Glastonbury 2014 marks the end of the beard

Following extensive analysis, we can reveal that this weekend’s Glastonbury headliners, Kasabian and Metallica, could represent the zenith of ‘peak beard’, with the length of the artists’ hair and stubble reaching the same lengths not seen since the previous peak of the 1980s. Our research into the facial hair of the 86 headliners from 1970-2014 shows a 20 year cyclical trend in the popularity of beards, which is set to peak again in 2014.


According to our Glastonbury ‘Groom-O-Meter’, 2014 marks the beginning of a tipping point, and the clean shaven look is set to re-emerge — a cyclical trend which has been in existence since the beginning of the festival. The last period of ‘peak beard’ was the 80’s, with Hawkwind being Glastonbury’s hairiest ever headline act, appearing in 1981 and receiving a score of 10 on our Groom-O-Meter, thanks to the band’s shoulder length locks and bushy beards. Overall, the 80s is the shaggiest era of the festival’s history, earning an average score of 6.4, a feat owed to the fashionably unkempt styles of bands such as Weather Report, The Boomtown Rats and The Cure.

The 90’s marked the decline of the beard, with the average hairiness of acts dropping to 3.5 on the Groom-O-Meter. This downward trend continued into the 2000s, which shaved off a few more decimal places to reach an average of 3.3 for the decade. Overall, 2003 was the golden year for well-groomed acts, with clean shaved Moby and R.E.M’s Michael Stipe both appearing as headliners.

With the popularity of beards tending to fluctuate through 10 year cycles, and with 2003 the most renowned period of well-groomed acts, we predict that 2015 and beyond will see the return of clean shaved acts back to the Glastonbury stage. With popular bands and artists often at the cutting edge of fashion, this suggests that the popularity of the beard may well be on the wane. Watch this space.

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