Saturday, July 03, 2004

BEN NOT FOLDING FOR 05: The astonishing dance between Michael Eavis and the Mean Fidler group for the soul of the Glastonbury Festival continues; Melvin Benn has attempted to elbow Eavis out of the way for the post-festival thumbs up press; probably a further bid to try and keep control of the event. We're surprised a little by some of his claims to drowned in sound:

“It’s no different, just a little wetter. In fact, it’s better,” commented Melvin Benn, MF's Festival Director. “People came earlier, the fact that it was going to be wet didn’t put people off. Structurally, infrastructurally and enjoyment wise, it’s very similar.”

"People who have spent GBP120 on tickets, plus probably somewhere in the region of another hundred quid in travel and other expenses decide not to write off investment in face of rain" shock. What puzzles us is that all the reports we read from the site during Thursday were of worries that nowhere near as many people had turned up at that point, so we guess "early" is an elastic term here.

And what of the ID checking?

“To be fair, the ticket ID-ing has been a phenomenal success. I was hoping to ID around 50 per cent of people at least, I think I’m probably closer to 75 if not 80 per cent.”

By "phenomenal success", of course, he means the actual checking of tickets - Drowned In Sound suggest their asking around found probably 30% checking, and the mere fact that there weren't backlogs of people at the gates suggests that "checking" consisted of little more than people being waved through. Apparently, some 500 people were sent home having been caught out on the ID checking, which if Benn's figures are true means that only 700 tickets were in different hands from the original purchasers. Which we just don't believe. Sorry.

"Everybody was receptive to it, everybody knew that they had to show it. It significantly helped with the touts and didn’t cause any significant problems with the queuing."

By "receptive", of course, he means that basically it didn't piss off too many people - i've yet to come across anyone saying 'what a good idea it is to make us prove who we are before we can give the organisers of a festival cold hard cash', but the comments box down there is waiting to prove me wrong.

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