Music icon

How Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage Became a Global Music Icon

Scaffolding erected in a Somerset farm field in 1971 gave rise to the world’s most famous festival platform

Nothing defines Glastonbury like the Pyramid Stage.

It’s the only performance platform in the world nearly as famous as the dozens of global music stars who have sung, danced, bared their souls and made history over the past five decades.

An instantly recognizable symbol representing Glastonbury’s unique magic and endless possibilities for millions of music lovers and music makers, it was an ambitious structure from the start.

READ MORE: The time the Foo Fighters played a secret gig in a small Somerset town

The original Pyramid Stage made its debut at Worthy Farm in June 1971. Constructed from scaffolding, expanded metal and plastic sheeting, the concept came to its designer Bill Harkin in a dream, after he was taken to meditate at nearby Glastonbury Tor, a place steeped in myth, legend and spirituality.

He would later write that in his vision of a stage, an audience, and a hill, “there were two beams of light forming a pyramid in the sky”. The next day, on the strength of his training as an architect and scenographer, he made the pyramid of his dream out of cardboard.

Bill, who died earlier this year, took the model to Worthy Farm in Pilton where Andrew Kerr, whom he had met on the Tor, was hosting that year’s Glastonbury Fayre, as the festival was originally called.

Andrew dowsed the land to find the perfect spot to build the stage which mimicked the great ancient Egyptian monuments – on a ley line between Glastonbury and Stonehenge. The materials cost £1,100 and hordes of people helped put it up in time for the festival, held during the summer solstice.