Music festivals on film! 8 of our favourites to celebrate Glastonbury's return

Glastonbury is upon us for the first time in three years. So, to mark the occasion, we've brought you eight of our favourite music festival movies, ones that celebrate the irresistibly exhilarating festival experience in all its bleary-eyed, crowd-surfing glory. 

Scroll down to discover our choices. And if you really want to get into the spirit of things, you can always don some wellies and forego the deodorant as you read. 

1. Woodstock (1970)

Quite possibly the music documentary to end them all, this is a mammoth, three-hour chronicling of the most famous festival of all time. Edited by (among others) Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese, it's a fascinating and candid depiction of a watershed moment in pop culture history, with the raw footage of the likes of Jimi Hendrix positively burning off the screen. If only we could go back...

2. Gimme Shelter (1970)

Boldly delving into the darker side of the festival experience, this blistering documentary movie explores the violence that erupted at the Altamont concert at the end of The Rolling Stones' 1969 tour. That the incident took place just four months after the life-affirming Woodstock makes the events all the more disturbing.

3. Message to Love (1970)

One thing's for certain: 1970 was the best year for festival documentaries. An enjoyably anarchic account of that year's Isle of Wight festival, the movie explores the various upsets and calamities that befell the event, including crowds invading the stage and large-scale riots. The movie wasn't in fact released until 1997, which only served to make its footage of Jimi Hendrix (in his final UK appearance) and others all the more potent. 

4. Wayne's World 2 (1993)

Ex-squeeze me? Wayne's World 2, a festival movie? Well, don't forget that in Mike Myers' comedy sequel, eponymous slacker Wayne decides to put on the 'Waynestock' concert. Brilliantly, he's inspired when The Doors frontman Jim Morrison, accompanied by 'a weird naked Indian,' appears to him in a dream. Among the bands booked by Wayne: Aerosmith, Pearl Jam and Van Halen.

5. All Tomorrow's Parties (2009)

This documentary explores the history of the eponymous alternative music festival, named after the song by The Velvet Underground. Described as 'post-punk DIY bricolage' (whatever that is), the film is comprised of footage shot by people attending the festival itself, with camcorders, mobile phones and a host of other devices used to capture the pulsating atmosphere of this popular event.

6. Taking Woodstock (2009)

Overlooked in Life of Pi director Ang Lee's oeuvre, this flower power-infused drama is an affectionate, dramatised account of how the eponymous music festival was founded. The film is based on Elliot Tiber's memoir 'Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, A Concert and a Life,' with the cast including Britain's very own Imelda Staunton.

7. You Instead (2011)

Scotland's T in the Park festival takes centre stage in this offbeat British indie, which sees two bickering rockers handcuffed together just before they're due to go on stage. Let's face it, that's unlikely to happen to The Killers. Still, at least the atmosphere is reasonably authentic: the filmmakers shot for five days during the 2010 edition of the festival and utilised the footage in the movie.


8. Summer of Soul (... Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Questlove's terrific, Oscar-winning documentary takes as its basis the so-called 'Black Woodstock.' In 1969, New York hosted the Harlem Cultural Festival, which instigated an extraordinary outpouring of solidarity and creative spirit for Manhattan's marginalised communities.

The event occurred at the same time Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, which instigates some amusing shrugs in the remarkably well-put-together archive footage. As for the music that's showcased, well, take a deep breath. Featured on the screen (among others): Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Stevie Wonder and Mavis Staples.


Missed out on Glasto 2022 tickets? Then scratch that musical itch by experiencing Elvis on the biggest Cineworld screen you can find.

Austin Butler is sensational as The King in Baz Luhrmann's typically exuberant and flamboyant movie. Every frame is filled with a riot of colour and design as Presley's remarkable life story, mottled with equal parts success and tragedy, makes for simply unmissable drama.

Click here to book your tickets for Elvis, opening in Cineworld on 24 June.