In addition to contemporary music, the festival hosts dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and other arts. It is organised by Michael Eavis on his own land, Worthy Farm in Pilton. Leading pop and rock artists have headlined, alongside thousands of others appearing on smaller stages and performance areas. Films and albums recorded at Glastonbury have been released, and the festival receives extensive television and newspaper coverage. Glastonbury is the largest greenfield festival in the world, and is now attended by around 175,000 people, requiring extensive infrastructure in terms of security, transport, water, and electricity supply. The majority of staff are volunteers, helping the festival to raise millions of pounds for good causes.
Inspired by the ethos of the hippie, counterculture, and free festival movements, the festival retains vestiges of these traditions, such as the Green Fields area, which includes the Green Futures and Healing Field. After the 1970s, the festival took place almost every year and grew in size, with the number of attendees sometimes being swollen by gate-crashers. Eavis hosted the first festival, then called Pilton Festival, after seeing an open-air Led Zeppelin concert at the 1970Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music; fourteen people invested everything they had to build the stage.
The Festival was held intermittently from 1970 until 1981, since when it has been held every year, except for “fallow years” intended to give the land, the local population and the organisers a break, usually taken every 5 years.