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Glasgowbury Music Festival History

Making its initial appearance during the summer of 2000, the Glasgowbury Music Festival began as a small gathering of local bands and songwriters to raise awareness of the Ulster Cancer Foundation.

Glasgowbury Early Days;

The festival got its name from a moment of comedy genius in reference to Glastonbury taking place at the same time and the family name ‘Glasgow’. The name has now become inspirational to new and emerging talent from across the country looking for an outlet for expression and performance.

The following year was proof that word had clearly spread and the ‘Small But Massive’ motto was born. News soon filtered back to the towns and cities that something rather special and unbelievable was occurring near Draperstown and everyone wanted a piece.

In 2003 the response was staggering. Radio, television and press began to sit up and take notice and with two stages, 24 acts and camping and parking facilities, the little festival had tapped into a public desire. Glasgowbury had transformed into a mini city of peace, love and harmonies.

In 2004, the festival was on the move again but never failed to lose sight of its goals, constantly offering that platform which had seen it so widely praised. The following year would see Glasgowbury move indoors, before finally settling into its now legendary home at Eagles Rock in the heart of the Sperrins.

The spectacular backdrop has become associated with the forever friendly atmosphere and ethos of the festival and acts climbing the mountain soon became plentiful and established. While nurturing the talent that would eventually reach their pinnacle before coming back to roost at the festival that gave them a chance, Glasgowbury started to pull in the big guns.

Early memorable performances from the likes of Red Organ Serpent Sound, Duke Special, The Undertones and Henry McCullough set a standard of excellence for the emerging new talent including acts like the now established And So I Watch You From Afar, Fighting With Wire, The Answer, Axis Of, General Fiasco, Silhouette and The Wonder Villains.

In 2009 the festival was a sell out success as a capacity crowd of thousands came together under the one sky in the Sperrins to witness one of the most special festivals yet as And So I Watch You From Afar catapulted the main stage to iconic new heights.

In 2010, the Glasgowbury Music Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary with 5,000 happy punters across a colossal weekend of entertainment and celebration. 56 acts were spread across a total of 5 stages atop Eagle’s Rock with some of the most memorable experiences in local music recorded on one July day.

2011 saw similarly unforgettable times for 60 acts including headline performances from Cashier No. 9, The Answer and Phil Kieran while we were proud to introduce our first ever comedy stage to widespread acclaim.

With the 2012 festival, Glasgowbury welcomed in excess of 60 acts to Eagles Rock spread across six stages with NI rock giants Therapy? overlooking the headline duties.

After 13 years and countless performances from the best in homegrown musical talent, Glasgowbury bid farewell to its annual home at Eagle’s Rock in truly unforgettable fashion. Amongst many other acts on the bill, headliners And So I Watch You From Afar, The Japanese Popstars and The Answer delivered storming performances.

Arguably the festival’s most exhilarating showcase to date – expanding to a two day event for the first time – the event marked Glasgowbury’s ‘Small But Massive’ transition into new territories after over a decade providing an unparalleled platform for up and coming and established artists throughout the country.

To the innumerable cast of volunteers, crew and artists involved in positively ensuring that the Glasgowbury Festival legacy will live long in the memory, we would like to express our deepest gratitude and thanks. Thanks also to the landowners, the funders, sponsors, supporters, ticket buyers and all who have made Glasgowbury the success it has been.

The objectives of the festival developed over years to expand as a training ground for the creative industries as a whole for emerging artists, positions in the media and creative industries and the event sector such as photographers, filmmakers, box office managers, marketers, sound and lighting technicians, health & safety management and journalists.

The growth in popularity of the festival has been evidenced with a multitude of awards including Best Small Festival, Best Line Up and Best Family Festival at the Irish Festival Awards, the awarding of Best Festival at the first ever NI Music Awards 2011 and most recently Paddy Glasgow being awarded Festival Promoter of the year at the UK Festival Awards 2013.

The festival’s success has also led organisations such as the Association of Independent Festivals and the British Council to call upon Glasgowbury for representation on panels and discussions in the UK as well as local education establishments and industry events in NI calling upon Paddy Glasgow as a key note speaker and panellist.

New challenges lie ahead for Glasgowbury with the move to a listed landmark building in Draperstown and the development of a creative hub for Mid Ulster’s rural dwellers. Glasgowbury remains committed to developing artists and audiences and aim to work in partnership with non-arts and arts events to diversify its existing offering while providing new platforms for local artists and further opportunities for technical and event management trainees.

Glasgowbury are available for consulting on and supporting other local events/festivals with plans to introduce the ‘Small But Massive’ ethos further afield, supporting and promoting our homegrown talent nationally and internationally.

…small but MASSIVE!