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Glastonbury Festival could increase its capacity by an extra 30,000 tickets

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Glastonbury Festival could offer 30,000 extra tickets in the future, according to comments made by Michael Eavis during a speech in London

Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis spoke about an ample of topics at this year’s International Festival Forum (IFF) on Thursday (September 28).

Perhaps the most exciting disclosure for Glasto fans will be the increased opportunity to bag the golden ticket for Glastonbury Festival could increase substantially in future years, as Glastonbury is well known for its fast-selling recording breaking tickets sellouts every year.

Looking ahead to the future, Eavis revealed the festival is “looking at increasing the numbers by about 30,000”, pushing Glastonbury’s capacity up to 280,000 (accounting fans and staff combined) which is over a quarter of a million people, if you think of it! “We started with 100 acres; we’re now up to 1,500 acres,” he explained.

“We’re looking at increasing that, but I don’t think we need to really. I’m not desperate to increase it. There’s value in it being smaller and harder to get to – it makes it a bit more exclusive…”

That being said, and with extra 30,000 tickets which are bound to get grabbed up like hotcakes, it would be the wet dream come true for most of festival promoters.

Eavis, on the other hand, is renowned for giving away the vast majority of the profits to charity. “It costs about £30m to build the show, with about £2m left over,” said Eavis, “and we give away £2m to various charities.

“If you’re well off enough to live like I do, with a wonderful farm, a wonderful family, that’s enough for me.”

Speaking with IFF’s Emma Banks, Eavis also revealed that at the first ever Glastonbury (then called Worthy Farm Pop Festival) he couldn’t afford to pay T-Rex’s Marc Bolan straight away – “Marc did a marvellous set, with the sun going down; it was wonderful. I told him, ‘I can’t pay you, but I’ll give you £100 per month for five months.’ He got paid, but he wasn’t happy about it.” Eavis recalls.

He also mentions the spike in numbers at Glastonbury 1985 after Michael Heseltine shut down the Stonehenge festival – “We’d been going half-cocked until then, breaking even and not making any money,” explained Eavis. “[After Stonehenge was closed] we had 50,000 people came down to Glastonbury instead. All that Stonehenge stuff, the hippies, the creativity, they all came down my lovely farm. It was the middle of the [Margaret] Thatcher years, there was a lot of discontent, and people saw me as a decent bloke and came to work for me for free.”

Eavis went on to share his Glastonbury 2008 fears that the festival would go bust due to the controversial choice to pick Jay-Z as a headliner, criticised by the likes of Oasis’ Noel Gallagher at the time, which eventually helped them sell out all tickets late in the day.

2018 is set to be a “fallow year” for the festival and indeed for the land at Worthy Farm, as Glastonbury returns with renewed powers in 2019.

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