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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Glastonbury Fayre: 1971 The True Spirit Of Glastonbury (Blu-ray)
Glastonbury Fayre: 1971 The True Spirit Of Glastonbury (Blu-ray)
Other // Unrated // November 9, 2018 // Region A
List Price: $14.59 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted February 4, 2019 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

There were a lot of concert documentaries on various rock megaconcerts from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s which generally puts Woodstock at the top of most lists that rank these things, but it also begs the question of damn, how many concerts like this could you see as a kid? Glastonbury was one of those events, which is still going on today but back in 1971, was only in its sophomore year, and was the subject of a documentary by Nicolas Roeg (Performance).

The concert was developed as a way to avoid the excessive commercialization of North American shows and held in Great Britain. The 1971 show was held on the summer solstice (June) and held near Stonehenge, and featured artists such as Joan Baez, David Bowie, Traffic and others. Roeg and several others filmed the events of the show on and off-stage, interviewing various concertgoers in a method not unlike the 3 Days of Peace and Love that preceded it two days before. There are a lot of hippies and free spirits in various stages of dress and non, dancing, clapping, rolling around in the mud and what have you, while expressing their thoughts about the time and the future ahead.

There is something about this era where the music fascinates me, but when it comes to people in that era who start to talk to cameras, that I simply can't connect to because of time or generation. There are flashes of a utopic idealism in some of them, but nothing that contributes much resonance with someone watching this now a half century later. I want to tell them to put on pants and get some value out of life. The music is great; while Bowie's work didn't make it onto the film, the other acts do and the primal emotion that some of these kids have is certainly tangible.

Maybe in a strange way these kids were right; after all, the 2017 show included Radiohead, the Foo Fighters, Katy Perry and Run the Jewels to name a few, and the concert touts Oxfam and Greenpeace amongst its charitable causes. So the music remains fun and doing it for a better world is still going on as the show producers intend. Roeg captures those things in the film to some degree, and it works. But as far as a piece of rock history, the Glastonbury shows would appear to fall behind Woodstock, Altamont and Monterey in terms of memorable or legacy-having events, for a good reason.

The Blu-ray:
The Video:

1.35:1 and it gets an MVC encode. There's not a lot to be gleamed from it as given the age and source material. Film grain is present though the image consistency fluctuates here and there during the interviews. Colors look decent but not entirely vivid; caked mud on flesh looks like, well, mud, but nothing that makes you take note on how recent it is. Looks okay for its age but won't blow you away.

The Sound:

PCM two channel stereo that doesn't add all that much to the experience. Dialogue sounds clean and the music has a little bit of range to it, but without a rear channel presentation lacks any immersion. Sounds okay, dialogue is clear, but nothing impressive.

Extras:

Roeg provides a commentary that talks about his time on the film and what he thought it meant, and some occasional recollection about the show. Nothing special. A making of look at the film (35:31) with interviews of several people associated with it has a little more information but runs a little long, as does a trailer (3:53).

Final Thoughts:

Glastonbury Fayre is a nice look at the moment of a rock show that continues on now holding on to some core values that it may not have realized it had almost a half century ago. Roeg is able to get to that quickly, even if some of the interview subjects may not realize what or where they are doing. Technically the Blu-ray looks fine and the commentary was a nice surprise. Worth checking out if you're super into music of that era.

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