Monday, June 09, 2008

Glastonbury: This year, we'll get it right

Last year, even as cars struggled to make it out the car park, Michael Eavis was chipper and upbeat in his assessment of the festival:

Mr Eavis has praised festival-goers' spirit and said the weekend had "gone very, very well, in spite of the rain and mud".

Oddly, though, it now turns out it didn't at all, after all:
"I thought the criticisms were valid last year," he said. "I can't turn back time, but what I can do is address the problem this year. There's extra camping space. We've ordered in lorryloads of concrete sleepers which will effectively double the seating."

Well, yes there would need to be extra camping space, what with the extra tickets you've sold. And while sitting on concrete sleepers might be alright if the weather's good, they're not going to be attractive in pissing-down rain and churning mud, are they?


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

"And while sitting on concrete sleepers might be alright if the weather's good, they're not going to be attractive in pissing-down rain and churning mud, are they?"

eh? no! surely if the weather is good, you DON'T want to be sitting on concrete?! you want to sit on grass!

if it's bad, then yeah, you DO want to put your stool on a solid surface. rather than into three foot of mud.

so i dont realy agree with you there.

and, as someone who went last year and didnt think it was anyway near as bad - weatherwise - as it was in 2005, i have to say the weather/lineup arguments this year - to me - look like being a scapegoat for the fact that festivals just arent as popular as the press make them out to be, and that reading stole glasto's thunder by announcing it's line up and selling tickets (and selling out tickets) about three days before glasto did. that's called good pr. if you're reading.

Duncan said...

Reading didn't steal any thunder - it's simply that the market for tickets this year is far more diverse. People are going to more 'specialist' or 'boutique' festivals, rather than the "one-size-fits-all" that is Glastonbury.

On a related note, Simon - did you see that Glastonbury are going to be selling tickets in HMV?

Anonymous said...

duncan, dont agree with that at all. if that's the case then why did one sell out in hours and the other limp along embarrassingly?

reading stole way more thunder than ...last years actual thunder/rain at glasto did.

tickets cost the same price, audience is largly made up of the same types of people (ie your average festival goer), lineup was much, much more appealing to your average festival goer...you cant tell me a 20yo indie kid is gonna choose jay z over ratm playing their tour finale, and only UK gig?!

reading getting ratm and then announcing it when they did was a shrewd move and it paid off.

i do agree that the 'gentrification' of specialist festivals is undoubtedly taking some of the action too, but no way near as much as has been prophesised. unique festivals are the new dot com boomers.

simon h b said...

@anonymous
I don't think enough people care about Rage Against The Machine to the extent they'd go to a festival purely because they were there. Seriously. The difference between Reading and Glastonbury is that Glastonbury wanted people to jump through hoops for the tickets, and Reading didn't.

I see what you're saying about concrete though, but with 150,000 people or whatever it is in Glastonbury, there isn't going to be any grass. There's going to be precious little ground, never mind unchurned ground. But if the weather's rubbish, and you've got massive concrete blocks with people sat on them, they're going to sink into the mud anyway.

@duncan
Hadn't seen the the HMV thing - are they still flogging leftovers?

mkb said...

Simon h b -

Read this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7443590.stm

They're selling tickets over the counter at HMV now.

Anonymous said...

I don't think enough people care about Rage Against The Machine to the extent they'd go to a festival purely because they were there. Seriously.

well, i beg to disagree. cant stand rage myself but know loads of people who altered plans immediately once reading announced them. they were by far the biggest band of my youth (bigger than oasis, blur, radiohead), in the late 90s. so to a lot of people who are now in their mid-20s, it's a hell of a big deal to have them play their one gig in the uk at reading.

i think that unless you were 16 or whatever when they split up last time you probably wouldnt understand. it was like when take that split but with much, much more BO.

simon h b said...

it was like when take that split but with much, much more BO.

and the hair... you can't leave out the hair.

Duncan said...

I am the absolute centre of the demographic you talk about, and I live in Reading. I'm not going to the Festival because 15-year old kids drinking cider and pissing on tents doesn't really appeal. I'd pick Jay-Z over that a hundred times over. But this isn't really about me, it's about the crowds.

RATM wouldn't ever headline Glastonbury - they're just too rocky. Not the right type of band. They fit perfectly at Reading, sure, but not Glasto. People aren't buying Glasto tickets because of the weather and the weak lineup. By that I don't just mean Jay-Z, I mean Jay-Z, KoL and the Verve.

I really think it's primarily the weather, though. People just don't want to pay £150 to experience the same conditions at the Battle of the Somme, but with a few bands in the background.

Duncan said...

Oh, and RE the "why did one sell out in hours and the other limp along embarrassingly?" factor -

Reading capacity = 80,000
Glastonbury capacity = 177,000

If I recall correctly, Glastonbury out-sold Reading on its first day. It's just that it's limped along beyond that number.

Anonymous said...

well, as someone who went last year i didnt think the weather was 'that' bad at all. honestly. yeah it was quite bad, but ive seen much, much worse at festys. as i said elsewhere, it was no way near as bad as 2005. in most places it was no worse than a waterlogged football pitch.

also duncan, reading & leeds capacity is 150,000. by reading i obviously meant both. shouldnt take a genius to work that one out. being a southerner i just don't like to talk about leeds too much...ya know?

Duncan said...

I went last year and hated the weather. It was exhausting. I didn't enjoy the experience. That's why I'm not going this year - and I know a lot of my friends feel the same.

At the end of the day, it's just been a bad year for Glastonbury, but mostly in a PR sense. I doubt their bottom-line has been impacted that severely. If it's sunny this year, then I think they'll sell out again next year.

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