Glastonbury – Another Stage

Most people expect the summer with eager anticipation. The weather gets progressively better; the days grow bigger and the summer holidays are fast approaching. But the advent of summer brings something more than hot weather. It brings music festivals, those summer happenings where people cram together under the hot sun (or under rain if you end up in North countries), free from stress, preoccupations – and sometimes clothes – to hear their favourite music. Among the festivals around Europe, one has captured the interest for 40 years now for its “love, sun and mud” atmosphere: Glastonbury festival.

Incidentally, the motto “Love, sun and mud” was also chosen by Mulberry to celebrate their love for the event and to promote Venetia Dearden’s photobook “Glastonbury – Another Stage”. Her book attempts to give us a better picture of the festival goers, who flock the Worthy farm in South West England every year to listen to music. Interestingly, Venetia did not choose to focus on mud-filled pages on festival lifetime, but instead, strips her subjects from the natural surroundings and presents them in plain white background. In fact, the only hint about Glastonbury is the wellies that most subjects are wearing and traces of mud on the white floor. But it is to their personalities that Venetia wanted to focus, not their silly behaviour when camping in a mud-filled farm.

In the 322 pages of the book, we spot the familiar faces of Glasto celebrities – Lilly Allen, Amy Winehouse and Dame Shirley Bassey in Swarowski-decorated green wellies – along with common people: a couple expecting a child, a couple dressed as cows, lots of young children, a businessman with a tuxedo and a briefcase, two men dressed in Spiderman-like tights, a 30-year old man with tribal tattoos, three middle-aged housewives sporting floral dresses and leather purses, two Elvis impersonators and a complete family – to name but a few.

In her 6-year project, Venetia wishes to remind us that the biggest open-air music and performing arts festival does not appeal to a specific type of people. You can come as you are or as you wish to be perceived. As long as you have a love for music and open-air events, as long as you can spare some time from work, strip off from your businesslike attitude and relax, you can join the crowd. The book only begs the question: do all those people look and behave like that in their daily lives or are they just dress for the occasion?


P.S. Venetia Dearden’s book “Glastonbury – Another stage” is published by Kehrer. The publication was sponsored by Mulberry and Mulberry included some of Venetia’s pictures in their Bond Street store during the summer. Mulberry was selling the book in a custom made “Love, sun and mud” tote bag.

[all images © LambdaPhage]


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