Glastonbury is one of the biggest and arguably most diverse music festivals, and since its first iteration in 1970, it has paved the way for UK live music events for decades.
In the early years, the festival was known as Glastonbury Fair, and its anti-commercial aims and inclusive ethos made it a behemoth in the world of live music and performing arts. The format has continued to expand, becoming a sprawling celebration of creativity.
So understandably, we were exceptionally excited to be asked to come up with the design and build of the Spike Stage, a brand new area introduced to the festival in 2015.
The Spike Stage was to be a new addition within the Glade area, and the intention was to create an exciting intimate space for music, tucked away in the trees. Our brief was to design a tree-stage, timber walkways and dance floor which would sit well within the existing layout, and connect to the natural features of Glastonbury’s beautiful farmland setting.
Though the Spike Stage build was relatively small in terms of the area it covered, the challenge we faced was the short period of access to site. This is true for the whole festival site to build, with the transformation of the setting from active farmland to a finished festival site, ready to welcome its visitors taking only a few short weeks!
The design of the Spike Stage meant building through the trees, and there was some additional design and tweaking to make sure it was a perfect fit to the lie of the land. Close collaboration between the design and build teams, and our knowledge and experience of working on site with, around and in forest areas, all meant that CAP.CO’s build team had the flexibility to adapt the build during the short build period.
The design focused on creating multiple layers in the trees, with a raised and enclosed DJ booth beneath the bough of a tall ash tree, and separate bars along timber boardwalks which expanded into wider glade-like areas. This emphasis on layering connected with the existing trees and enhanced the distinctive intimate atmosphere of being within The Spike.
The response to the Spike was great, and the project’s greatest reward was seeing the area come to life across the festival.