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Today at Glastonbury

Peter Hanington | 09:10 UK time, Friday, 22 June 2007

The Today programme logoThe current editor of the Today Programme is easily the hippest Today Programme editor ever. I'm not saying that just because he's the first editor to let us broadcast from Glastonbury but for lots of other reasons too, and I'll come back to those.

Under previous Today administrations the question: "Can we do a programme from Glastonbury?" has met with a range of responses, none of them positive.

today_glasto2.jpg.jpgWhen we asked Kevin Marsh, the reply went something like: "Glastonberry? Ah yes... same family as the Loganberry? Generally thought to be derived from a cross between the Red Antwerp raspberry and the American blackberry Aughinburgh. Accidentally created in 1880 in Santa Cruz by the American lawyer and horticulturist James Harvey Logan I believe..." He then spoke at length about various berries but nobody here understood what he was talking about so we left it.

Rod Liddle's response was more concise....his full answer cannot be reprinted in a quality blog like this but it went something like "Go completely away and stick your rude thing up something else even ruder." The problem wasn't that Rod didn't care about Glastonbury, more that he didn't want his staff turning up in the Healing Field and cramping his style. He also said that taking Today to Glastonbury would just "drive up the price of black and alert the filth" but nobody here understood what he was talking about so we left it.

Today presenter Carolyn QuinnAnyway, this year things were different. Ceri Thomas embraced the idea immediately and with passion. Well, his voicemail did... it said: "Leave a message and I'll get back to you soon" and as far the planning desk is concerned that's a big Yes.

By the time he'd got back from holiday, Carolyn Quinn had already bought a Cath Kidston cagoule and so it was too late to turn back.

Why Carolyn you ask? Why not John Humphrys? Well, John wanted to go, and in fact he'd been invited to camp backstage with Gordon Brown and the Arctic Monkeys but as you probably know he has a severe mud allergy and so as soon as the long term weather forecast came through it was clear that that wouldn't work.

Today presenter Carolyn QuinnCarolyn was the obvious second choice….Not a lot of people know this, but Lemmy out of Motorhead is Carolyn's godfather and she was regularly dangled on Lemmy's knee as a young girl… no one knows why Lemmy was dressing as a young girl at the time but I guess that's his business.

On top of that Carolyn had seen "We Will Rock You" 37 times and she can play "Whole Lotta Rosie" on the kazoo, so she seemed the obvious choice.

The Today team is camped in the Circus Performers' Field… come and see us if you can… we're just past the dwarves, first left at the Bearded Lady… look for the VW van with a "Never Trust Anyone Under 50" bumper sticker.

Peace and Love.


  • 1.
  • At 10:08 AM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • danny kelly wrote:

Touching that you find Glastonbury so cutting edge. It's only been around for about a million years..congrats on your radicalism.

  • 2.
  • At 11:42 AM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • Simon Shaw wrote:

Five Live is at Glastonbury, Radios One, Two and Three are at Glastonbury, the Asian Network is at Glastonbury. So are BBC's local radio and the Culture Show.

While the Today programme wouldn't want to be left out of the Glastonbury fest, It must be difficult to find anyone there to interview who doesn't work for the BBC.

  • 3.
  • At 11:46 AM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • Alex Swanson wrote:

Why should the "Today" programme be interested in Glastonbury? It's not newsworthy, it's no more a cultural event than many you don't cover . . . yet another case of BBC staff mistaking their own personal interests and sub-culture for those of the people who pay your salaries.

Can't get tickets for Glasto?

The answer is simple - get a job with the Beeb.

  • 5.
  • At 12:27 PM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • jimc wrote:

I have to agree with Rod Liddle.
Bah today!

  • 6.
  • At 01:23 PM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • Seurat wrote:

Are there actually any punters at Glasto? Or is it just full of BBC employees?

Still, Wimbledon soon. I'm sure the BBC news crews won't be moving en masse to SW19 for the fortnight.

Which venue's the next stop for the Gravy Train?

  • 7.
  • At 01:58 PM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • Pat wrote:

This is dumbing-down, sensationalist pap of the highest order.

  • 8.
  • At 02:26 PM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • R.Tompsett wrote:

Completely agree with all the above comments. This ws a waste of presenters time. Most of those not there are even remotely interested in what takes place at Glastonbury. When will Today editors look outwards to what is happening in the world and not inflict us with their personal take on events..

  • 9.
  • At 02:53 PM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • Jonathan Hall wrote:

I've no problem with the BBC covering the music at this event but...

A) Why is it being covered by BBC local radio stations, Asian network, BBC TV News, Five Live, Radio 1, 2 & 3. Surely any one or two of the above, would be more than enough. Remember this is a private, 'profit' making event. Just how much free publicity is the beeb giving it and why? Furthermore, just how many staff have you got there?

B) Political coverage - Remember the criticism you recieved for your slavish and biased coverage of the 'Lets make povert history campaign'. Well why are you at it again? I've just watched an 'interview' with Greenpeace on News 24 from Glastonbury.. no interuption, no hard questions, no voice from the other side.. just five minutes of pure properganda. This is a rock festival, not a political convention!

  • 10.
  • At 03:13 PM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Isn't Glastonbury a medical procedure where they stick this thing down your throat into your stomach to have a look see from the inside?

  • 11.
  • At 03:22 PM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

I can't say I'm a big fan of camping in a muddy field since I grew up in the countryside, so don't quite see it in the same romantic vein as many city types. But if taking Sequin there annoys Libby Purves, then it has to be a good thing..

  • 12.
  • At 03:24 PM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • Nick Molyneux wrote:

Does the Today programme being at Glastonbury show that Today has become more trendy, or just that Glastonbury is no longer radical at all! It's never been the same since they made it impossible to break in!

  • 13.
  • At 03:52 PM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • Emma wrote:

How's this for an idea: BBC news programmes cover Glastonbury if and when something newsworthy happens there.
Rain does not count as news.

  • 14.
  • At 04:42 PM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • Nigel Doran wrote:

Talk about getting your defence in before the attacks, Mr Hanington. The fact you posted this as soon as the programme was off the air suggests you knew full well you'd get criticised for the deployment of your crew to Glasto. It is a craven waste of money. And as for the fig-leaf Evan Davies package, well, I'm not even going to waste any more ti...

Froggy greetings to Sequin!

I think some of these commenters need to lighten up. If an event with 179,000 people having fun, getting messy, and enjoying music isn't worthy of coverage then what is? Perhaps they want you to call the program 'Today - another day of misery'.

It must have been one of the few times when no interviewees were asking for more government action/money for their cause.

Do any of you berks commenting actually listen to Today?

I'd argue that you don't.

Did you know, for example, that the White Stripes made their debut on Today?

I doubt it...

Moreover, if you actually listen to the bloody programme you'll know that news is one facet of many items covered by the most respected programme in broadcasting

Of course is relevant someone goes to Glastonbury, to ignore it would be simply irresponsible to both journalist and listener

And no, I don’t work for the BBC

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