Glastonbury triumphs in bringing virtual adversity to the comfort of our living rooms

technical issues bring delays to livestream, those affected offered another chance to see it

published: Sun 23rd May 2021

Coldplay at Worthy Farm

Wednesday 23rd to Sunday 27th June 2021
Worthy Farm, Pilton, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 4AZ, England MAP
around £265
daily capacity: 210000
last updated: Thu 21st Jan 2021

As has been much reported earlier today, last night's Live At Worthy Farm exclusive global livestream direct from Worthy Farm the home of Glastonbury Festival, will go down in Festival history and not for the reasons the organisers would have hoped.

With Covid restrictions having lifted many had gathered together for the first time in some time before their screens to watch the show. Yes, thousands had opted instead to watch Eurovision (a classic Festival clash in real time) and instead watch the livestream today. Whilst that meant many missed the tribulations - thousands more had received their link, logged onto the site and run the test video to check their code was working.

We had gathered drinks in hand, me in traditional tie dye, and Hawaiian shirt with 'wacky' festival horned hat donned for the first time in over a year to get back virtually to the fields that we have been away from for far far too long.

With just minutes to go until the start time, we kept getting the 'Invalid Code' message. In earlier days of streaming technology this would have been frustrating. But, eFestivals forums and Twitter soon revealed we were in the same boat as many, many others. Something had gone wrong with accessing the livestream for thousands of us.

If years of Glastonbury Festival attendance has taught us all one thing, it's that adversity can be overcome with patience. The conversation moved to those years where queues at the gates had been long, or where buying tickets had been a long traumatic experience - we even tried hitting F5 just to relive the moment, and started doing bag searches. This was Glastonbury Festival reminding us good things come to those that wait, and wait we did.

We amused ourselves reading Twitter messages of people worried they were missing the live feed. Explaining it wasn't actually live, much like a live album the band don't assemble everytime you play it. For many we found the concept it had been pre-recorded was lost.

It took a while for official channels to explain the problem was extensive, and they were working to fix things. And two hours after the expected start we found a link to finally join the show, and then another to watch it from the beginning.

As the on screen timer counted down, we all forgot the delay and eagerly joined in with the final seconds of the countdown! For a while we thought the repeated messages from Greenpeace and Oxfam were a sign the feed wasn't working properly. Memories of the big screens beside the main stages came flooding back with films from those good causes aired on rotation.

But, we soon deduced our host Emily Eavis was welcoming us with different words each time before her father, farmer Eavis in his shorts welcomed us to his fields of Avalon with a poem, and heartbeats quickened as the show began.

It was worth the wait, suffice it to say with so many yet to see it, I won't ruin it for you, before the event. I can assure we enjoyed working out where the stages where, and noticing how many trees the fields have - something you notice less in 200,000 people. It is filmed beautifully. Drone footage, gave us a whole new view of the verdant farm, we never realised the stone circle wasn't round but heart shaped. The acts played in rehearsal set up giving us an intimate glimpse of how they crafted their music.

We decided to pause the night's viewing at the end of Coldplay's set, they were playing in the rain but here the clear night was full of stars. At one point a wet camera lens pointed at the twinkling frame of the iconic Pyramid stage with the grass alive with lights, and pyros and lasers filling the skies looked like there was a crowd in front of the stage. The camera angle was almost where we often stand to watch acts and in the blur it was like we were there. What a moment of connection.

The journey itself of music and poetry and being in the place we love so much was a triumph. Yes, last night some flags may have been torn, some model Pyramids kicked over - but the fact after such difficulties we got to see it kind of reminded us how special Glastonbury is.

The Eavis family, and organisers of the live stream were clearly heartbroken at what had unfolded. Today they stated they were devastated. All purchasers from last night were given access to both Sunday's streams, furthermore all effected customers are given a viewing link to watch the show, and gather family and friends to watch it between now and Sunday 30th May.

They are also offering refunds, but as it's a fundraiser for one of the greatest shows on Earth, who would seriously want their money back after so many chances to re-see it?

After two years of no event and millions of pounds lost - the show itself is certainly worth the money.

Perhaps it's my old alternative mentality but how good of them was it to offer the stream free for some that couldn't afford to pay? For a moment it was like when the old fence used to come down - and it felt like a bit of a free festival vibe again.

Last night will go down in history with the delayed start, the light hearted humour of those of us who know the Glastonbury wait so well, and even for a while became the old spirit of a free festival.

Yes, there will be detractors. But, believe us after years where we wade through mud and sideways rain, where sleep is impossible, and you set yourself against the cold and damp, to have 2 hours of inconvenience is nothing. Glastonbury triumphed in bringing virtual adversity, in the comfort of our living rooms, and we'll all look back and laugh about it.

We just can't wait to get back there next year, this made the belief we'll get there again despite the fact we still don't have tickets yet a little easier. It reminded us that we've all had to wait patiently for our chance to dance in those fields and listen to a fantastic range of music once again.

The recording quality and performances were very special. The production and sound were top quality, good to discover those who make it so magical are still deftly able to bring such great sound to the viewers.

Beautifully filmed and I'd like to thank all those behind the scenes who made it so unique and special. Plus all the acts who didn't show a hint of being rusty after so long of not playing live. At last after year we have some memorable live music moments to treasure - thank you..

The lasting impression was how green it all was and how different without the masses. It made the Worthy Pastures all the more tempting - where the Eavis' are offering the fields for a family-friendly rural getaway in nature in a range of pre-erected tents.

Enticing, and your stay is likely to go without incident, but if you are going to be experiencing back to basics wellbeing, with it being at Worthy Farm, I won't be guaranteeing you may not have an obstacle or two where you may have to remember the virtues of patience.


UPDATE: Driift Live has issued the following statement:

Dear Live At Worthy Farm ticket purchasers, We are standing here today with the heaviest of hearts. Although many thousands of you were able to stream the event as planned last night, we are mortified that technical issues meant that many others were effectively locked out for up to two hours and unable to use your access codes.
This was unacceptable. Driift is not a tech business or a media platform, and we rely on a third party company for certain aspects of broadcasting the stream. This provider has now identified the cause of last night's problems, and, although we are awaiting a full technical report, there were no subsequent issues for ticket buyers accessing later streams for North America or Australia. We are assured that there will be no problems with today's two "encore" streams which will continue as planned at 2pm BST and 7pm BST.
Those ticket purchasers adversely impacted last night have already been emailed with instructions of how to access these streams - or how to process a refund. Meanwhile, those who purchased tickets for the "encore" streams specifically should proceed and log-in as normal. Driift was established as a producer and promoter of livestream events at the height of last year's lockdown, with the goal of getting artists, crews and venues back to work and do inspiring things with an exciting new format. For last night's failings, we would like to apologise to Glastonbury Festival, to all the amazing artists who gave their time to perform, and to all the backstage crew and partners who worked so hard with us over many months to make this historic show a reality.
Most importantly, we apologise unreservedly to all of you who had your plans upset. We would also like to make clear that Driift is making no financial gain from this livestream event, and we hoped it would generate much needed revenue for the Festival and its charity partners.
In that spirit, we sincerely hope that those who encountered problems will take the opportunity to watch and enjoy the event today, and that many more will buy tickets to support the Festival and its three associated charities.
We still believe that this is a very special film, and it is beyond frustrating that so many of you could not enjoy it as we intended.


Wednesday 23rd to Sunday 27th June 2021
Worthy Farm, Pilton, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 4AZ, England MAP
around £265
daily capacity: 210000
last updated: Thu 21st Jan 2021

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