Eat your heart out Michael Eavis


This post has been brewing for a while. Indeed, it had been brewing for so long that it was going to get forgotten.

So what was it that brought it out? Well, it was the full-page colour advert in Saturday’s Guardian begging people to register to buy tickets for this year’s Glastonbury Festival. Apparently, there are still some 30,000 tickets up for grabs, a month, yes a month, after they went on sale. Last year they sold out in 2 hours!

The bad weather of recent years and this year’s line up with US rapper Jay-Z headlining have both been blamed by different parties. But the weather has always been an issue – no big change there. And you usually don’t know the line up before you buy your tickets – they are just rumours at that stage. Neither line-up or weather can explain such a huge vote of no confidence.

For me, and many others, it’s neither of these. The elephant in the room, the thing nobody seems to want to talk about is that fact that Michael Eavis has ‘done a Ratner’. On 23 April 1991 Gerald Ratner said:

We also do cut-glass
sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that
your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, "How
can you sell this for such a low price?" I say, because it’s total crap.

On 12 July 2007 Festival Guide reported:

Michael Eavis believes that there were too many old people at this year’s Glastobury Festival.

The farmer wants to attract a younger audience to the Worthy Farm
extravaganza, saying that the 2007 crowd was too “middle-class” and too

He told the Metro: “We’re trying to get the youngsters back – the
16, 17 and 18 year-olds – because numbers were down this year. People
say we’re getting middle class, which is stretching it a bit far, but
we’re attracting a lot more people in their 30s and 40s.”

Mr Eavis continued: “These kids add so much to the flavour of it and
should have a lot of fun but we’re getting the 30 and 40-year-olds in,
which changes the character of it.

"The demographic is changing and it’s slightly worrying. We might lose the fascination the show has for the public.

"The people who now come have the right attitude, they grin and bear
the mud. They’re fantastically well mannered and polite, and
respectable, but they do change the nature of the show."

Arrogant in the extreme in my view. A big mistake. Glastonbury has changed over the years and no doubt those who manage it want to influence this change but this is not the way to do it.

Glastonbury - The RigWe started going to Glastonbury in 2002 when our daughter suggested we all went. We slept in the car (you’re not allowed to do that now) and the kids did their own thing and camped and we met up now again over the three days – perfect. This was one of the unique things about Glastonbury. It was a place for everybody.

To be honest, before Eavis’ coments I was re-thinking Glastonbury anyway. It wasn’t the weather or the headliners. For me Glasonbury isn’t about the headliners it’s about surprise appearances by Armadou and Mariam, discovering ‘Urban Space Lab’ in the Jazz lounge (it’s a tent!) and smiling respectfully as Tony Benn addresses those gathered in the ‘Left Fiield’. Then there’s the Zen Hussies, Jerry Fish & The Mud Blug Club . . .


I was having a re-think because last year they increased the ticket allocation by 27,500 (that’s nearly an extra £4m in ticket sales) and it was too many and the place couldn’t cope. I remember making our way home when the Killers were on the Pyramid stage. They were still in mid set. Yet the crowds extended way beyond the audience area and into the market. I was in a familiar place yet totally disorientated (must be my age!). Mud we can stand, but trying to stand – or even walk – in half a metre of churned chocolate means one thing: too many people.

Michael, I think you’ve pushed us too far. Your site can only support a ticket allocation of 112,500 and you’re trying to cram in 140,000. You’ve made it clear that us ‘oldies’ are spoiling things. The trouble is, us oldies have children and grandchildren and we all enjoy a good crack!

Reduce the numbers, say you’re sorry and the next time I come I’ll bring my grandchildren.

Glastonbury - it's an inter-generational thingGlastonburyAliens at Glastonbury

Notes on photos:
1) Was this Banksey?
2) Our campervan that we bought on eBay after the ‘sleeping in the car experience’ of 2002. Note the space we had. In recent year’s we’ve been really crammed in.
3) Sheltering from a storm in the van with a 50 year-old 
– fantastically well mannered and polite, and
respectable, but they do change the nature of the show –
you arrogant old fart!
4) Glastonbury WAS an inter-generational thing
5) It’s not about the weather
6) I think I’d like to spend more time on the planet she’s come from.

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One Response to Eat your heart out Michael Eavis

  1. Ed says:

    Fair enough indeed I say.
    It’s also weird as Glastonbury was mental when it was all fence hopping and raggas and late night soundsystems in the late 80s early 90s, then the wall came in, the instant crime was removed, but the natural progression of ‘festival becoming respectable’ was set in motion. While it was gentrifying itself, Glastonbury gave birth to an entire market, and now there are more than 500 ‘festivals’ to cater for an increasingly sliced and diced market.
    And ‘growth’: why does it have to ‘grow’ like everything else in our private sector-ed world? I thought perhaps that one definition of ‘festival’ is something that bucks that sort of behaviour, but obviously not. But I am hopelessly naiive!
    Renewing the youth vote: It is not possible to ‘re-attract a passed wave of serendipity’; I encounter organisations regularly wishing to do this ‘we want a community’ thing, and that is not dissimilar to wanting to attract a younger audience at the expense of your stalwarts. You can’t simply put on a new coat and command new punters – it’s organic.
    It was ghastly last year though 🙂 At one point I couldn’t hear Gogol Bordello it was raining so hard, and as you say, the exit from The Killers (where the bottom end wasn’t working so we didn’t get the full sound anyway) was almost depressing, not to mention the looong muddddy walk around the site afterwards…
    And maybe we are too old 🙂
    Come to Shambala, WOMAD, or Bestival.

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