trains stop at the Edge Hill siding in Wavertree Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

“As usual, car parks will open on Tuesdays, allowing festival-goers to come throughout the evening, when traffic volumes are less. This year, drivers can come from 4 pm onwards. ,

The Glastonbury line-up also includes new acts such as Arlo Parks, Doja Cat, Easy Life, Fontaines DC and Griff, along with established names including Crowded House, Primal Scream and Supergrass.

The Pet Shop Boys will feature in a “long-awaited” performance titled The Other Stage, while former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant will appear with American country and bluegrass star Alison Krauss following the release of their second collaborative album.

Three Ukrainian acts, including 2016 Eurovision winner Jamala, will bring anti-war messages to the site and talk about climate change, Black Lives Matter and Russia.

Glastonbury 2022 takes place from 22 June to 26 June and tickets are sold out.