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artwork booklet

Steve Hillage

The Glastonbury Experience (Live 1979)

Madfish SMACD1216
reprint of original Glastonbury Fayre 1979 26‑page booklet half price when posted together - also available as a 2LP
An excellent set indeed full of Hillage classics with the band putting it all in and leaving nothing behind. - New Wave of British Heavy Metal Blog
Capturando a Hillage y su fenomenal banda en vivo en su apogeo creativo y comercial - Rockaxis

On Friday 21st June 1979, the Steve Hillage Band performed a headline set of soaring psychedelic guitar riffs of cosmic aspirations. The summer solstice night was a pivotal point in Steve Hillage's musical journey, and this recording, provided from Steve's personal archives, will cement the performance as historic.

Prior to the festival, Steve and the band spent two weeks rehearsing in a barn at Worthy Farm, site of the Glastonbury Festival. They crafted a set fitting and psychedelically uplifting enough to truly celebrate the longest day of Summer at such an auspicious location. Steve was an integral member of the Glasto team alongside Michael Eavis, 'Pyramid' Bill Harkin and Turbosound/Funktion One's Tony Andrews. Their work focalised the 1979 Fayre, helping the rebirth of the first of the modern Glastonbury Festivals.

After spending the 80's in music production, Steve and his partner Miquette Giraudy returned to recording and live performance in the 90's with the dance oriented System 7 and was fundamental in the introduction of the Dance Stage to Glastonbury in 1995.

Celebrate 50 years of Glastonbury with Steve Hillage's Glastonbury Experience, out on 2LP + Deluxe CD Media Book on 15 July 2022.

Steve says : Glastonbury 1979 was quite a difficult event for me, but when I finally got to listen to the tapes of the complete Steve Hilage Band set | was blown away by the sheer gusto and vivacity of the playing. So I'm excited to release this for everyone to hear. Welcome to the Glastonbury Experience! And by the way Michael Eavis you were right…
deep background…

Glastonbury is a wonderfully odd place, vital Heart Chakra of Gaia say some, plugged into the lines of energy which criss-cross our planet, aligned with the very heavens themselves and visited by UFOS - a town of star/navel-gazing lunatics say others. Wherever you may find yourself currently on that spectrum of opinion there is no denying that it has been a unique place of focus for a long, long time, (…and did those feet in ancient time…, etc.). It is somewhere which has drawn people for 100Os of years and continues to do so.

Steve's relationship with the idea, symbolism, energy and reality of the Isle Avalon, as Glastonbury is known, goes back decades. Although he enjoyed daevid allen's first solo album, 'Bananamoon, and the Gong albums 'Magick Brother' and 'Camembert Electrique, it was listening to daevid allen's Gong 'calling card' collage on one side of the legendary 1972 Glastonbury Fayre triple album, itself a homage to the 1971 Festival, not simply live recordings of the event, which lifted Steve's appreciation of the band to another level. It was a side of music Steve played again and again so captivated was he by the sounds, vibe and energy - and we all know where that enthusiasm led.

Alongside Tony Andrews (of Turbosound, and later Funktion One), "Pyramid" Bill Harkin (one of the prime organisers of Glastonbury 1971), and of course Michael Eavis (of Worthy Farm, where the festival is held), Steve was an integral member of the team who saw the Glastonbury Festival reborn in 1979 after a fallow eight years, beginning the lineage of modern Festivals which continue to today. Steve was also fundamental to the introduction of the dance stage in 1995, seen as a highly contentious development at the time. In 1979 after two enjoyable weeks of rehearsal at Worthy Farm itself, the Steve Hillage Band headlined the first night of the Festival Friday 21st June, the Summer Solstice. Given the location, the date and time, as well as all the detailed preparation, aspirations and expectations were of the highest. It's always good to aim as high as you can, but wisdom comes from accepting that the outcome of our plans may not always pan out as expected.

Once up and running the band's set quickly gained momentum and began to soar. The 12,000 festival goers (less than a tenth of number who attend to-day), were treated to a great gig and the highest of times were had, as I hope you agree. However, practical realities dictated that the fledgling Festival strictly adhered to its licensing agreements. To do otherwise would have compromised the possibility of future Festivals, and who knows, perhaps their very continuance at all. The set is cut short at the beginning of "Talking To The Sun" - sad in one respect, but then what better direction to be focused on the Sun's prime day of the year?

Jonny Greene, Glastonbury October 2021


  1. Are You Experienced
  2. Electrick Gypsies
  3. Unzipping the Zype
  4. Hurdy Gurdy Man
  5. Light in the Sky
  6. Unidentified (Flying Being)
  7. Radio
  8. Octave Doctors
  9. 1988 Aktivator
  10. Crystal City
  11. The Glorious Om Riff
  12. Talking to the Sun (intro)


  • Steve Hillage guitar, vocals
  • Miquette Giraudy synthesizer, vocals
  • Dave Stewart rhythm & glissando guitars, vocals
  • Paul Francis bass
  • Andy Anderson drums
  • John Newsham switch doctor