It’s an oft heard complaint that you can’t buy anything useful in Glastonbury. This is of course nonsense. What could be more functional than a mirror ball Ganesha? Who needs underwear when you can simply don a very long cloak? As Kim said to me earlier “I don’t actually want a cauldron, but it’s nice to know I could just pop into the High St and buy one if I did”.
Ever wanted to know what it’s really like to live in Glastonbury, England’s most magical, and oddest town? In my new eBook You’ll find humorous observations and funny maps, an illustrated ABC of Glastonbury, a timeline of significant events in Glastonbury’s history, essays on social issues and two pieces about Glastonbury Festival and its relationship to the Town.
I’ve hastily assembled some links to Glastonbury musicians for you, some of them were submitted by the artists, others are just my personal favourites. It’s by no means comprehensive and is reflective of my own musical taste, it’s also in no particular order. If you find something you like do search for more of their work, you are sure to find it, please support them by buying digital downloads when they are available.
Origins Ask any resident of the English town of Glastonbury where they are most likely to be living, and many of them will quickly tell you that Glastonbury is very high on their list of number one answers. What is it about this particular town that draws so many of its citizens to count themselves … Read more
Many moons ago I spotted Glastonbury Tor from the Levels out towards Shapwick. What would have been a picture postcard perfect scene was ruined by a large and unsightly, rusting piece of peat processing machinery. I took a photo anyway. Since then I’ve got into the perverse habit of deliberately taking the kind of photos that would never make it into a Glastonbury tourist guide.
Talking to Clothes Designer Amanda of Haruka, I found myself enthralled by her accounts of textile production around the world and her enthusiasm for the people she works with at every stage of the process – from design, to dying and weaving, pattern cutting, sewing, the models she chooses and ultimately the women who leave her shop feeling special and beautiful. Meanwhile it was gratifying to learn how her business and environmental ethics are woven into everything she does.
Glastonbury based artist Linda Ravenscroft is well known in the fantasy art world for her beautifully detailed watercolours, featuring characters from her rich imagination and the natural world. With her husband John she runs the Mystic Garden Gallery at the bottom of the High Street, where they sell not only Linda’s work, but also beautiful creations from some of the world’s most talented fantasy artists and craftspeople.
A Guest Post by Andy Brady that brings new light to the Glastonbury Tor story, it’s history, geology and mythology. Origins Originally built during the last ice age, Glastonbury Tor has long since been guiding Somerset’s farm ships around the dangerous, craggy buildings of the nearby town of Glastonbury where, even today, the local inhabitants … Read more
I meet up with the Dragon Drummers to talk about Glastonbury, community and keeping to the beat. It’s one of those wonderful warm Avalonian evenings in early May. I’ve got an interview with the Dragon Drummers at 7pm but I’m feeling quite stressed and in need of quiet and calm first, so I suggest to The … Read more
You Really Can Wish the World Better – Green’s Glastonbury Story has a Happy Ending Back in February I published a guest post by Glastonbury bard and reallywannago.com blogger Lisa Goodwin about Green the Wand Seller, who was kicked out of town without warning by Mendip Council and so disappeared from Glastonbury streets. The response … Read more
Kev Pearson has photographed Glastonbury Tor basking in the Summer sun and covered in a blanket of snow, he’s captured it in the dawn light and at twilight, with the sun shining through the archway of the tower or with the full moon peeking out behind clouds. His pictures show Tor Hill obscured by Autumn mists from the wetlands of the Somerset Levels, or the view from the top. His photographs are a wonderful celebration of this iconic landmark, looking at them you are immediately transported to Avalon.
Beckery Village is a creative community hub emerging from emptiness and dereliction, on the Western fringes of Glastonbury Town. Only a few years ago, in the early 1990’s, there was an empty industrial wasteland on the edge of Glastonbury. Buildings which had once been home to the town’s thriving sheepskin industry stood derelict, vandalised and … Read more
Green was so charming and charismatic. We loved chatting to him… hearing about how his wands were made and learning about the Wishing the World Better Club. After Green had welcomed Zane to the Club and explained that his first wish with the wand should be to wish something good for somebody else, he then gave Zane his own wand and hat to practice making a wish.
Lots of people ask “What’s it like to live in Glastonbury?”. My afternoon stroll through town today wasn’t untypical, so I thought I’d share it in the hope it goes some way to answering the question. Sunny Suitcase Saturday The weather today was glorious, despite it being only the 23rd of February. The sun was … Read more
You may have noticed a friendly character trading at the bottom of Glastonbury High Street. Often dressed in green and sitting over a tiny portable stall adorned with beautiful handmade wands. His tall frame was accentuated by a green top hat sprouting long feathers, locals know him as Green, the Wand Seller. One day, Green vanished.
When we lived in simpler times, we observed the turning of the seasons – the great wheel of the year. Until quite recently in human history our survival depended on being prepared for Spring’s new growth, Summer’s sun, Autumn’s harvest and Winter’s cold and dark. In many places these seasonal celebrations have been forgotten. Even now, … Read more
The Heart Land Tattoo Temple didn‘t arrive quietly in town. They commissioned a bright and bold mural to cover the walls and windows of their shop at the top of the High Street. Back in 1969 the building had been the first in town to be painted, with brightly coloured flowers, yet the new mural … Read more
Besides being home to a great number of extraordinarily talented musicians, Glastonbury Town also attracts well known performers from around the world. It helps that Europe’s biggest performing arts festival happens only 7 miles away, which has put the town on the map for touring musicians. Those for whom appearing on the Pyramid Stage is … Read more
Occasional contributor to Normal For Glastonbury, David Taplin, has written this wonderfully lyrical description of the Starlings coming into roost at dusk on the Avalon Marshes, I hope you enjoy it. “The land here is already soft and floating, the horizons low, and perspectives hard to judge as shadows start to creep. Both the reeds … Read more
When you are choosing Christmas gifts, please buy from small local suppliers and support Glastonbury’s independent shops. We are lucky to be able to buy directly from artists, craftspeople, musicians, designers, writers, knitters, potters, jewellers, candle makers and other creative people. When we buy from the maker we are supporting a family, not a corporation, and bringing more art, beauty and creativity into the world.
The most wonderful time of the year…. What is it that makes Glastonbury’s annual Frost Fayre so special? It’s certainly my favourite event of the year and it seems to be popular with everyone – locals, visitors and shopkeepers. I think the answer lies in community. Glastonbury is remarkable for having so many different faiths … Read more
Even Glastonbury can seem dull and grey on a cold November morning when the Winter light bleaches all the colour from the Town. On days like these, we need reminders of sunshine. As I pass through the narrow alleyway of the Gauntlet, the rainbow colours of the crockery in Steve and Jan’s shop always catch … Read more
A guest post from David Taplin. “Just as the people we have been in our past are still alive within us, the Glastonbury I first knew and loved 45 or more years ago seems to me very much still alive within the current town; it’s like having a foot in two worlds simultaneously (rather appropriate for this place, perhaps)”.
Every so often it’s nice to get out of Glastonbury and explore. I can’t quite believe I’m suggesting this, but Shepton Mallet is really worth a visit. I popped over there last week to visit my friends Dimitris and James who are running the pop-up ‘Art Bank Cafe’ in the old HSBC bank, which also houses the ‘Rubbish Art Project’
A Tranquil Oasis in the Heart of the Somerset Countryside. James and Tara White got in touch to ask me to write about Old Oaks Touring and Glamping Park. I was curious, although the Park is at the foot of the Tor and less than 2.5 miles from Glastonbury Town centre, I had never visited. While … Read more
Glastonbury Fairy Community in Shock over New Legislation Fairies were known to the Victorians as elusive creatures, rapidly retreating to their home under Glastonbury Tor when spied by the curious. Apart from abducting the occasional sleeping swain or newborn babe, they shunned human company altogether. In recent years, the fey folk have abandoned their reclusive … Read more
Glastonbury High Street has a Magical Cocktail Bar – in Isabella May’s Foodie Fiction Writer Isabella May was brought up in Glastonbury, she now lives in Spain but sets some of her fiction in her old Somerset hometown. I came across her novels ‘The Cocktail Bar’ and ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’ whilst browsing Glastonbury authors … Read more
I recently received an email from Normal For Glastonbury reader David Taplin, he’s been visiting the town since he was a young hippy in the seventies. He’ll shortly be moving back this way – to Street this time. He sent me a fascinating and funny account of his time here and agreed to me sharing it with you, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
I’m sat in bed with my morning coffee trying to think what to write about next for the blog, I’m about to go off on holiday for a week so I really want to get a post out beforehand. The pressure isn’t helping me to get inspired. I’d like an outside perspective on the town, … Read more
I love snow. We hardly ever seem to get it in Glastonbury, so when we do it’s even more special. I think the snow clouds tend to dump their load over the Mendips before they rarely get here. No matter how old I am I still get that ‘No School Today!’ elation when I open … Read more
Glastonbury based charity Children’s World has been bringing fun into the lives of children of all abilities since 1981. Virtually anyone who has grown up in the town since then will tell you how much they loved their yearly festivals and workshops. Children’s World is like the whole town’s wacky but kindly uncle. The sort … Read more
In this post I’d like to take you a little farther afield than Glastonbury (25.4 miles away to be exact), to a holy well in the Quantocks and the story of its restoration. It’s a tale of one woman’s passion, of romance and community. Glastonbury seems to attract people who are passionate about things. One such … Read more
In November 2017 Bruce Garrard from Unique Publications posted a piece on his blog about a proposed plan to build a major road, a Glastonbury Bypass, ruining forever the view from Glastonbury Tor. I would like to quote the points Bruce made which I feel are most revealing of the likely impact this would have … Read more
Saturday 13th January saw the launch of Glastonbury’s first Body Art event in the Assembly Rooms. Organised by The Facepainting Company’s Mel Broom and Glastonbury local Stephen Duross, the event was a fantastic success in every sense of the word. The theme ‘Myths, Legends and Mythical Creatures’ is perfect for a town which frequently hosts … Read more
Snow no Show Most of England woke up to a Winter Wonderland today – carpeted in a blanket of snow and ground to a halt. Glastonbury saw strong wind, torrential rain, and then some wet stuff that was not really rain, hail or snow but came down as a sort of drizzly slush and melted immediately upon landing. … Read more
Frost Fayre is advertised as being when “Glastonbury’s Community comes together to Celebrate Peace and Goodwill to All at this Festive Time of the Year”. I’d say the organizers achieved this aim admirably this year, with sleigh bells on in fact. There is such a lovely, friendly atmosphere in town, so many visitors and so … Read more
Samhain, the Celtic New Year, when the veil between the Worlds is thin, in Glastonbury it is the time for honouring our departed ancestors and loved ones. This is achieved through a public ritual of dressing up, dancing, drumming, and processing from Glastonbury’s Market Cross led by two huge dragons, one red one white, all … Read more
I recently published a post on the Normal For Glastonbury Facebook page about two Somerset Live articles on Glastonbury Market. The first on June 14th was titled “This is what is wrong with the Tuesday market in Glastonbury”, it appears to have since been deleted, the next (see it here), only a month later on … Read more
The Fool’s Journey At least once a year I have the ‘Glastonbury Festival Dream’. It’s always incredibly vivid and I can generally recall it in detail after I wake up. Although the dream takes many forms it always has the same theme – I either can’t get to, or can’t get into, the festival. I’ve dreamt that I … Read more
If you were young in the 1980’s, you might remember articles in teen magazines where they came across people in the street, who had their own unique style, photographed them and asked where they got their clothes. I had a secret dream that I would be spotted in my dull Midlands hometown, recognised as an obvious … Read more
My thoughts after chatting to Morgana I was feeling a bit overwhelmed after launching this blog – within 24 hours my first post ‘What’s Normal for Glastonbury?’ had been viewed by over a 1000 people, and reached 2000 within 48 hours. I was getting incredibly enthusiastic feedback on Facebook, friends were sharing it with their friends and … Read more
What Glastonbury offers those who move here, or visit at length or frequently, from more anonymous towns all over the UK (and increasingly from all over the world), is an opportunity for reinvention. While ordinariness seems to be something to be striven for in other places here it is scorned. I don’t think there are many here who would describe themselves as say “Just a housewife”, here they become witches, artists, mystics, workshop leaders, Reiki masters, poets, permaculture gardeners, teachers, even bloggers. A hobby or a passion becomes a vocation.
Some people get confused when I say I live in Glastonbury, they associate the name purely with the Glastonbury Festival and don’t know that the town exists. Sometimes they ask ˜But I thought the festival wasn’t on yet? This is particularly odd when you are talking to them in December. They assume we all live … Read more
A useful and fairly comprehensive map showing the kind of things you are likely to find in the centre of the small but remarkable town of Glastonbury, in Somerset, England.
I love Glastonbury, I’ve been visiting since the 8th of August 1988 (8/8/88 of course) and have lived here since July 1993. I’ve tried moving away, even emigrating, but I’ve been pulled back repeatedly – by the Glastonbury rubber band effect as it’s locally known. Glastonbury is an endlessly fascinating parade of engaging characters, mythology and history, interesting shops, and great musicians. Except on my less positive days when it’s shabby, shambolic and full of nutters trying to blag a quid.