“I would like to do something smaller somewhere around the anniversary date of when we started, which was the 18th of September 1970”
Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis has said he is considering holding a smaller event in September following the iconic Festival’s confirmed cancellation – for the second year running – due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview to LBC‘s Tom Swarbrick (Thursday, January 21), Eavis said he hoped to hold a smaller event later in the year to belatedly mark the Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary – which was originally set to take place in the summer of 2020.
“I would like to do something in September. I would like to do something smaller somewhere around the anniversary date of when we started, which was the 18th of September 1970,” he said.
When asked if it could involve big-name acts who have previously performed at Glastonbury, Eavis replied: “Yes, but I do need to get reassurance from the ethics people.”
Swarbrick then posed a question as to whether the potential September event or the 2022 Festival would be “the biggest ever”, to which Mr Eavis replied: “I just hope it’s going to be the best we’ve ever done.”
A smaller event in September could perhaps take the form of Glastonbury’s annual Pilton Party – a one-off “thank you“ fundraising concert – usually attended by approx 7000 people each year – held at Worthy Farm every September for the villagers, workers and local people for their help in organising the Festival.
The legendary farmer explained to the LBC presenter that his decision to cancel this year’s event came following a conversation with health experts at Imperial College London (ICL), saying: “I’d been talking to the big-wigs at Imperial College day-by-day, and last night was the last straw when they said ‘no, this is really not going to happen’.”
He also revealed that he’d previously hoped to run a smaller festival for 2021 with around 50,000 people, instead of the usual 200,000, but that idea “didn’t bear any fruit”.
Asked what ICL said to him, Mr Eavis said: “Six different people that were working on a trial at the farm only realised yesterday that they couldn’t get it through the ethics committee.”
However, he told LBC he is “very confident” about the festival’s future given the response he had seen in the media on Thursday, following previous fears that Glastonbury could go bankrupt.
Announcing the cancellation via their social media accounts yesterday (Thursday, January 21), the Glastonbury Festival officials said:
“With great regret, we must announce that this year’s Glastonbury Festival will not take place, and that this will be another enforced fallow year for us.
“In spite of our efforts to move Heaven & Earth, it has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the Festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down.
“As with last year, we would like to offer all those who secured a ticket in October 2019 the opportunity to roll their £50 deposit over to next year, and guarantee the chance to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2022. We are very appreciative of the faith and trust placed in us by those of you with deposits, and we are very confident we can deliver something really special for us all in 2022!
“We thank you for your incredible continued support and let’s look forward to better times ahead.
With love, Michael & Emily”
Up until the very last moment, organisers had been working diligently in order to try and make it possible for the Worthy Farm-held event to go ahead safely this year, with Glasto-goers being told to expect a decision early this year.
Glastonbury was set to celebrate its 50th-anniversary last summer (June 2020) – with headliners in Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and Paul McCartney – but was forced to cancel the 2020 instalment due to the coronavirus crisis just a week after the lineup was announced in March of 2020.
Late last year, Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis – daughter of Festival founder Michael Eavis – told the BBC that they are doing “everything we can” to ensure it takes place in 2021.
She said: “The hard part is understanding exactly what we’ll be planning for, and what impact that will have on what we’re able to do. But right now I’m not sure there’s anything we could do that would completely ensure we can welcome 200,000 people to spend six days in some fields in June 2021.”
Eavis also noted that if the Festival could not happen in its traditional form, the organisers will consider inviting artists to perform on the farm for a series of live streams.
Furthermore, the Glastonbury organiser confirmed earlier this month that ticketholders for 2021 would be able to roll over their tickets to the 2022 edition of the festival if it doesn’t go ahead as planned this summer.
MPs have since spoken out in the wake of Glastonbury’s cancellation to warn that the future of festivals could be threatened.
“The news that the UK has lost the Glastonbury Festival for a second year running is devastating,” said DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP. “We have repeatedly called for Ministers to act to protect our world-renowned festivals like this one with a Government-backed insurance scheme. Our plea fell on deaf ears and now the chickens have come home to roost.
“The jewel in the crown will be absent but surely the Government cannot ignore the message any longer – it must act now to save this vibrant and vital festivals sector.”
Glastonbury 2022 is set to take place at its natural home in Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, from 22nd – 26th June 2022