Stars arrive for launch of BBC's Glastonbury: 50 Years And Counting

In 2020, the festival was due to celebrate its 50th anniversary but it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Star have arrived at the launch of the BBC’s Glastonbury: 50 Years And Counting.

The film launch at Curzon Bloomsbury kickstarted the countdown to the much-anticipated festival which is returning to Worthy Farm in Somerset this summer, having been cancelled for the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The BBC is celebrating with a kaleidoscopic portrait from the director and producer of David Bowie’s Five Years trilogy, Francis Whately.

BBC Two’s Glastonbury: 50 Years & Counting screening
Francis Whately (Ian West/PA)

Three years in the making, the film tells the story of Glastonbury through its principal curators Emily and Michael Eavis and many of the artists who have performed there over the years, including Florence Welch, Dua Lipa, Fatboy Slim, Chris Martin, Noel Gallagher and Stormzy.

At the heart of the film is a portrait of dairy farmer and impresario Mr Eavis, who said: “It’s an unusual model, really, that we’re running here but that’s why it works, I think.

“Three million people want to come to this event, which is a huge number, because of what it offers them, I suppose… isn’t that enough for me? Don’t you think so? I think that’s plenty, come on, for a chap that’s 86, 87… to be satisfied with my life, surely.”

Glastonbury Festival 2019 – Day 3
Stormzy on the Pyramid Stage in 2019 (Yui Mok/PA)

The BBC will also broadcast a film titled Stormzy: Road To The Pyramid Stage, which will see the rapper reflect on the journey that led him to his 2019 headline performance.

This year’s festival on June 22-26 is expected to attract around 200,000 visitors and is being headlined by Billie Eilish, Sir Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lemar.

Eilish, 20, will headline Friday, becoming the festival’s youngest solo headliner, and former Beatle Sir Paul will front Saturday night – the second time he has topped the Pyramid Stage after a performance in 2004.

BBC Two’s Glastonbury: 50 Years & Counting screening
Jeremy Vine arrives for the screening (Ian West/PA)

American rapper Lamar will make his debut at the festival to close proceedings on the Sunday, while Diana Ross will play the legends slot.

More than 80 other artists had previously been added to the festival programme, including US pop star Olivia Rodrigo, Lorde and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Lauren Laverne and Jack Saunders will host a BBC preview programme live on June 23 welcoming audiences back to Worthy Farm, joined by special guests and acoustic performances.

Coverage of performances will begin on the Friday with highlights of performances from Brit-award winner Griff and singer-songwriter Sigrid on BBC Three.

Lauren Laverne
Lauren Laverne (Ian West/PA)

Sam Fender’s Glastonbury debut on the Pyramid Stage will air on BBC Two alongside Robert Plant and Alison Krauss and Wolf Alice, as well as a look at the rise of pop icon Eilish before her headliner set.

BBC Four will show highlights from singer-songwriter Arlo Parks performing on the Park Stage, and Bristol rock band Idles, who will take to the Other Stage on the first day of the festival.

Radio 1’s Clara Amfo will introduce Eilish live on BBC Two and after her headline set, presenters Jo Whiley and Laverne will look back at the best bits including from other headline acts Little Simz and Foals.

Glastonbury: 50 Years And Counting airs on BBC Two on June 19 at 9pm.

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