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June 19-21st 1987

Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, The Communards, New Order, Robert Cray Band, Richard Thompson Band, Ben E King, Taj Mahal, Los Lobos ,Courtney Pine , Husker Du , Paul Brady, The Men They Couldn't Hang, The Woodentops, The Mighty Lemondrops, Michelle Shocked, Misty In Roots, World Party, Rodney Allen, Trouble Funk, Julian Cope , Weather Prophets, Felt .

Stage 2: El Sonida De Londres, Billy Bragg, Chorcazade, Gaye Bykers On Acid , Jazz Defektors,Brilliant Corners, The Blue Aeroplanes, Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians, Andy Shepherd Quartet, Stump, Tommy Chase Quartet, The Oyster Band, The Chesterfields.

Mutoids carhenge at Glastonbury Festival 1987 © Janet Thompson

Poisoned Electric Head on impromptu Glasto stage © Dave Kotula

visit his flickr site to see many more great Glastonbury pix


    It is well worth remembering that almost every rock festival held in the UK has been objected to by either Tory MP's or local councils, or more usually- both . Glastonbury was no exception , the area was a conservative one in the main and Mendip Local Council were in the main against a festival and they spent a goodly portion of the 1980s trying to stop Glastonbury from going ahead. In 1987, they initially refused to grant Michael Eavis a licence, but this decision was overturned in court in May. It was a relief, but it was an omen - in some ways 1987 proved to be a bad year for the festival, which ended in some acrimony and resulted in the long standing policy of tolerance towards the travellers who made up the convoy being sorely tested.

   Attendance was in the region of 60,000. It was always difficult to estimate just how many people were actually at the festival, as a percentage of the audience were gatecrashers, usually finding their way in through the fence.The council used this as further ammunition against Eavis. In 1986 they tried to work out how many were in the area by paying for a spotter plane to survey the site, fortunately the estimated numbers were well below the 80,000 the council claimed were actually present .

1987 ticket prices were raised from £17 to £21 which was still reasonable for a three day event and given that proceeds went to charities such as CND . £130,000 was raised in 1987, a goodly sum by anyone's measure.

     Following the demise of Stonehenge free festival in 1984, the increasing numbers of travellers seem to have caused some problems in 1987 and must have contributed to the local councils angst. Convoy paranoia by local communities and authorities had increased exponentially since the " Peace Convoy's" inception in 1981 at Stonehenge. Since the horrid Battle of The Beanfield in 1985, when the police trashed a large number of busses and vans belonging to a convoy, many travellers had either become radicalised or had left the movement. Unfortunately a number of their successors were "Brew Crewers" . Mostly single males who had fled the squats of the inner cities and taken to the traveller life , not for any ideological reasons (although undoubtedly some new people DID have these ) , but because it was a cheap way to live.

    Britain was a land that had been polarized in the 80s , unemployment and social disruption was rife, the country was every clearly split into camps of " haves' and 'have not's' . The conservative government were not interested in the social reasons why so many chose to take to the road , they saw these people as a threat and with the help of a gutter press all too happy to demonise the convoy ( and an minority element of people who did not care what consequences their stupid actions would bring upon their fellow travellers ) they had spent huge sums in marginalising the movement through repressive legislation and constant police and council harassment of convoy groups .

   The conditions were ripe for confrontation and it was sad that Glastonbury- a festival which had always accommodated travellers at least, if not actively welcomed their presence on all occasions , should be the location of that confrontation - which was fairly ugly to judge by the rather generalised reports we have seen.

View of the stage Glasto 87 © Dave Kotula

    Michael Eavis has always tried to be as even handed as possible in his dealings with travellers , he has been very helpful over the years, in the free Glastonbury festival of 1978 he used his tractor to extricate vehicles from the mud and he provided free park ups for the convoy up until the ugly confrontations that marred the 1990 festival.

      He is on the record as stating " I've worked with the Convoy and with travellers over the years, negotiated with them one-to-one, accommodated them when I could or when I've had to. My approach is a bit different to English Heritage's, isn't it?"

In fact Eavis was more or less forced by circumstances NOT to allow travellers to be part of his festival and he had to stage a " fake " eviction ' of a number of busses and vans in order to obtain insurance cover .

We do feel that we are not in the position to stage a free festival here, which is what we did in 1986, we had several thousand people here that didn’t pay to come in , because otherwise they would have gone to Stonehenge . When it became known that the convoy were coming here it became an insurance problem. News at Ten were causing the problem , saying like it was the end of the world , medieval brigands ,etc. I was saying, well we’ve had people like this for years , but this insurance bloke got on the phone the next morning and said , 'well the insurance is off, if your having people like that there', so we had to stage a convoy leaving exercise for the TV . They drove off RIGHT ON CUE ,we got the TV cameras down , BBC, ITN and filmed these people leaving. I was being a very reasonable bloke waving these people off , so we sorted out the insurance and in fact the festival itself worked quite well , in spite of all the suggestions about problems it did work quite well.

More festival toilets , necessary but not nice © Dave Kotula

   There was still some trouble onsite in 1987 but how bad it was is open to interpretation . According to some reports , in 87 a convoy of up to 450 vehicles were present . As it was not possible to allow them into the site itself the usual field outside the festival was provided for them to lay up in. What happened next is debatable . Some travellers tell that trouble was caused by urban drug gangs muscling in on traveler turf and selling hard drugs as opposed to the more traditional fare of hallucinogens such as mushrooms, LSD and cannabis.Others say that travellers ended up looting stalls and hassling staff. The truth of the matter is probably a mix of both scenarios. By this date , and by the admission of travellers themselves, there was a minority element who used violence and intimidation to get their own way, thus stuffing things up for the majority. It is true that Michael Eavis lost some of his original crew due to the tensions of 1987 and the fact that he took a year off in 1988 indicates that he needed a rethink as to how to deal with the difficulties caused by the increasing popularity of the festival .


    But we must remember that , with an attendance of 60,000 people , there is always going to be some trouble. Compared to the average soccer match, rock festivals are pretty peaceful places to be in . For most who attended the festival, things went on very much as they had before, Glastonbury was in general a pretty peaceful festival and as long as one stayed away from the suspect areas , things were cool.

    Michael Eavis wasn't content to rest on his laurels and get into a groove where things did not change , on the contrary - 1987 was the year that the Womad Stage was opened to cater for the increasing bands of world music fans. The festival was diversifying and becoming far more than the stock " Rock festival "stereotype, it was transcending that level and morphing into a unique multi musical and multi lifestyle experiment . It would never be a Stonehenge Free Festival , after all it was a commercial event, but it was probably the nearest thing that a paying festival was going to get to the Henge. Despite the problems on the periphery, despite the criticisms by some that it was too commercial , it was a social experiment on a large scale that was successful most of the time, for most people.

Refreshments on a hot afternoon © Dave Kotula

    To gain some idea of the problems that were developing in the late 80s read the efestivals forum you'll get views from all perspectives, including first hand accounts .

Mutoids scrap mayhem © Janet Thompson


Friday 19th June 1987.

Saturday 20th June 1987

Sunday 21st June 1987


Lots of recordings around of 1987, the Beeb and audience tapers were there , let us know of any we have missed and we will add them toute suite !

Billy Bragg

Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset.

Length: 45 SBD

  1. The Warmest Room
  2. Man In The Iron Mask
  3. Greetings To The New Brunette
  4. Green Fields Of France (With The Men They Couldn't Hang)
  5. Valentine's Day Is Over
  6. World Turned Upside Down
  7. Think Again
  8. Help Save The Youth Of America
  9. Levi Stub's Tears
  10. To Have And To Have Not
  11. Between The Wars
  12. My Girl (Partial

Billy Bragg

6-19-87 Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset.

61 minutes B audience ( covers set)

  1. I Heard It Through The Grapevine
  2. Love Has No Pride
  3. A Hank Williams song
  4. What Made Milwaukee Famous
  5. Honey, I'm A Big Boy Now
  6. That's All It Took
  7. Wishing The Days Away
  8. The Croppy Boy
  9. Ever Fallen In Love
  10. Tracks Of My Tears
  11. Bring It On Home
  12. Ain't Too Proud To Beg
  13. Wild Horses
  14. My Girl / Just My Imagination
  15. Dark End Of The Street
  16. A13
  17. Think Again

Elvis Costello and The Attractions

6-20-87 Glastonbury Festival, England Aud A- solo & w/ attractions; David Hildago plays accordion


Julian Cope
Glastonbury CND Festival
Saturday, 6-19-87

  1. The Culture Bunker 04:51
  2. Trampolene 03:22
  3. Pulsar 02:42
  4. Eve's Volcano 03:39
  5. Strasbourg 03:11
  6. Saint Julian 02:43
  7. Non Alignment Pact 02:42
  8. Bouncing Babies 02:08
  9. Planet Ride 05:11
  10. Books 02:44
  11. Shot Down 03:49
  12. Spacehopper 02:43
  13. Zabriskie Point 04:02
  14. World Shut Your Mouth 04:05
  15. Reynard The Fox 10:21

Los Lobos

6-22-87 Glastonbury Festival, Glastonbury England BBC

  1. Evangeline
  2. Why Do You Do?
  3. Tears of God
  4. Will the Wolf Survive?
  5. Is This All There Is This?
  6. Anselma
  7. I Got to Let You Know
  8. My Baby's Gone
  9. All I Wanted to Do Was Dance
  10. Let's Say Goodnight
  11. Serenata Norteña
  12. I Got Loaded
  13. Shakin' Shakin' Shakes
  14. Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)
  15. Don't Worry Baby
  16. La Bamba


Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians
6-19-87 Glastonbury Festival Glastonbury, England UK

  1. Point it at Gran
  2. Egyptian Cream
  3. Acid Bird
  4. Airscape
  5. Insanely Jealous
  6. Raymond Chandler Evening
  7. A Bad Case of History
  8. Kingdom of Love
  9. I'm Only You
  10. Queen of Eyes
  11. Brenda's Iron Sledge
  12. Sleeping with Your Devil Mask



New Order

Glastonbury Festival, 6-19-87 SBD

  1. Elegia
  2. Touched By The Hand Of God
  3. Temptation
  4. True Faith
  5. Your Silent Face
  6. Every Little Counts
  7. Ceremony
  8. Bizarre Love Triangle
  9. Subculture
  10. Sunrise
  11. Perfect Kiss
  12. Age Of Consent
  13. Sister Ray


poor quality audience video exists of at least part of the set


Bootleg Hand of God - limited edition of 500 copies


Taj Mahal

  1. Introduction
  2. Deed I Do
  3. Staggerlee
  4. Paradise
  5. Everybody is Somebody
  6. ?

    BBC transcription disc produced for Radio 1's "In Concert" show.

Michelle Shocked

6-21-87 BBC

  1. Introduction
  2. When I Grow Up
  3. If Love Was a Train
  4. The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore *
  5. Black, Brown And White **
  6. Fogtown
  7. Anchorage
  8. 5am In Amsterdam
  9. Strawberry Jam


Van Morrison

6-21-87 Glastonbury Festival, Somerset, England SBD

  1. Northern Muse (Solid Ground) (3:14)
  2. Vanlose Stairway (4:34)
  3. It's All In The Game (6:47)
  4. Foreign Window (4:25)
  5. Dweller On The Threshold (3:42)
  6. Cleaning Windows (3:52)
  7. Sense Of Wonder (5:00)
  8. And The Healing Has Begun (7:38)
  9. Beautiful Vision (sic - actually Celtic Ray) (2:42)
  10. In The Garden (4:59)
  11. Summertime In England (9:21)
  12. Bright Track of the Road (sic - actually Full Force Gale / Bright
  13. Side Of The Road) (5:31)
  14. Rave On John Donne / Rave On Part Two / Did Ye Get Healed? (9:30)
    Total time: (71:17)


Richard Thompson Band
Glastonbury Festival Main Stage, 6 pm
6-20- 87

  1. Man In Need
  2. Valerie
  3. When The Spell Is Broken
  4. Bone Through Her Nose
  5. Jennie
  6. You Don't Say
  7. Drowned Dog Black Night
  8. Fire In The Engine Room
  9. Ten seconds telling crowd Clive Gregson & Christine Collister will play the acoustic tent the next day
  10. Today, I Started Loving You Again
  11. Reels
  12. Flying Saucer Rock and Roll
  13. Tear Stained Letter
  • Richard Thompson Band, Main Stage, 6 pm, 6-20-87
  • Richard Thompson solo, Acoustic Stage, 8 pm, 6-20-87 both good quality audience recordings.

    His acoustic set was indeed on at the same time as Los Lobos, however imagine my disappointment at finding out that I passed up the chance to see 'Every punx mother' in order to see the band set...

And, just for the record, the other festival highlight was a storming set from Elvis Costello. Solo acoustic with an encore of a second set with the Attractions.


Unscheduled performances.

The RoseHips 6-21-87 - Glastonbury Festival Cinema Tent, with The Groove Farm

The View From The Mud.

     Of course , one of the best ways to relive a festival is by reading personal accounts of attendees memories , the problem is , so many people were spaced out at Glasto that most of them can't remember what the hell they did, however young master 'Bishbosh' has done his best to recollect his movements at the 1987 bash and has sent them in for us to view....

Glastonbury 1987
   I paid £21 for a ticket and ended up sneaking in so as not to get separated from my mate who was bunking in. I remember a mad train journey from London..again trippin with a mate (Paul D. who I went to school with)..smoking & drinking on the train (the Guard did not even try to check tickets! ).

Camped up in the Kings Field above the Greenfield.

Met Jon (Pauls brother) and we spent most time around the Greenfield, Kings Field and travellers field.

All very vague.

The Mutoid Waste Company had constructed various bizarre structures and apparent melted bus, a flat bed truck disguised as an metal dinosaur –style beast crawled around …people on the back beating out a bizarre tribal rhythms with anything that could be hit.

Mutoid Waste Company construction © Dave Kotula

Glastonbury 1987 © Dave Kotula

   Eventually after buying a couple of 'dud' acids…we (Paul, Jon and Myself) got some excellent acid apparently from Berlin…very colourful..we ended up in a large Marquee…. 'watching' a feminist type band..not really sure, but I remember them singing.. ‘we are the women of the world’ or something…we completely cracked up laughin…it was so bizarre. In retrospect I am sure the girls playing were very sincere but the acid was very good!

Rest of the weekend is now rather vague.


We wonder why?

Oops , there go the brain cells ....


I was there for New Order followed immediately by 2 hours of Elvis Costello, playing solo. He finished off his set by debuting 'Tramp the Dirt Down' reducing all the people around me to tears and then (if that wasnt enough for an emotionally exhausted throng) counted out 'one two three four' and up went the curtain behind him to reveal The Attractions, followed by another hour and a half with them. Memorable isnt the word.


Mud- probably in the travellers field at Glastonbury Festival 1987 © Janet Thompson

A veritable plethora of mud © Janet Thompson

© Janet Thompson


courtesy Ben Lovegrove



External links

Visit Daves excellent site of Traveller busses to view busses and vans at many free and commercial festivals including Glastonbury

Visit Dave Kotula's flickr site to see many more great Glastonbury pix

Tashs Glastonbury pix great photo archive of many festivals including Glastonbury .This is one of the best sites for unique festival photos of the 80s and 90s .

The Archive is as usual interested in this topic as regards to it being an aspect of social history of the counterculture , traveller and rock festival scene of the 60s to the late 80s and does not condone or encourage the consumption of any substances ,illegal or legal which may lead to mental or physical incapacitation by those who consume them .

Glastonbury Festival pages .

Glastonbury Fayre pages 1970-79

Any info to add ?-well don't just sit there , Contact us

Free rock festivals of the 70s and 80s

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