Glastonbury locals lose their free festival tickets
Eavis's decision to reduce catchment area for offer provokes angry response
Saturday 18 April 2009
Each June, the residents of three tiny villages in rural Somerset brace themselves for the Glastonbury festival, when almost 200,000 people descend on their quiet part of the country for a long weekend of music and revelry.
For almost 40 years, organiser Michael Eavis has been careful to keep relations with the residents of Pilton, Pylle and Sticklynch cordial by handing out free tickets to make up for the noise and disruption caused by the massive event. But, this year, he has provoked their ire by cutting the number of passes, forcing hundreds of people who used to receive them to pay their own way. In the past, free tickets have been issued to residents living within a local catchment area, near the festival site at Worthy Farm. But last month, maps were posted in various locations around Pilton which showed a new, smaller area had been drawn up.
Those living outside the boundary will only be given a ticket for Sunday's performances, whereas previously they were admitted for the entire weekend. It is thought that up to 300 people are affected by the changes.
One local resident, who did not want to be named, told The Independent that she had enjoyed free entry to the festival for many years, but that the reduction in the size of the catchment area had forced her and a "substantial number" of others to fork out £175 for a full-price ticket.
"A lot of people have been disenfranchised and are feeling pretty sore about it," she said. "For most of us who live within the boundary, the festival impacts on us in one way or another – in my case it's the traffic. If you get a free ticket, you turn a blind eye to it, because you've got a week or so of having a good time. Normally you feel quite benign about it all. But if you don't get a free ticket, you don't feel quite so benign.
"My particular road is used as a rat run. From Wednesday night, there is a constant stream of caravans and camper vans going through. Normally it's OK, because you think 'That's great, they're all part of what I'm part of'. But that changes if you're suddenly having to pay a lot of money. It's tricky because we're all locals and we don't want to fall out. But on the other hand, we feel quite strongly about it."
A spokesman for Glastonbury said those who received free Sunday tickets could also use them to claim £60 off a full-price ticket. He added that Mr Eavis and his daughter Emily, who is jointly responsible for running the festival, did not want to upset local residents and had employed a representative to go from village to village listening to people's concerns.
Mr Eavis said: "Our relationship with the villagers has always been extremely good, but this year there was a slight change to the boundary for free tickets, which is now slightly smaller. As a result, a small percentage of people who have in the past got free tickets are now being offered the option of Sunday tickets rather than full weekend tickets.
"The Glastonbury festival is constantly changing and evolving. I don't know of any other festival or major event that looks after people who live locally as well as we do, and the majority of people will remain unaffected."
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
- 5 Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants kill 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track