Saturday, June 23, 2007

Blog round up: Parking cars and running figures

Although the state of the field has failed to provide Somme-meets-Armageddon schadenfreude thrills, it's still quite nasty down there. Aworan has a plan, though:

The Heavens opened and it was just mayham. Thankfully, based on experiences of 2005, I have learnt never to over-excert myself, so I decided to stay put on the Jazz World Stage.

I’ve been here since Thursday evening, and with the sun shining and in spite of the little mud, I honestly believed that the harbingers of doom (i.e. weather forecasters and those who didn’t have tickets!) predicting torrential rain and such were over enthusiastic. Boy, was I sorely mistaken. So, here I am, Day 2 into the mudfest that is Glastonbury. I couldn’t blog yesterday because it was really busy, hence me writing one day late. I can’t even put any pictures up just yet.

Melgro gallery is enjoying the festival without the mud, by watching at home:
Highlights round about 1:30 a.m. Arcade Fire - worth the wait. The Fratellis were much better live than they are recorded - skiffle is alive & kicking! Lonnie Donnigon is smiling in his casket!
Slomoh oh wow. Rufus Wainright - good & amazingly, some Amy Winehouse we missed - much better than the end of her set!

Christinanott is slapping photos up as fast as she can, but also revealed one of the many ways around the ticketing regulations:
Ben was supposed to have been included when we bought the tickets, but his pre-registration had not been accepted because his photo was so bad. Instead of fixing it, he left it so when we eventually got the tickets, we couldn't include him.

So back at the mad Sunday when all of the tickets sold out in two hours, we did eventually get through and get coach tickets (an extra £42 each). Despite the transport delays it was still better for the journey.

Ever resourceful, Ben then applied for car parking duties and actually has Friday night shot until Saturday morning. He's not allowed into the site though until after his duties have finished. At least he made it.

Best blog entry so far is Phil Coales, who posts a slew of adjusted diagrams from his physics text book, but labels it:
I'm watching Arctic Monkey's Glastonbury set but not through choice although it's not really that bad

Ivan Pope, meanwhile, asks a fair question: why, when Glasto is a business like any other, does it get such uncritical coverage. He crunches some numbers:
But the big question has to be - what value has it been to the corporate face of Glastonbury, the happy smiling hippy farmer, Michael Eavis? How much money has he and his family taken out of the festival over the years? After all, if he can give away 40% of the company that is worth millions in profit to a commercial organisation, then what happens to the other 60%, which also must be worth millions?

Glastonbury's accounts office insists the festival remains true to its non-corporate ideals and says the festival gives all its profits to charity. Last year, £1.1m was given away to local, national and international charities. [2005 number]

So Mean Fiddler earns millions but the other 60% earns 1.1 million, which is all given away? Somehow this doesn't add up. Remember, profits is something that is entirely controlled by the company that makes them. If there is spare cash, it can go in all sorts of directions before being declared a profit. For example, they could reduce ticket prices, or give away tents or maybe pay huge fees to the farm on which the festival is held. There are hundreds of ways of getting just the profit you want in the way you want it.

So back to my initial complaint. Why does the BBC treat this private commercial festival as if it is a national event of huge significance? And if the festival wants to be treated in this way, it should open up its accounts for public scrutiny and explain where all the money goes.

I'm not sure the implication that Eavis is perhaps less generous with his profits than the popular image would suggest is fair; I suspect the discrepancy lies more in the way the money is split between Glastonbury and LiveNation. But allowing us to look at the books seems to be a good idea.