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Crowd dancing in front of the West Holts stage, which is lit by yellow lights

West Holts

Along with the Pyramid Stage and The Other Stage, West Holts is one of the 3 large outdoor arenas. Formerly known as “Jazz World”, this stage was renamed West Holts in 2010, and was the first area to feature dozens of the giant colourful flags.

West Holts showcases an outer-national selection of future roots music. From afro grooves to hip hop, reggae to techno, this is the stage for people who know that bass is the place.

It’s hard to think of Glastonbury Festival with just one stage, but until 1983 it was just the mighty Pyramid. Recognising the need to cater for a growing audience, Michael Eavis invited the organisers of Bristol’s legendary Ashton Court Free Festival to produce a second stage at Glastonbury. So at 12 noon on Thursday 22nd June 1984, a collective called Musicians Against Nuclear Arms strolled onto a little stage to help kick-start the festival. Over the decades the Marquee Stage evolved into the Second Stage, the World Stage, One World and the Jazz World, before becoming today’s West Holts.

The West Holts’ Area Co-ordinator is Derek Dodd. He first worked as a car park attendant for the Shepton Mallet Lions at the Festival in 1981, then sold programmes for a couple of years before working at the original 1984 Marquee Stage. His son Simon now works in the West Holts transport team. Derek remembers the early times: “The first line-up was mostly Bristol bands with names like Rita Bix, Rent a Party, The Lozenges Soul Revue, Parole Bros and Kim & the Karpettes. The next year was a step change; we had a little outdoor stage and when Doctor and the Medics drew our first big crowd at the time of Spirit in the Sky, I think we all went into shock!”

West Holts has been the field’s name since back in the day – when the trains had to stop to let the cows cross to go to get milked – and the stage’s name since 2010. This has marked another step change with some massive acts like Major Laser, Disclosure, MIA, Chic featuring Niles Rogers Jurassic 5, Bryan Ferry, Bobby Womack and plenty of others putting on bigger, more technically challenging shows. This year looks like being another step beyond.

– West Holts via Glastonbury Festival

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