“The 1971 event was a free festival, the second-ever Glastonbury and the first year of the Pyramid Stage” – Sheila Burnett

“The 1971 event was a free festival, the second-ever Glastonbury and the first year of the Pyramid Stage made of scaffolding, expanded metal & plastic sheeting.

I travelled from West Ken with my sister in a van of weekend hippies bearing brown rice, mung tea, Wacky Baccy and one, maybe 2 tents. We stopped at Stone Henge on the way wafting and reclining on the stones.
We erected our tent facing the Tor made an X with sticks tied with silver balloons thus identifying our home for the next 3 nights. The line up included Bowie, Traffic, Fairport Convention, Hawkwind, Melanie, Arthur Brown and The Worthy Farm Windfuckers. Arthur Brown played late into the night to a bombed-out hallucinating audience of 12000. He appeared in a cloud of smoke and fire, flashing lights and strobe wearing a horned helmet screaming I am the God of Hellfire and you are all going to die. 12000 voices screamed in terror & I sinking into the mud cried out for the bad trip tent, bad trip tent no way man, the bad trip tent is full said a stoned passing freak.
Apart from Arthur Brown I remember Fairport convention, we Idiot danced under the influence of something and my Amber choker neckless broke, I remember everyone trying to pick up the beads and then heading back to this old tent where everyone was omming. OM meaning identifying with the universe, everyone sits in a circle holds hands and Oms and if you have never Om’d before, it’s very embarrassing.
I would have taken more photos if it hadn’t happened to be the uncoolest thing to do, these 3 frames were taken surreptitiously, I could have taken photos of the rainbow children, and how they obluted in the fields waving arms and hands in the air, or the hairy freak outside our tent dressed only in a loincloth draped over a hand made cross facing the Tor at dawn, or the queues at the 3 chemical toilets or the silver balloons tied to our tent or me and my sister hiding behind a tree eating some chicken we had bought with us ( animal flesh frowned upon) I sat for several hours in the sunshine rolling silver paper into little balls from my Kit Kat wrapper, sewing them on the edge of my black gown, very zen thing to do, as it was all very super zenny and trippy and little pills were passed around like sweeties for whoever whenever.
The photo of the stage was taken on get out the last day, I hung around the pyramid and simply climbed on to the back of the stage, no one tried to stop me, no one noticed. I was surprised at how small it was, a lighting rig of seems to be only 12 lamps, how come Arthur Brown was so frightening with just these lamps! The magic of Theatre and witchcraft! It was fantastic, I’m lucky to have these 3 shots to remind me of the second Glaxo and what it grew to be from small acorns.”

Photos © Sheila Burnett


Name: Sheila Burnett
First Glasto: 1971
Attended: One only… still recovering (as of 2020)
Favourite Stage: Pyramid Stage
Favourite Performance: Arthur Brown / Worthy Farm Windfuckers

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