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The Tapas Experience

Glastonbury Festival runs from 26 to 30 June 2019

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Key Stage 4/5


To explore our understanding of an inclusive rather than exclusive attitude to relationships.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and three readers.
  • Optional: you may wish to research details of the line-up for Glastonbury.


Leader: Have you got your Glastonbury tickets yet? If not, I’m afraid youre out of luck. They sold out within 36 minutes when they went on sale early in October last year, despite the fact that they cost more than £250 each. This was before most of the line-up had been announced. Stormzy and Kylie were the only high-profile acts already on the bill, although it has since been announced that The Killers and The Cure will be the other headliners.

Glastonburys come a long way since its beginnings in 1970. Inspired by other festivals in Somerset, Michael Eavis, who farmed near the village of Pilton, held the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival on his land over a September weekend. The acts who performed then are now either dead or well into retirement. The ticket price was £1, which included free milk from Eavis own cows, and was paid by 1,500 people. The following year, 12,000 attended, not least because that year, the whole festival was a free event. Nowadays, attendance figures are over 100,000.

One of the main features of the modern Glastonbury Festival is its variety. There are over 80 different performance stages, grouped into specific areas.

Reader 1: Most popular of all is the Pyramid Stage, where the main acts perform.

Reader 2: Silver Hayes hosts dance acts while the John Peel Stage is for the indie crowd.

Reader 3: The Green Fields and The Park usually have a more mellow feeling . . .

Reader 1: . . . while the Theatre & Circus fields cater for a less musical style of performance.

Reader 2: Glastonbury has been described as lots of different festivals converging on the same place.

Reader 3: Whatever your taste in music or performance, whatever your age group, there will be somewhere at Glastonbury that you will feel at home.

Leader: This year, the organizers suggest that visitors enjoy a tapas experience. Does anyone know what ‘tapas’ means?

Listen to a range of responses.

Tapas is the Spanish name for small dishes of food or snacks. The idea with tapas is that, instead of consuming a large meal in a restaurant, punters eat several small dishes of food spread over the evening, often in a variety of establishments. Its a way of tasting many items on the menu, of sampling something new amid the familiar.

So, the Glastonbury organizers have suggested that visitors try out as many different performance areas as they can. Some may already be their kind of thing, or acts they have come specifically to watch. But they are encouraged to try some new experiences, too, and listen to acts that theyve never heard of to expand their range. This could lead to some mistakes, but theres always the chance to move on swiftly. In the meantime, there will almost certainly be some pleasant surprises and some prejudices broken down. Hopefully, the experience of Glastonbury will be one of new discoveries and an expanded listening catalogue.

Time for reflection

Having a tapas experience has several benefits in terms of social skills. First, it helps us to discern why we like what we like. Sometimes, preferences are a gut reaction, but we can be influenced too easily by advertising or peer pressure. It is a sign of growing maturity to be able to distinguish thoughtfully between our likes and dislikes and to be able to explain why we prefer certain styles.

Second, its a sign that we feel secure in who we are when we deliberately explore something new and go outside our comfort zone. Its like travelling to a country thats a bit off the tourist route and making a new discovery. We may be a little uncertain at first, but we could be amazed by what we discover.

The tapas experience is also relevant to our social interaction. Do we spend free time only with those who are our own age, share our tastes and offer no threat or disagreement? It is a natural choice, but in doing so, we may be limiting our personal growth.

When Jesus taught that we should love our neighbour, he wasnt referring only to those who are close to us. When someone asked Jesus who his neighbour was, Jesus gave an example of the type of person who was the complete opposite to the questioner. Jesus taught that the tapas experience is the way to grow as a person. He taught that we should meet with people who are different from us so that we can understand them, support them and tolerate our differences. This helps us to see through the prejudices and stereotypes that are flung at us every day in the media and sometimes even from our friends and family.

Lets make an action plan to follow this up. Let’s make it our aim today to have a meaningful conversation with someone outside our family who is younger than us, someone who is older than us, someone who has a different set of interests and someone with whom we know we disagree. Dont let it be a confrontation. Simply enquire whats good in their life. Maybe even whats bad in their life. Let the conversation develop naturally or simply draw to a close.

Let’s enjoy the tapas experience!

Dear Lord,
Thank you that we arent all the same.
Remind us of this when we meet people who are different to us.
May we value the variety of experience that we can all share.

Publication date: June 2019   (Vol.21 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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