THE countdown is on - it is less than a month until the Glastonbury Festival

The return of the event, between June 22 and 26, will see revellers return to Worthy Farm in Pilton for the first time since 2019. 

It will finally give festival goers - and the Eavis family - the chance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the event, first held in September 1970. 

To mark the occasion, your County Gazette published a special book detailing the history of Glastonbury, written by former editor - and festival fanatic - Paul Jones. 

View From The Stage: 50 Years of Glastonbury by the People that Played tells the story of the world's largest greenfield festival through the eyes of those who have graced the stages.

Performers from across the decades tell their stories of their time in those fields, giving a unique take on the event so close to Somerset's heart. 

"As a festival fan, it was quite amazing to speak to people who had been involved in some of the most iconic sets ever to grace Glastonbury's stages," said Paul. 

"It was intriguing to be able to ask people about their experience - which is ultimately different to ours as punters - and, from a selfish point of view, even to remember some moments I can remember watching from the crowd."

Somerset County Gazette: Paul's ‘brilliant collection of beautifully-written interviews’ tells the story of Glastonbury Festival through the eyes of its performers.Paul's ‘brilliant collection of beautifully-written interviews’ tells the story of Glastonbury Festival through the eyes of its performers.

Those featured include artists from a raft of genres, such as members of Oasis, Maximo Park, Frank Turner, Status Quo, Paul Carrack, Alexei Sayle and many more. 

And the book has been well-received - including by those who feature in its pages. 

Singer Beth Rowley called it a 'brilliant collection of beautifully-written interviews'. 

But was there a standout story for the author? 

"When I started working on the project, it wasn't intended as a book at all," Paul said. 

"But as I tracked down people from across the decades, I realised these were stories that deserved to be told - a unique timeline of Glastonbury that I certainly hadn't seen before. 

"There were so many stories, things that have never been published before, that I felt it was important to put them all together, to represent this side of the greatest festival in the world. 

"And I was so glad to get some real landmark folks, such as the amazing Jim Bob, from Carter USM, who has never really spoken about their controversial set - and subsequent alleged banning from Glastonbury - in 1992. That was a real 'get' for me and his story was incredible. 

"Glastonbury, like everything else, has changed enormously over the last 50 years. 

"I adore everything about it and bore most people to death talking about it. So it was nice to do that with people who, more often than not, shared my passion for all things Glastonbury. 

"The book, I hope, gives people a real look back and on-stage look at the festival not really seen before." 

* You can order your copy of View From The Stage NOW for just £6.50 (including P+P) via

And to get you started, below you can read the introduction chapter for FREE: 

Somerset County Gazette: Status Quo perform on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2009. Picture: Paul JonesStatus Quo perform on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2009. Picture: Paul Jones

“THIS is our last song, so thanks for having us.” 

I can feel the moment, almost touch it, as the electric atmosphere penetrates my body, sparking millions of butterflies to life in my stomach and the hairs on the back of my neck into action. 

A light spins, faster and faster, as the repetitive guitar line cuts into my soul. 

Then the drums enter, hitting me like an out-of-control car, fireworks exploding above my head and in my heart... 

Be it in front of a television screen, or in the fields of Worthy Farm itself, most of us will have had a Glastonbury ‘moment’. 

One, maybe two, possibly even more. But if you’ve had one, you’ll recognise what I’m trying to describe. 

It could be a particular song, or an image of the band before you seared into your memory, never to be forgotten.

Somerset County Gazette: The entrance to The Park, photographed at Glastonbury 2016. Picture: Paul JonesThe entrance to The Park, photographed at Glastonbury 2016. Picture: Paul Jones  

I’ve had several of those ‘moments’ in my life – most of them at Glastonbury. 

That moment when everything around you seems to pale into insignificance and you wish everyone you’ve ever met, ever known, ever loved, was there with you to share the feeling. 

Happiness, contentment, joy, solitude, togetherness, love, even sadness, all at the same time. 

That’s the moment. 

I can pinpoint the particular moment described above, of course, because otherwise it wouldn’t be a moment. 

It was a cold, wet, muddy Saturday night at Glastonbury 2005. June 25 to be precise, at approximately 10.30pm. 

My feet were pounding, my legs aching after two days walking around Worthy Farm in the mud. I had only secured some ill-fitting wellies that morning after a trip to B&Q in Glastonbury in the car of a friend I’d known for only 48 hours. 

I was at the 2005 Glastonbury Festival alone. My mum dropped me off after work on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 22, which happened to be the day after my 26th birthday. 

It was a difficult time in my life, looking back. I was a trainee reporter at a regional daily newspaper, slogging my guts out for very little money. I was single. I was living at home with my mum and didn’t have many friends. I was at Glastonbury alone, remember. 

Somerset County Gazette: View From The Stage is available online for just £6.50 (including UK P P).View From The Stage is available online for just £6.50 (including UK P P).

In short, I was depressed. 

And I was watching Coldplay perform on the Pyramid Stage.  

I’m not even a big Coldplay fan, but I couldn’t face walking any more, fighting for every step in that famous Worthy mud. 

But as the set progressed, I found myself really enjoying the show. Just being there, watching those around me, clearly bigger fans than I, enjoying what was a memorable performance. 

The moment described was during the bridge of Fix You. 

It’s a cliched moment, in many ways; the song is sentimental, the message an earnest, emotional one. But at that moment, that point in my life it hit me, and it hit me hard. 

I was suddenly hyper-aware of my surroundings, of the week I had enjoyed. The highs, the lows, the drinks, the food, the sights, sounds and smells. 

Really, I was having the greatest of times. 

As Chris Martin swung that isolated bulb around on stage before me, it could have been my thoughts, my emotions, swirling, confused yet most definitely, alight. 

It was a positivity that shot through me. I felt more positive than I had for a long time, possibly ever. 

And that was all thanks to Glastonbury, to a band I didn’t like that much, but who will forever have a place in my heart. 

Since then I have, of course, been devoted to the Glastonbury Festival. 

I have covered it as a reporter since 2005 and missed only two festivals since then – one for my wedding (we couldn’t afford it) and the other, five months after our first child was born (we should have taken her, but we were wary, as first-time parents).  

But ever since then, when I’ve been watching a particularly enjoyable or memorable set in those fields, I’ve thought about that night, when I felt linked to Chris Martin, to Jonny Buckland, and to every single person in the field at that moment. 

Glastonbury has changed my life in so many ways, but if I had to pin down a singular point in time, that was it. 

Yet while we are all enjoying our Glastonbury moments, those life-changing moments, are the people responsible aware of it, at all? 

Is that person singing those special words, or playing those notes that make your spine tingle, aware of the effect they are having? And do they care that it’s Glastonbury, a place so special to so many of us? 

Did Mr Martin, or Mr Buckland have any idea of the impact their performance was having on a little bloke, a ripple in the sea of heads before them?  

Unfortunately, I’ve never had the opportunity to ask Coldplay (but there is a lovely Chris Martin story in these pages). But I’ve often wondered – and it wasn’t for the want of trying.  

However, I did get to ask performers from across the decades of Glastonbury how they felt when performing on those boards.  

I asked them for their Glastonbury memories, their thoughts on the event, and about their own moments.  

And I got answers. 

But more than that, I got stories; stories which encapsulated everything that makes up a moment – and the festival itself - for us in the crowd, but from the performers themselves. 

Memories, anecdotes, tales of fun, sorrow, confusion and jubilation. 

I did not set out to tell the story of the Glastonbury Festival. That has been done, brilliantly, by others.  

Instead, I wanted the performers’ experiences to create an alternative timeline of the greatest festival in the world through a different lens – their own eyes. 

I have presented the interviews in the chronological order of festivals being discussed and people’s words are, as much as possible, published as they were spoken in order to preserve the memories and experiences as purely as they were recounted. 

I have rearranged some remarks, for continuity, as conversation often took unexpected turns, or drifted into talking across different years.  

But the words are their own.  

I’ve also added footnotes where I thought appropriate, in order to clarify a recollection or try to answer a question raised. 

And I have also added – in the footnotes and in a list – a ‘watch list’, featuring the web addresses of various videos, either to specific songs or performances mentioned, or to videos I feel represent the show discussed. I see it as a background playlist as you read, really.  

There is also a line-up at the back of the book, giving a short bio of the featured artists, which is there if you care to find out more either as you read, or afterwards. They are by no means comprehensive. 

So if you are ever lucky enough to have a Glastonbury moment, or when you recall one, remember - you are not alone. Not only could you have been standing beside me in 2005, it’s also happening on the stage before us. 

Those performers have their moments too. And they told me about them. And now I’m telling you, from my stage - these pages. I hope you enjoy it. 

This is my last song, so thanks for having me.