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Glastonbury


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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful documentary about "THE" festival July 29 2007
By Richard A. Hare - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
The story of how a counter-culture free festival became a British institution - for American viewers, try to imagine what would happen if Burning Man became as big as the Superbowl - in recent years, the festival has been attended by over 300,000 people, and is broadcast on British TV throughout the weedend.

Many festivals have come and gone as musical tastes have changed and eras have passed - 60s peace, love and happiness, 70s punk nihilism, etc. Against this Glastonbury has perservered for over 20 years, and this documentary does a great job of explaining why.

Glastonbury is the British equivalent of Burning Man, but with commercial music acts thrown into the mix - it shuns commerciality, raises money for good causes, and brings together a diverse mixture of contemporary arts.

The documentary itself is a fantastic mix of live performances, archive footage and interviews. It sketches out the timeline of the festival, which in itself is a reflection of the changes in British society over the last 30 years - social decay in the 70s, the rejection of thatcherism in the 80s, and so on.

The interviews are dominated by Michael Eavis, the festival founder (it takes place on his dairy farm) - an extemely interesting man. This documentary is partly the telling of his own life story - how a Methodist farmer in rural England with an interest in music became a festival promoter, and along the way the became a friend to hippies, new-age travellers, the dance scene, the campaign against nuclear weapons, the green movement, left-wing politics, etc. The film captures his concern for the instituion and its values. This is illustrated by what happened after the festival was gate crashed by over 100,000 people (with over 100,000 paying punters already inside the fence). He realized that something would have to done just to get permits to continue, but most importantly to avoid fatalaties. He invited in a professional security firm, and installed a prison stlye fence around the venue. This secured the future of the festival, but you can tell he was deeply conflicted by the decision.

The performances are wonderful selection of what makes Glastonbury so special - the same festival can attract Coldplay, Radiohead and The Levellers, Bjork, David Bowie, Bily Bragg, etc. It also shows a good variety of the performance art that is so important to the overall mix.

However, I think the most important performance captured on the DVD is that of Joe Strummer. While playing "Staight To Hell", Joe voices his displeasure at the increase in secutiry and CCTV, both at the event and in British scoiety in general. He starts attacking the cameras with his mike stand. Very powerful - a reminder of why he will be rembered as one of the few rock stars to never sell-out. In a way, that performance summarizes this DVD. When the anarchists want to get together rage against the machine, someone has to organize the meeting and make the sandwiches.

For me, this film is up there with Lords of Dogtown, Step Into Liquid, Touching the Void, etc.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
repetitious but entertaining documentary Aug. 9 2007
By Roland E. Zwick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
With well over a hundred thousand attendees per year, The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts is a famed counterculture musical event held in the English countryside not far from where the mystical Neolithic monument, Stonehenge, is located. Comparisons to Woodstock are clearly inevitable, but whereas Woodstock was basically a one-time thing, The Glastonbury Festival has been an annual event dating all the way back to 1970. Some of the styles and attitudes may have changed over the years, but the spirit of free love, political consciousness-raising, New Age mysticism and sheer unadulterated rebellion for which the festival is famous still remains.

Julien Temple, the director of the documentary entitled simply, "Glastonbury," brings an almost patchwork quality to her film, indiscriminately splicing together grainy footage from the earlier festivals with far clearer images from the much more recent past. She doesn't identify which year any particular sequence is from, so one minute we'll be watching hippies and flower-children "doin' their thing" in the meadows and the mud, followed the next by spike-haired punk-rockers head-banging their way into mind-altered oblivion.

The glue holding this excessively long, frequently repetitious and somewhat unwieldy film together is Michael Eavis, the idealistic yet deeply pragmatic festival organizer whose running commentary illuminates the history behind Glastonbury that he himself lived through and indeed helped to create. He discusses the changes he's seen in the participants over the years, acknowledges some of the more crassly commercial aspects of the event, and recounts a few of the less savory moments that have come close to spelling the end for the festival itself. The latter include the occasional run-ins he and his fellow celebrants have had with both the law and some of the more disgruntled residents of the town nearby.

But, clearly, the main reason for checking out "Glastonbury" is for the music, and, indeed, the festival has played host to a surprisingly eclectic mixture of musical performers and styles in the four decades since it first came into existence. Heavy metal, reggae, acid rock, electro, blues - all these genres and then some have found a home at Glastonbury. Some of the more well-known performers in the movie include Bjork, David Bowie, Coldplay, The Velvet Underground, Radiohead and Tangerine Dream. It's a pity that we are treated to little more than snippets of each of their acts, but even in small doses they create quite a tasty little smorgasbord for diehard music lovers to sample.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A pleasure from Glastonbury of England Feb. 5 2010
By Michael Kerjman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
It is simply a pleasure to feel a sun on a naked bum stretching on a green grass, surrounded by gals, pals and their kids among, sharing the same enjoyment while awaiting a next performance of rock stars on a world famous scene of the Glastonbury Festival.

It is really a very liveable, lovable and loudly-musical doco-movie not to miss.
Better than expected. July 13 2014
By dvd-addict91 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I knew this wasn't just a concert film. I knew there would be a lot to learn. And I did in fact learn quite a lot. I loved seeing Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and The White Stripes.
Not for me. May 15 2014
By William. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was hoping for pure concert, but there was too much 'behind the scenes' for my taste. I use it for music as well as watching and the non music parts do not cut it.

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