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Glastonbury Festival records £3.1 million loss amid global pandemic

Glastonbury Festival records £3.1 million loss amid global pandemic

Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift were scheduled to headline the 2020 festival before it was cancelled due to COVID-19

Glastonbury Festival recorded a loss of £3.1 million for the year ending March 2021, after having to cancel its second festival in a row due to the ongoing concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Turnover was down to £936,000, compared to £45.867m in the previous 12 months, with post-tax losses amounting to £370,330 in 2020, according to documents posted on Companies House.

Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift had been due to headline the world-famous green-field festival back in 2020 before it became one of the first major European festival casualties of the COVID-crisis.

“Since 2009, the company has retained profits in order to provide a float for the next festival,” says the documents. “Due to the company retaining profits in previous years to build up this float, the company was able to cover the significant loss incurred resulting from the Covid pandemic and the cancellation of the festival in 2020 as well as contribute to running costs during 2021 when the festival was cancelled for the second year.”

The documents for Glastonbury Festival Events Limited list its main business risks as “possible breaches of the licence terms leading to the licence being withdrawn and the cancellation of the festival due to forces outside the control of the company such as extremely bad weather and a global pandemic”.

Following its cancellation in 2020, and in lieu of the flagship event, Glastonbury hosted an exclusive global livestream on 22 May 2021 titled ‘Live at Worthy Farm‘ which was shot on location across the Worthy Farm festival site and featured performances from acts including Wolf Alice, Michael Kiwanuka, George Ezra, IDLES, HAIM, Coldplay, Damon Albarn and more.

Ticketed by livestream concert promoter Driif, the livestream movie included spoken-word interludes from artists such as PJ Harvey, and Jarvis Cocker, along with festival-founder Michael Eavis, with proceeds from the event – which was co-produced by BBC Studios Productions – going to Glastonbury’s three main charity partners, Oxfam, WaterAid and Greenpeace.

The six-hour livestream movie (priced at £20), which was also screened in cinemas across the UK in partnership with Trafalgar Releasing, suffered technical issues that meant customers were effectively locked out for up to two hours and unable to use access codes to view the footage.

Looking ahead to the summer of 2022, the report notes there are likely to be “significant costs specifically related to necessary Covid-19 measures and related issues” for the 2022 edition of the Festival.

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The event has benefited from the UK government’s Culture Recovery Fund, receiving £900,000 back in April 2021 and an extra £600,000 in November.

“The company has been fortunate enough to receive Arts Council funding since March 2021 year-end, which has helped with future planning during the year to date,” adds the firm, which also organises two much smaller events, Pilton Party and Glastonbury Extravaganza.

2022 will see Glastonbury return to Worthy Farm for the first time since 2019, from 22-26 June, with Billie Eilish and most recently Diana Ross being the only artists to have been officially confirmed for playing the Festival, thus far. That being said, there are many artists who ‘self-confirm’ prior to the official announcements, by divulging the news during interviews, via social media or website listings.

You can view our constantly updated list of all the latest Glastonbury 2022 line-up announcements and rumours here.

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