It’s the last week in June and that means one thing: Glastonbury. The BBC’s coverage has become almost as legendary as the festival itself, but it’s only in recent years that it has really come into its own. Thanks to BBC iPlayer, people at home can catch up with almost any act they care to name at any time they want; an almost perfect digital mirror of the show’s own diverse, welcoming line-up.
Of course, it raises the question of whether a festival can ever be really captured on camera: so much of a live gig’s atmosphere comes from the crowd, the people singing in unison, moshing or just clambering on their parents’ shoulders and yelling.
In your living room with your cup of tea and copy of the Guardian, it’s not quite the same. There’s no mud, for one thing. And you don’t have to sleep in a tent. But that’s where social media is so effective. As we’ve discussed before, Twitter’s real-time nature means that you can follow something as it unfolds and connect with other people doing the same. It not only turns a local festival into an international forum, but turns any non-linear VOD watch into an event of its own. In a world of on-demand entertainment, Twitter is the antidote to old-fashioned scheduling. You can comment on Glastonbury’s acts at the same time as someone in the fields of Somerset – or catch-up four hours later and still be part of a conversation (and, even better, bypass all of the TV presenters).
When Metallica took to the stage on Saturday night, Twitter erupted as much as the Pyramid, trending all over your eardrums with heavy excitement. Metallica isn’t for everyone, but that was ok too: you could easily click on another stream and admire Bryan Ferry’s colourful smoking jacket on the Other stage. Or you could see Arcade Fire’s set from Friday. Or Lily Allen. Or Jake Bugg. Then you could tweet about it too, joining in the festival without having to have the same tastes – or even location – as other music fans.
Eclectic tolerance, frenetic buzz and live music all in one place? Maybe watching Glastonbury at home isn’t so different to the real thing after all.
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