The parklands of the ancient Glastonbury Abbey will host the 2012 Orchestra in a Field music festival in July.
The two-day festival is organised by international conductor and BBC TV’s ‘face of classical music’ Charles Hazlewood. He says: ‘People associate big orchestras with stuffy concert halls, and a lot of people are alienated by that image of “classical music”. But take the music out of that setting, and it’s a revelation.
‘Imagine a brightly lit stage in the middle of a field at night, and the sheer sensory assault of a symphony orchestra at full tilt, plus soloists and a big chorus – it’s an amazing spectacle, let alone the sound!’
The main concert items will be Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Bizet’s Carmen. The Mussorgsky piece will include improvised replies to the orchestra from Charles Hazlewood’s All Stars, a musical ‘supergroup’ featuring Will Gregory from Goldfrapp and Adrian Utley from Portishead.
Other highlights of the festival will include a performance of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, the world’s largest-ever electric guitar group (the Adrian Utley Guitar Orchestra) and a performance by the Scrapheap Orchestra which is an orchestra made out of scrap material and the recent subject of a major BBC TV film.
The British Paraorchestra, the UK’s first-ever national disabled orchestra will also perform.
Glastonbury Abbey is set in 15 hectares (36 acres) of parkland in the centre of the ancient market town of Glastonbury. Before the Reformation, the Abbey was the most powerful in the land and it is believed to be the site of the oldest Christian church in England and the resting place of three early English kings.
Orchestra In A Field is on 30 June and 1 July, with tickets priced from £20 to £65 for a weekend ticket with camping at Worthy Farm.