In contemporary Western culture death and dying are generally regarded as something to fight against, deny, hide from public view and above all fear.
But what if we were to look at them differently? Despite understandable fear and denial, there are good reasons to explore death and dying. Thinking about the end of life–our own and that of others–can make us our lives richer, deeper and more valuable to us. If we understand it we can better prepare for own deaths and the deaths of those we love. Death, in truth is a normal part of life.
So how do we change?
Inspired by the trailblazers in this field, our contribution is to start a local festival of death and dying in early November which is the time our culture has traditionally remembered the dead. In other countries this is a time of gathering of friends and family to celebrate the dead and make death a normal part of life. We see this time as an opportunity we could make more of in our communities- hence a non-religious festival of death and dying open to all people with a faith or no faith.
The Festival of Death and Dying at St.John's Glastonbury is a pilot. We are hoping to create a sustainable and replicable celebration that could be put together in any town, city or village. Our goal is to create something special that inspires others to do the same in their community with the talents at hand.
The festival is an invitation to share grief, explore death, combat fear, be inspired and encouraged to talk about death with each other; and is entirely powered by goodwill and donation.
The spirit of the festival is openess and inclusion: we welcome people of all ages and stages in life, of all faiths and with no faith. Death excludes no-one, nor do we.
Henrietta Lang - Curator
David MacGeoch - Vicar of Glastonbury
Supporting the Glastonbury Festival of Death and Dying
@ St,John's Glastonbury
The Bereavement team
The Welcoming team
The Catering team
Charles Hazlewood – music
Charlotte Church - music
The British Paraorchestra
Bruce Munro – lighting
Maya Love – sound
Members of the Singing for Joy choir
St. Margaret’s Hospice
Annie Maw – Lord Lieutenant of Somerset
Ashley Wild . Wild Tree Services
Phillip Welch - Glastonbury FM
Blue Cedar Printworks