Macca gatecrashes middle-class Glastonbury

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Dust off the hamper, the garden furniture, the wellies and the espresso maker. It's Glasto time again.

Tickets go on sale tonight at the unorthodox hour of 8pm for Glastonbury 2004, the best-loved country weekend of the British urban middle-classes.

The decision is a security measure aimed at flummoxing the touts who are the remaining scourge of the event, now the gatecrashers are excluded by a giant perimeter fence.

Sir Paul McCartney, Oasis and Muse have been confirmed as the headline acts for the annual musical event, which takes place from 25 to 27 June.

Last year, the 112,000 tickets - costing £105 each - were bought within 24 hours, partly because middle-aged professionals made multiple bookings from their offices, using their credit cards.

Michael Eavis, the Glastonbury organiser, later complained that there were not enough young people present. He believes the 8pm start will make tickets "more readily available to people who were at school, college or work last year and missed out".

The tighter controls will include a limit of two tickets per purchaser. Bookings can only be made by debit card, because organisers believe that touts made multiple credit-card bookings last year.

Every ticket will bear the name of the buyer and festival-goers may be asked to prove their identity to ensure they did not strike a deal with a tout.

Mr Eavis said: "In the past touts have used six or seven credit cards to buy bulk tickets and then sold them on for three, four and more times face value. Most people have only one debit card, so that will help."

Glastonbury 2004 is already attracting controversy with the rock band the Darkness criticising the event. The band's singer, Justin Hawkins, claimed Mr Eavis decided in December not to book the Darkness for this summer's Glastonbury because he did not believe they would be popular enough.

Since then the Darkness, who reached number one with the album Permission to Land, have become Britain's most successful new band and won three Brit awards in February.

The Darkness appeared at last year's Glastonbury festival and were asked to perform at 10.15am on the Pyramid stage. Hawkins later complained of the lack of respect afforded to the band by the festival organisers.

The Suffolk-based rock group have chosen to play this year's Carling Reading and Leeds festivals in August. Hawkins said: "Glastonbury is all about sitting in a field and wearing funny hats. When I go to a festival it's because I want to see bands."

Mr Eavis praised the Darkness for a "fantastic" performance at last year's festival and said he expects Hawkins to apologise at some stage.

Last year's festival was praised as the best since the event began in 1970 when tickets were priced £1. This year's event will be broadcast by BBC Radio 1 and shown on BBC3, with highlights on BBC2.

Comments