'I feel terrible for the friends and family of those killed and injured'

Running events for thousands of people is desperately serious, says Michael Eavis. It's why he spent £7m on Glastonbury 2000
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The Independent Online

I don't know what happened at Roskilde. I just feel terrible for the friends and families of those killed and injured. Here at Glastonbury we've all got our heads down low. The organisers are friends of ours. I went to visit them in Denmark during the winter and we compared notes on the problems of putting together an event of this size and importance.

I don't know what happened at Roskilde. I just feel terrible for the friends and families of those killed and injured. Here at Glastonbury we've all got our heads down low. The organisers are friends of ours. I went to visit them in Denmark during the winter and we compared notes on the problems of putting together an event of this size and importance.

They are formidable organisers. Roskilde is the clinical version of Glastonbury. They've got flush toilets, metalled roads and so on. But then the site is a showground for the rest of the year, whereas we here are a working farm.

This year was the 21st Glastonbury Festival, and in all that time we have never had a serious injury, let alone a fatality - a fact for which I am extremely grateful.

In 1994, there was a problem when a girl was crushed up against the stage. We had her helicoptered to Taunton, but she wasn't badly hurt and the next day she came back to bring a box of chocolates for my wife, Jean. Other than that, it's been scrapes and bruises. Nothing more.

At the 1999 festival the Manic Street Preachers were on our major stage. The crowd love them. They got excited and things looked a bit dangerous for a moment. But we stopped the music for three minutes and made sure that everyone moved back and calmed down.

One of the most dangerous things is "moshing", where the crowd presses towards the stage and start climbing over each other and so on. That's very dangerous, especially if it's wet, and we try very hard to avoid it, or halt it.

Planning is the most important part of any mass-audience event. The main thing is to have plenty of room. What we start with at Worthy Farm is a site totalling nearly 1,000 acres - 600 acres for the actual festival and the rest for parking.

In our experience you need twice as much space as you think you're going to. We've got a river crossing the land and we've got bridges and crossing points to worry about, as well as the main arena. When the band strikes up, you've got to be sure there's room to spare.

It's a serious business providing for the movement of thousands of people. We've got the safety officer from Bristol airport, plus an army of security staff and stewards. Experience has taught us that is the only way.

We're constantly aware of the dangers. But that's why we spent £7m on this year's show. It's incredibly well structured.

Two British bands have pulled out of Roskilde Festival in Denmark, where eight fans were crushed and trampled to death and scores injured late on Friday during a concert by the American band Pearl Jam.

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