How you can watch Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary as BBC airs classic sets

The broadcaster is releasing iconic Glastonbury performances from Beyoncé, David Bowie and Adele after the festival's 50th event was cancelled.

GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: Dua Lipa performs on the John Peel Stage on day 2 of the Glastonbury Festival 2017 at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 23, 2017 in Glastonbury, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

While Glastonbury 2020 may have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, it hasn’t stopped the BBC from celebrating the festival’s 50th anniversary in style.

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The broadcaster has created a pop-up channel – BBC Glastonbury – dedicated to showing highlights from the last 50 years of Glastonbury, while BBC Two, BBC Four and iPlayer will be airing classic performances over the festival’s weekend.

The sets available on BBC iPlayer, some of which have never been aired in full, include Adele’s 2016 set, Beyoncé’s 2011 debut, David Bowie in 2000, Coldplay’s 2016 performance and a rarely-broadcast Oasis set from 1994.

Here’s everything you need to know about virtual Glastonbury 2020…

When is virtual Glastonbury 2020?

During the weekend that the Somerset-based festival was due to take place – Thursday 25th to Monday 29th June – BBC Two will be airing The Glastonbury Experience, three 90-minute live programmes to showcase the festival’s greatest performances, archive footage and past coverage.

PILTON, ENGLAND - JUNE 25, 2000: David Bowie performs live on the Pyramid stage wearing a coat designed by Alexander McQueen, at the Glastonbury festival at Worthy Farm on June 25, 2000 in Pilton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)
David Bowie’s 2000 Pyramid Stage performance (Credit: Getty Images)

Radio heavyweights Jo Whiley and Mark Radcliffe will present Friday’s show, while Clara Amfo and Lauren Laverne will host on Saturday and Sunday, which will see past performances by Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Arctic Monkeys, REM and Rolling Stones among others.

Other BBC shows that are celebrating Glastonbury in its absence include The One Show, Blue Peter, Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 breakfast show and Lauren Laverne’s BBC Radio 6 Music programme, which will feature the festival’s co-organiser Emily Eavis on Friday 26th June. 

Who will perform at virtual Glastonbury 2020?

In addition to Adele, Beyoncé, David Bowie, Coldplay and Jay Z, sets from Janelle Monae’s 2011 performance, Jeff Lynne’s ELO (2015) and Lorde (2017) will be available to watch on the brand new pop-up channel.

BBC Glastonbury will also air a rarely-seen set by Oasis, who played on the NME stage in 1994 at the beginning of their careers. Live Forever, Supersonic, Cigarettes & Alcohol all feature on the setlist.

Performances from Billie Eilish, Christine and the Queens, Disclosure, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran and Florence and the Machine will also be available to watch.

You can see the full list of performances recently added to the line-up below:

  • Bloc Party (2009)
  • Elbow (2011)
  • FKA Twigs (2015)
  • Jamie XX (2015)
  • Jeff Lynn’s ELO (2015)
  • Grimes (2016)
  • Janelle Monae (2011)
  • Disclosure (2014)
  • Michael Kiwanuka (2019)
  • HAIM (2017)
  • Laura Marling (2017)
  • Lorde (2017)
  • Dave (2019)
  • Royal Blood (2017)
  • Idles (2019)
  • Little Simz (2019)
  • Sheryl Crow (2019)
  • The Streets (2019)

“There are so many memorable sets being played across the BBC over what would have been our 50th anniversary weekend,” said Emily Eavis, whose father Michael Eavis founded Glastonbury in 1970.

“Personally, I’m looking forward to a weekend of reflecting on the history of our festival and going back to some classic performances from David Bowie, Adele, REM, Beyoncé, The Rolling Stones, Jay-Z, Billie Eilish and lots more,” she added. “Me and my dad will definitely be watching!”

The festival announced in March that Glastonbury’s 50th event would be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, disappointing the 135,000 people who had already paid deposits on their tickets.

Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Diana Ross and Dua Lipa were just a handful of musicians due to perform at the Worthy Farm event this year.

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Glastonbury 50th anniversary programming will be available throughout June across BBC television and radio channels. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.