Why a festival of death and dying?

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


Marisa Picardo

Vicki Purple

Liz Pearson

Candace Bahouth

Lucy Glendinning

Kate Robinson

Traci Postings

Heather Price

Lottie Berrryman

Sarah Leigh

Maggie Crisp

Jacinth Latta

Natasha Smith

Jil Dunmore

Sheena Loveday

Blue Cedar Printworks