Glastonbury chief faces prosecution

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The promoter of the Glastonbury Festival, Michael Eavis, is facing prosecution for allegedly allowing twice as many people as permitted onto his land this year.

The promoter of the Glastonbury Festival, Michael Eavis, is facing prosecution for allegedly allowing twice as many people as permitted onto his land this year.

Councillors last night voted to take action against Mr Eavis, a farmer who has been running the festival on his land at Pilton, Somerset, for 28 years.

A meeting of Mendip District Council's Regulatory Board, which licenses the festival, recommended prosecution for breaking his licence at the end of a three-hour meeting in Shepton Mallet. The final decision will be taken by the council's chief executive.

The three-day festival was supposed to have a crowd limit of 100,000, but thousands more are thought to have scaled a perimeter fence and entered without paying.

The problem of revellers "jumping the fence" is traditional at Glastonbury but has worsened as the event has grown in size and popularity.

Mr Eavis has already promised to construct a £1m security wall around the site for next year's festival, which he hopes will be impregnable.

But last night Superintendent John Buckley, who was in charge of policing the festival in June, said he did not believe it would stop people getting in without a ticket.

He told the board Mr Eavis had failed to control access or provide adequate security this year and the estimated 200,000 crowd had seriously jeopardised public safety.

"We view the issues we have raised as being extremely serious - this is not the first time that concerns have been expressed regarding the festival.

"Regrettably other large public events have suffered tragedies and the priority for all of us must be public safety."

He said Avon and Somerset Police did not want to stop the festival but could only support it if it was safe.

After the meeting, Mr Eavis said he thought he was paying the price of the disaster at the festival in Roskilde, Denmark, earlier this year where nine people were crushed to death, and of the violence at this year's Notting Hill Carnival.

"I am being made the victim of other events. There has been Roskilde, Notting Hill and Hillsborough and they think we're going to be next," Mr Eavis said.

"It's rubbish. We didn't get one single person hurt as a result of crushing or overcrowding this year.

"This is the best organised festival in the world. I've put my heart, life, soul and body into it to make it work."

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