Glastonbury Festival is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world. Each year tickets sell out within minutes and it sees devoted fans travel from across the globe to attend. The festival is infamous for its charitable giving, commitment to sustainability and liberal political leaning.
In terms of reputation, Glastonbury really sets itself aside from other live events and has become one of the most famous festivals in the world. Because of this, the V&A wanted to capture what has happened at the festival and how it continues to grow over the years.
In 2020, Glastonbury Festival reached a milestone anniversary of 50 years. During this time the festival has increased dramatically in size, attendance and reputation. The history of the festival has been captured over the years in different formats, but the V&A, in collaboration with the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council), wanted to document the history of the event by building an online archive to host information such as programmes, posters, signage, maps, images, performances and the various stages.
An intuitive way of capturing data
Glastonbury has a lot of historical data therefore we had to come up with a route to take all of this information and organise it into usable and interesting content for the user. The V&A selected the AusStage platform as the primary route for data collection, we then had to create a platform that would effectively connect with this source, facilitate fast search and pull that data through to a visually engaging front-end.
Easy to search design
Fans of Glastonbury would want to use the archive to search through different types of information (images, posters, programme brochures, artists and stages). The design makes it easy to navigate around the site while also being visually appealing and retaining a strong sense of the festival and the V&A brand.
As this is a pilot project many of the records are currently incomplete, this means only a small portion of the potential functionality of the site is actually being used. However, it was important that the structure was built to scale up for when the information becomes available. Therefore we built for the future in mind, but also to facilitate what was actually available in the present day.
A static front-end
To ensure the archive loaded quickly for end-users, we removed any database calls from the front-end experience. Using Algolia to index all of the data from AusStage allows us to serve search results instantaneously. Each of these results then has a static HTML page, which has been generated dynamically during a nightly build process.
Automated nightly builds
Being able to update the Glastonbury Archive data is extremely important to the project’s success, but it would add an extra burden to the V&A team if they were required to edit the data in AusStage as well as a CMS system for the Archive. Therefore, we created a build and indexing service that runs every night, checking for updates in AusStage and reindexing and rebuilding the content of the archive were necessary.
See the finished product at: vam.ac.uk/performing-glastonbury
You might also like
Working on the “50 years of Glastonbury” digital archive
Kind will be working with the V&A on their project to document 50 memorable years of Glastonbury Festival.
How digital tech is helping to capture history, as it happens
With the impermanence and speed of change of the internet and how it is used, how can you collect and retain pieces of history that may disappear the next day?