If there are two festivals guaranteed to get music journos on their high horses and arguing over which is best, it’s Glastonbury and Coachella. The UK and US big guns respectively have made their names as festival giants over the years, with many penning the dates in their calendar and scoping out tickets a year in advance. There’s no doubting that both are the most popular and highly anticipated events in their respective homelands, and others don’t quite compare. Just how well do these two festivals stand up against each other?

Line-up

Well, Arcade Fire are the common denominator in the 2014 line up, both playing headline slots. It’s hard to compare both line-ups in 2014 as Glasto has only announced its first wave of acts playing the festival, with one all-important headliner yet to be named. Truth is, both festivals fight to host a line-up of the hottest and biggest selling bands of the moment, alongside a swathe of new up-and-comers. However, Glastonbury has always pioneered radical line-up shake-ups, with Jay-Z almost unthinkably filling the headline slot on the Saturday in 2008, 2 years before Coachella invited him to top the bill.

History

We know Glastonbury wins this one hands down, having turned 40 a few years ago, whilst Coachella has only been partying since 1999. However, we know it’s not the number of years that count, but what they have given us that matters. It’s fair to say that Glastonbury has come a long way since the 70s, being a festival with peace at the forefront. Sure, peace and bohemian values are still celebrated, but as the biggest festival in the UK, it’s fallen victim to the commercialism of festivals, trying to accommodate growing crowd numbers, pulling in the biggest headliners and making the headlines with their announcements. Coachella however, is still at the relative beginning of its success story, growing in the last 15 years from a relatively small two-day event to a larger, globally celebrated festival which takes place across two separate weekends.

Atmosphere

Although, the times have a-changed, Glastonbury still promotes the same values, and you’ll still find loads of people living a simple, peaceful life and celebrating a free-spiritedness which now seems so foreign to many of us. With the campsite open for almost a whole week, and impromptu gigs, performances and gatherings taking place during the course of the festival, it’s a far more laid-back affair than the likes of Coachella. The Californian festival on the other hand is home to celebs and paps alike, with the fashion pages commanding most of the attention from the festival. Although, celebs still attend Glasto, there’s a far less high society approach, and considering the weather most years, it’s mostly function over fashion in the clothes department for all. Gossip columns and fash mags go daft over who was at Coachella and who wore what.

Weather/Timing

Although Coachella takes place early in the year, and is considered by many as the kick-off of the festival season, there’s never the worry of weather. Taking place in California helps a lot. As the first festival of the season taking place in a fairly static climate, allowing it to act as a showcase both for the music to come and the fashions to come over the duration of festival season. Glastonbury however, is always held over or around the summer solstice, capturing the longest daylight hours for festival goers. As we know, the weather is unpredictable and everyone has to prepare for all seasons. Wellies and waterproof tents are a must, but so are your sunglasses and factor 15.

There’s no doubt these festivals are both giants and great at what they do. While Coachella is a relative newbie in the festival scene, it has managed to achieve success at a monumental rate. However, it’s Glastonbury with its rich heritage, laid-back approach and pioneering techniques that just pips Coachella at the post. Long live Glasto!

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