The largest greenfield festival in the world could grow even bigger
Glastonbury Festival could increase its crowd capacity in the coming years if it decides to implement a new updated variation of its licence.
In a Licensing Board meeting – held at Shepton Mallet’s Council Chamber (September 2018) – the Worthy Farm event was given the go-ahead to increase its capacity to 210,000 by Mendip District Council.
Glastonbury is already the largest greenfield festival in the world, welcoming a total of 203,000 people to its 2019 edition of the festival.
A former councillor, noted that the Glastonbury festival license had recently been varied to increase the number of attendees by 3.4%, which would equate to a further 7,000 people.
Glastonbury’s current number of tickets available for public purchase stands at 135,000, which means adding the additional 7,000 tickets will see that number increase to a total of 142,000 public tickets.
This licence variation had been sought “in order to avoid an increase in the ticket price”, while allocating all the 7,000 extra tickets to Glasto-goers arriving via public transport.
Glastonbury’s current licence – runs until 2024, at which point the festival will have to re-apply for a brand new licence – makes provision for 5,000 Sunday tickets sold exclusively to local residents, and 63,000 tickets for staff, volunteers, performers and traders.
On their website, MDC states that the council “has a good working relationship with the festival organisers and all of the partners involved in the running of the event, which is what helps to make it one of the best music festivals in the world”.
Although the festival now has the scope to increase its capacity, it is currently unclear whether the number of attendees will actually be increased for Glastonbury 2020.
Back in 2017 Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis told the International Festival Forum (IFF) that organisers are “looking at increasing the numbers by about 30,000”.
“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…”
With extra 30,000 tickets which are bound to get grabbed up like hotcakes, it would be the wet dream come true for most festival promoters.
Eavis, however, is renowned for giving away the vast majority of the profits to charity, which means the move would not be about making more money – not for himself at least.
“It costs about £30m to build the show, with about £2m left over,” said Eavis, “and we give away £2m to various charities.
Eavis stressed how his wonderful farm and loving family were enough rewards for him, though the rise in ticket sales could see more money going to the festival’s charity partners – adding that “If you’re well off enough to live like I do, with a wonderful farm, a wonderful family, that’s enough for me.”
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Looking ahead to 2020, Glastonbury has confirmed that the first tickets for next year’s festival will go up for grabs at the beginning of October – with coach + ticket packages on sale at 6pm BST on Thursday, 3rd October, before general admission tickets at 9am BST on Sunday, 6th October.
The first line-up taster will probably not be unveiled by the festival’s officials until the end of March/beginning of April – meanwhile, feel free to check out all the latest rumours here.
Glastonbury 2020 will take place at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset – from Wednesday 24th to Sunday 28th June.