TOP 10: Festival Legends & Traditions


Did you know there's a whole book dedicated to the myths and legends of Glastonbury? It's called Glastonbury Festival Myths & Legends, and got us thinking about all the other weird and wonderful festival moments that have now engraved themselves in folklore.

You see, that's what makes festivals so special - all the structures of everyday life are left at the gates and spontaneity rushes in ahead of you instead. But that's why we love them, right, because where else in the world would you get moments like these, or more to the point, where else would some of these be socially acceptable?

Sex on the Hill: Sasquatch Festival, USA: 2000

In possibly the greatest example of societies norms and expectations being lost God knows where, one couple attending 2000's Sasquatch Festival decided the perfect place to get it on was out in the open on top of a hill, because you know, who doesn't want to get all lusty to the Decemberists? Well, apart from security of course. 

Roskilde's Naked Run: Roskilde Festival, Denmark

Roskilde and wildness go hand in hand, and such is no more evident than in its annual naked run. Every year since 1999, festival goers have stripped off to bear all, lured to the starting line by the prize of a free ticket for next year's festival. Do you fancy being a part of the mayhem? Check out our 2015 guide for more info.

Two tales of festival hip-hop: Reading Festival & Glastonbury, UK: 2004 & 2008

Music can come a long way over four years, and none more so than hip-hop. When 50 Cent took to the stage to a barrage of bottles at Reading in 2004, it marked a clear division between traditional rock festivals and the genre. But fast forward to 2008, and despite Noel Gallagher's qualms, hip-hop was finally embraced by the festival scene in the form of Jay-Z, who produced one of Glastonbury's now legendary headline sets, managing to both win over the doubters and mock the aforementioned Gallagher at the same time. Impressive. 

Reading's Dave Rave: Reading Festival, UK:  

If you've ever been to Reading & Leeds, you'll know what I'm on about when I shout "Alan!" However, some of the festival's contingent have taken it a step further by introducing the now infamous Dave Rave - a procession of hundreds of people gathering up the largest herd of Daves ever, you guessed it, by repeatedly shouting "Dave!"

Tupac is alive!: Coachella Festival, USA: 2012

Holograms have always played a part in live performance, and are even the basis for Gorillaz's live sets. However, when you start bringing people back from the dead, you're skating on thin ice, which is exactly what Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg did. During their 2012 set at Coachella, the duo appeared to be joined by the late rapper Tupac after a tribute performance of his hit 'California Love'. There's no doubting the stunt had a powerful and unnerving effect, but it divided opinions, leading to reviews calling it either 'amazing', 'tacky' or 'macabre'. 

Sing or you ain't getting in: Woodstock Festival, USA: 1969

Ever heard of a performer who couldn't get into their own show? Well, exactly that nearly happened at the inaugural Woodstock Festival back in 1969, when 'Brand New Key' singer Melanie Safka forgot her performer's pass and had to sing her song, 'Beautiful People', to the guys on the gates to get herself backstage. Fortunately though, no one could turn away a voice like that.  

Hendrix burns his guitar: Monterey Pop Festival, USA: 1967

Prior to the festival, there had been a gruelling debate over who was the reigning rock god: Jimi Hendrix or Pete Townshend of The Who. Both were refusing to play after the other and in the end, a coin toss was needed to decide who went on last. It was Jimi, who inevitably demonstrated the limits of what could be done on an electric guitar, but once he'd finished, he kneeled in front of his guitar and set it ablaze in an iconic symbol that still resonates today. At the time some believed the guitar to be his famous Stratocaster, however it was later revealed it was duly swapped beforehand. Phew!

Nirvana's final UK performance: Reading Festival, UK: 1992

Prior to Nirvana's 1992 Reading Festival headline set, rumours fuelled by journalists had been flying around about Kurt Cobain and his wife, Courtney Love: "Kurt’s in hospital, Kurt’s been arrested, Kurt’s OD’d, Courtney’s OD’d, the baby’s been born deformed", recalls journalist Everett True. In response, Cobain was wheeled onto the stage in a wheelchair, surgical gown and wig for what would turn out to be arguably the band's best, but ultimately last, UK appearance, despite Dave Grohl admitting the band only rehearsed the night before. 

Rage fall silent in protest: Lollapalooza, USA: 1993

No strangers to controversy, Rage Against The Machine were so sick of having their lyrics slammed by the Parents Music Resource Centre (PMRC) that they took to the stage at Lollapalooza in 1993 naked, silenced by duct tape and painted with PMRC, and stood there for 15 minutes refusing to play. The moment has gone down in folklore as a major act of rebellion againstt censorship that they believed threatened the music industry, but don't worry, Rage later played a free show to disappointed fans.

If Bestival did world records...: Bestival, UK

Ever wanted to be a world record breaker? Well get yourself down to Bestival then. Every year the quirky festival attempts to break a world record, last year doing so for the biggest disco ball, which was raised and spun during the finale of Chic's Sunday set. And that wasn't the first either, because back in 2010 it also set the record for most people in fancy dress at one event. We wonder what they're planning this year, and if you want to get involved, find out more on our guide.

Oh, and lastly, how must you feel if you were this guy?! 

 

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