TV preview: The legend that is Glasto continues

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It’s the same most years: a frisson of excitement in workplaces and colleges around the UK and Europe; music lovers flex their mouse fingers and the RSI-inducing quest for Glasto tickets begins.

Given the line-up this year’s Glastonbury, there’s little wonder the race for 2014 tickets was more desperate than ever.

The opening day alone features Arcade Fire, Elbow, and Lily Allen on the iconic Pyramid Stage, while Blondie, Kaiser Chiefs and rising stars Blackbeard’s Tea Party can also be seen and heard around the site.

The latter, a refreshing York-based band of musical buccaneers, went down a storm during their recent northern gigs, and should do the same on Friday afternoon.

Imagine the perfect soundtrack to a Pirates of the Caribbean movie and you get the idea behind their foot-tapping shanties.

“We’ve never been to Glasto as a band, and none of us have ever been as punters either,” explains singer Stuart Giddens. “We’re part of the generation that grew up with coverage of Glastonbury on the TV every summer. Just being able to get a ticket always seemed unachievable, so to say that our first trip to Worthy Farm will be to play on one of the main stages is very exciting.”

As for the rest of the weekend, the line-up is an embarrassment of riches, with Metallica, Robert Plant, Lana Del Rey and countless others ready to take the South of England by storm. Basically if they’re a music legend or a white-hot new talent, chances are they’re playing Glasto this week.

And naturally the BBC has turned out in force to make sure every element of the action is covered.

There will be a whopping 250 hours of radio, TV, red button and online streaming, with coverage from the six key music stages.

Of course it’s all a far cry from the first event in 1970.

Farmer Michael Eavis (inspired by the Blues festival at the Bath & West Showground), began a festival of his own, albeit on a smaller scale.

Admission was a pound; milk was free from Eavis’s farm, and while punters were coming to terms with the recent death of Jimi Hendrix, Marc Bolan (substituting for the Kinks), Keith Christmas, Stackridge, Al Stewart and Quintessence wowed the 1,500 strong crowd.

A British institution was born.

Fast forward to 2013, and the festival was bigger and better than ever, with tickets obviously costing a lot more, and still selling out in record time. Little wonder with legends like The Rolling Stones on the bill. They brought the proverbial house down with their long-awaited Glasto gig.

“Thank you for making it a truly vintage year for Glastonbury. It really was one of the best,” wrote Michael and Emily Eavis on their website after the dust settled at Worthy Farm.

We get the feeling they’ll be echoing those words the day after the likes of Massive Attack, Dolly Parton, Suzanne Vega and company have returned to their everyday lives.

Glastonbury 2014, BBC2, Friday, 10pm

Ambulance on BBC One.

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