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June 20-23rd 1979.

Peter Gabriel, Steve Hillage, Mother Gong, Tim Blake, John Martyn , Tom Robinson, UK Subs, Sphynx ,Sky,Footsbarn Theatre ,Nona Hendryx , Alex Harvey, Leighton Buzzards,The Pop Group/The Slits and The Only Ones.

Festival Welfare Services Report.

Photo © Michael Cashman

Glastonbury Fayre, June 21 - 23, 1979 .

    Approximately 12,000 people attended the festival over three days. The 150 acre grassy site was on the slopes of a valley with a view of Glastonbury Tor. The weather was mainly fine over the festival, but a storm and strong winds got up over Saturday night. The strong winds on Sunday were an encouragement for many campers to leave the festival. The audience attracted by the festival seemed to be mainly older and experienced festival-goers.


Toilet Facilities

   Roundabout toilets were supplied in adequate numbers and well distributed around the site. There were no queues to use them. The toilet tanks were emptied once, after becoming smelly during the hot weather. The toilets were cleaned and had soft toilet paper replaced re B regularly by Civil Aid. There were some complaints that the toilet seats in the 'roundabouts' were too high,especially for children and pregnant women.


    Water was supplied near the toilet units, in large barrels. There was also a tap near the farmhouse. The water and toilets were easily findable. All water points had washing-up bowls and soap provided at them for washing.

Food & Drink

    There was an excellent range of foods and drink available, both prepared and for own catering. It was mainly vegetarian wholefood at very reasonable prices. There were no free food kitchens, but free meal tickets were available for volunteers who worked on site. There was a slight concern that the food being sold from one van might have been contaminated as two cases of diarrhoea and vomiting were traced to the same van; but there were no other outbreaks.

Refuse Disposal

    There were large oil drums scattered around the site which were regularly emptied. The site was kept very clean of litter. Rubbish from the containers was burnt in a large pit on the site.


    Noise levels from the large stage were low at the edge of the site. There were some complaints that the sound was too loud at the mixing tower. Near the front of the stage the sound level was thought to be excellent, as the banks of speakers were set up well to the sides of the stage.

Photo © Michael Cashman

Welfare facilities

   A medical service was provided by local doctors and nurses, in conjunction with the Red Cross. The medical service operated from a large marquee in the welfare area, and a doctor's surgery was in operation from early morning until 2 a.m. The Red Cross and Release doctors were on call during the night. Red Cross personnel patrolled the arena and campsites during the day and the evening. The medical service tended a steady stream of minor ailments, but there were no serious casualties.

Photo © Michael Cashman

   Release operated a legal advice and drug counselling service. The Samaritans ran an emotional counselling service in the Welfare area. Neither group saw people with serious drug or emotional problems. Also in the welfare arena was a range of alternative medical services provided by healers, masseurs, homeopathists and accupuncturists, for those people who preferred to be treated by these means. Co-operation between groups providing medical services was good. Civil Aid units provided a range of services. They set up and operated a field telephone communications system, ran cheap mass catering facilities, and cleaned the toilets on site. The toilet cleaning service was very necessary as the 'roundabout' style of toilets tend to get very messy.

Source provided a team to supervise the three very large crash marquees. The marquees were used during the day for theatre groups, lectures, and the child-minding service, and at night they were used as 'crash' tents by people who hadn't brought their own sleeping shelter. The tents were not crowded at night, as the majority of people attending the festival had come well-prepared for camping, and there was little theft (if any) of camping equipment on the site.


1. Information Point
The information point was very efficiently run. It provided a wide range of information, including times of events and lectures, bus and rail timetables, lift services, lost people information, facilities on site, and acted as a centre for volunteers wanting to help with the festival. The information point was open continuously for the duration of the festival.

2. Children's Arena
The Children's area was extremely well-planned. All sorts of different amusements were provided for children of all ages including donkey rides, Punch and Judy' bouncing inflatables,climbing structures and sandpits, wendy houses and a paddling pool. A children's theatre and child minding facilities, provided by experienced volunteers, operated from a large marquee.
3. Firewood
The festival organisers provided copious supplies of chopped firewood, although at times this supply ran short.
4. Sign Posts The site facilities were very clearly indicated by sign posts.
5. Generator baffling
There were a large number of generators operating around the festival site, for the various stages and other structures. The generators were very efficiently sound baffled by bales of straw built around them.

Photo © Paul Seaton

6. Telephone

There was only one coin box telephone available near the farmhouse. This had long queues on it most of the time. It was felt that more pay telephones would have been well used if available.


The festival seemed to have been extremely well-run and efficiently organised. The site facilities were excellent, and hardly any complaints (except about the toilets) were heard. Prices, both admission to the festival, and those charged for goods on sale at the site, were reasonable and the selection of entertainments was very wide, especially for children. It seemed that the festival was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. It was felt that a lot of care had been taken to ensure that the festival-goers had all the facilities that they needed.
Penny Mellor
June, 1979.

Glastonbury Fayre pages .

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