With the extremely sad news that Glastonbury Festival has been cancelled (read their statement here) for the second year running due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we bring you some fun facts about the festival as a reminder as to why this staple in the events industry calendar, that supports the livelihood of so many companies, crew and their families, must be protected and supported by the UK government.
- The first festival took place in 1970, the day after the death of Jimi Hendrix. Ticket sales for the 1500-strong audience were £1 and included a free glass of milk.
- On the topic of milk, it’s rumoured that the dairy cows residing at Worthy Farm (the location of Glastonbury Festival), produce even more milk during the festival weekend; perhaps from the booming bass echoing across the fields, or maybe the cows simply pick up on the happy vibes!
- The festival was called ‘Pilton Festival’ until 1981 when it was renamed.
- Glamping tents at the festival in recent years have costed as much as £9000 and are complete with TVs and flushing toilets- c’mon is that the real Glastonbury experience?!
- In 2004 Paul McCartney was paid £175,000 for his headline slot… but also received a £1000 fine from the local council for exceeding the festival noise curfew!
- The festival chugs through a massive 30 megawatts of electricity and, for that weekend, becomes the second most populated township in Somerset, after Bath.
- In 1994 the Pyramid Stage burned down due to suspected arson. That original version of the structure was constructed using some donated second-hand MOD corrugated iron.
- It reportedly costs £22M to put on Glastonbury each year, but it’s said to be worth £82M.
- One year a murder trial in London had to be put on hold so that one of the jurors could attend the festival.
- Every five years Michael Eavis takes a year off to let the fields recover from the strain of the festival… lets hope these extra two years off at least do some good from that respect.
So now we wait with baited breath to see which other festivals will also sadly cancel for 2021.
Due to Glastonbury’s large infrastructure and attractions, building and planning for the event is a process that starts well in advance of other events of a similar nature. With the cancellation of England’s biggest music event announced today, other festivals may be looking at cancelling their events due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic.
The good news is that so many smaller music festivals already established in England take less planning, infrastructure and building, a lot of these could be cancelled or run on a more last minute basis.
Could the smaller festival be king of the festivals this year? Over the next few months, with more vaccination and lockdown restrictions meaning lower case numbers, smaller events will hopefully not suffer the same fate as Glastonbury 2021.
Here is a link to a blog post we wrote about #letthemusicplay.