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Festivals Britannia

Documentary telling the story of the evolution of the British music festival through the mavericks, dreamers and dropouts who produced and experienced them.

Continuing the critically acclaimed Britannia music series for BBC Four, this documentary tells the story of the emergence and evolution of the British music festival through the mavericks, dreamers and dropouts who have produced, enjoyed and sometimes fought for them over the last 50 years.

The film traces the ebb and flow of British festival culture from jazz beginnings at Beaulieu in the late 50s through to the Isle of Wight festivals at the end of the 60s, early Glastonbury and one-off commercial festivals like 1972's Bickershaw, the free festivals of the 70s and 80s and on through the extended rave at Castlemorton in 1992 to the contemporary resurgence in festivals like Glastonbury, Isle of Wight and Reading in the last decade.

Sam Bridger's film explores the central tension between the people's desire to come together, dance to the music and build temporary communities and the desire of the state, the councils and the locals to police these often unruly gatherings.

At the heart of the documentary is an ongoing argument about British freedom and shifts in the political, musical and cultural landscape set to a wonderful soundtrack of 50 years of great popular music which takes in trad jazz, Traffic, Roy Harper, the Grateful Dead, Hawkwind, Orbital and much more.

Featuring rare archive and interviews with Michael Eavis, Richard Thompson, Acker Bilk, Terry Reid, the Levellers, Billy Bragg, John Giddings, Melvin Benn, Roy Harper, Nik Turner, Peter Jenner, Orbital, amongst others.

1 hour, 30 minutes

Last on

Mon 22 Jun 2015 01:30

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Arcade Fire

    Rebellion (Lies)

  • The Regency Choir


  • Blur

    Song 2

  • The Who

    Baba O'Riley

  • Paul McCartney

    Hey Jude

  • Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick

    Byker Hill

  • Mr. Acker Bilk and His Paramount Jazz Band

    Stars and Stripes

  • Chris Barber's Jazz Band

    High Society

  • Alex Welsh & The Dixielanders

    Panama Rag

  • Tubby Hayes & The Jazz Couriers ft Ronnie Scott

    Royal Ascot

  • Tubby Hayes & The Jazz Couriers ft Ronnie Scott

    Cheek to Cheek

  • Aldermaston Band

    Oh When the Saints

  • Aldermaston Band

    Onward Christian Soldiers

  • Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated

    Back at the Chicken Shack

  • John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers

    Crawling Up a Hill

  • Small Faces

    Itchycoo Park

  • Thunderclap Newman

    Something In The Air

  • Jefferson Airplane

    White Rabbit

  • Roy Harper

    You Don't Need Money

  • Edgar Broughton Band

    Out Demons Out

  • The Rolling Stones - I'm Yours And I'm Hers

  • Joni Mitchell


  • Bob Dylan

    Like a Rolling Stone

  • Bob Dylan

    Mighty Quinn

  • The Who

    Naked Eye

  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience

    Voodoo Chile

  • The Doors

    The End

  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience

    All Along The Watchtower

  • Untitled

    The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood

  • Bert Jansch


  • Traffic

    Gimme Some Lovin'

  • Fairport Convention

    Angel Delight

  • Traffic

    Dear Mr Fantasy

  • Terry Reid


  • Melanie

    Peace Will Come

  • Grateful Dead

    New Speedway Boogie

  • Donovan

    The Ordinary Family

  • Led Zeppelin

    Ramble On

  • unknown

    God Save the Queen

    Music Arranger: Gordon Jacob.
  • Hawkwind

    Psychedelic Warlords

  • Black Sabbath


  • Pink Floyd

    Shine On You Crazy Diamond

  • Hawkwind

    We Took The Wrong Step Years Ago

  • Roy Harper

    One Man Rock And Roll Band

  • Sham 69

    If The Kids Are United

  • AC/DC

    Highway to Hell

  • The Smiths

    How Soon Is Now?

  • The Clash

    Armagideon Time

  • Levellers

    Battle of the Beanfield

  • The Smiths

    A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours

  • The KLF

    What Time Is Love?

  • Orbital


  • Age of Love

    The Age of Love

  • Liquid

    Sweet Harmony

  • Massive Attack

    Unfinished Sympathy

  • Underworld

    Born Slippy

  • Radiohead

    Karma Police

  • Coldplay


  • Kasabian


  • Pulp

    Common People


Role Contributor
Director Sam Bridger
Producer Sam Bridger
Executive Producer Mark Cooper