Festival Bankruptcy: Is Glastonbury Doomed?


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Glastonbury organisers are set to do “everything they can” to organise a return for 2021.

“2021 will be a ‘double celebration’” – Emily Eavis, Jun 2020

For the Somerset farm, it was a quiet and lonely year. Not because they decided to take a year off to let the grass replenish again, but because they had no choice in the matter this year.

I can’t tell you how much we’d love to welcome everyone back to the farm! 

Despite the “huge uncertainty” surrounding live music during these times, Glastonbury organisers Michael and Emily Eavis are optimistically hopeful that the festival can go ahead in 2021.

Of course, with vaccination tests being pushed throughout the UK to the vulnerable, it brings many festival collaborators and organisers anticipating something wondrous on the horizon and soon enough, they will be whipping out their contact book.

But, with cancellation insurance and casting aside large sums of money for cancelling events causing problems, we don’t want to run the risk of getting our hopes up and having to cancel all over again. The impact would be truly devastating and would surely be the end of Glastonbury returning at such a level as they have in most recent years.

“We’re doing everything we can on our end to plan and prepare, but there are still just so many unknowns and factors which are completely out of our control.”

Emily Eavis, BBC interview, 2020

Michael Eavis recently stated that cancelled the festival in 2020, cost them “millions” and if they had to do that again for the second year running? There have been warnings that the festival “would seriously go bankrupt” if that were to happen.

Control is a considerably hard factor to achieve, especially for the 200,000 who attend Glastonbury every year. How can you possibly control such a large festival scale so consistently? Socially distanced zones; cordoned off audiences; sanitation areas?

 “Clearly the vaccine is being rolled out, and that’s great news, but there isn’t yet any kind of clarity or consensus on what things will look like in May – when we’d usually have thousands of staff on site – or June, when we’d obviously have the festival.”

Michael Eavis, BBC, 2020

This is the problem. It is simply far too early to tell what the circumstances will be in May next year. Will we have controlled the spread of the virus by then? Would we be able to attend concerts, gigs, festivals and art events? Or will it be too unviable to achieve and enjoy?

With Glastonbury set to celebrate 50 years of memories of live music, arts and community, the pandemic could not have come at a worse time, anniversary-wise for the festival. But, it will simply mean that when they do return, it will be twice as big, I can assure you of that.

With festival organisers alike Micheal and Emily Eavis imploring for the UK Government to invest into an event cancellation fund like the Germans did too, the whole UK festival industry would certainly welcome something similar to get them through the worry of having to cancel their events again.

Among the uncertainty though, the hope and the anticipation to return to live music has never felt greater when you speak about Glastonbury. And while this year has shown the strength of community, efficiency and dexterity, it has also shown us our desire to have everything we loved back again that has been lost since March. The excitement, the thrill and joy live entertainment brings.

And most importantly … FESTIVALS!

… The feeling of a thousand different smells littering your nostrils as you pass the flood of food trucks …

…. The sounds of hearing the sheer volume and combination of seven other tents, accumulating to a mass of noise – that you simply don’t know where to go to next … all the while having the equivalent of trench-foot in the bottom of your soles.

But – whatever you say about the cost, the smell, the noise, the exhaustion you feel each night, you simply can’t beat UK festival season.

For the sake of replenishing the hope of festival season returning for all music fans in the UK, we sincerely hope Glastonbury is not doomed and is not at the risk of bankruptcy. If that was likely to occur any time soon, I do not doubt that the music industry would just see it go.

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