From Woodstock to Glastonbury to the Isle of Wight: the role of festival films in the construction of the countercultural carnivalesque

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter examines the narrative construction of two British music festival films – Message to Love: the Isle of Wight Festival (1995) and Glastonbury Fayre (1972) – that have, perhaps surprisingly, received little prior attention within academia. These films portray the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival and the 1971 Glastonbury Fayre – events which were regarded at the time as British versions of the US Woodstock Festival. Glastonbury Fayre was released within a year of the event taking place, while legal disagreements regarding copyright meant that Message to Love was not edited and released until the 1990s. These films demonstrate narratives and techniques familiar from Woodstock – Three Days of Peace and Music (1970), and have helped to construct and reinforce what I have referred to as the ‘countercultural carnivalesque’ – a way of thinking about festival culture that is informed by a particular understanding of the youth counterculture of the late-1960s, and the role of music festivals as modern-day manifestations of the medieval carnival behaviors and ideas described by Mikhail Bakhtin. I critically examine the narratives and framing devices used in the films to demonstrate how and why representations of the countercultural carnivalesque differ between them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWoodstock University
EditorsOliver Lovesey
PublisherRoutledge
ISBN (Print)9781032335247
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2022

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