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Great Films About Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

With most of Europe likely to remain in some form of lockdown over the Christmas and New Year period now is the perfect time to start planning your stay-at-home movie fix. Check out some of the classic films and documentaries about music festivals from the last fifty years that will hopefully get you inspired for 2021.   

Since the late 1960’s the music festival has been to dominated by a younger generation seeking an alternative lifestyle but the music festival has changed substantially over those fifty years. Thankfully a host of filmmakers have documented some of the most momentous festivals and committed them to film. Here are some of the most significant documentaries and films about music festivals:

Woodstock (1970).
Woodstock is a 1970 American documentary film of the Woodstock Festival which took place in August 1969. It’s a bit long at over 5 hours but is the first documentary film about what was at the time a counter culture movement.

Celebration at Big Sur (1971).
This documentary film followed on from the Woodstock festival and follows a similar style as Woodstock.

My Generation (2000).
An interesting analysis of the generations of music festival goers at Woodstock that compares the audience generation and culture gaps between 1969, 1994 and 1999 the film finds that there are more commonalities than there are differences.

Glastonbury (2006).
Julien Temple’s rockumentary film details the history of the Glastonbury Festival from 1970 to 2005 and is a must see for anyone who ever attended the iconic British music festival.

All Tomorrow's Parties (2009).
A documentary film directed by Jonathan Caouette covering the history of the long running All Tomorrow's Parties music festival. Not to everyones taste and widely described as a "post-punk DIY bricolage"

Under the Electric Sky (2013).
If EDM and mega music festivals is your thing then this is a must see documentary giving the viewer a behind the scenes look of organising one of the largest EDM festivals in the United States. 

No Cameras Allowed (2014).
An MTV sponsored documentary that follows James Marcus Haney's journey of breaking into music festivals and inserting himself into the world of some of the biggest names in the industry.

If you’ve had enough of the documentary format then try a selection of some of the best rated films with a music festival theme. Many festival goers will surely relate to this selection of comedy focused films: 

Festival (2005).
A British comedy film about a collection of people at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with many scenes shot in the previous year's festival the film gives a good overview of the famous comedy festival.

Tonight, You’re Mine (You Instead) 2011.
A romantic rock comedy based at the T in the Park music festival features two fictitious feuding rock stars who get handcuffed together.

The Festival (2018).
In typical British comedy fashion this is one of the most recent films centred around a music festival and well worth a watch.

Hopefully this collection of documentaries and films will inspire those working in the music festival business to look forward to 2021 with enthusiasm in the knowledge that 2020 will be firmly in the past.

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Andy Robertson
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