Eavis fears that his festival is becoming too middle-aged

Ian Burrell
Monday 07 October 2013 02:09

A new ticketing policy was announced for Glastonbury yesterday to prevent young people being crowded out by middle-aged fans.

Michael Eavis, who founded the festival in 1970, said he wanted to change the age profile. The 112,000 tickets for this year's three-day event sold out in 18 hours as corporate interest soared. "I want to try to attract the students back," Mr Eavis said. "This year people of 18, 19, 20-year-olds were not quick enough with the tickets and they lost out.''

He wants to reserve about a quarter of the capacity for students. "I'm thinking of a way of getting 20 to 30,000 NUS [National Union of Students] members on board before the others so that we can get the younger crowds back.''

The Glastonbury organiser revealed that he had already lined up next year's three headline acts, indicating that they would be Sir Paul McCartney, Oasis and Prince. Sir Paul had asked to appear at this year's festival but his request to play on Saturday night clashed with the booking of Radiohead.

"Much as we'd like Paul McCartney to play we already had Radiohead lined up. We offered him Sunday but he would not go with it - maybe he was playing somewhere else. But he will play next year,'' Mr Eavis said.

Delighted by the success of this year's event, which has attracted record attendances and seen very low levels of crime, Mr Eavis said: "Without a shadow of a doubt this is the best festival we've ever had. It's looking very good for the future.''

But to the surprise of those who believed he wanted to continue expanding, Mr Eavis said the event had reached its peak capacity. "My personal feelings are that we've got enough people here already,'' he said.

Without an extension of the site, Glastonbury is likely to be more oversubscribed than ever. Mr Eavis said he was interested in establishing a database for rationing tickets so that all Glastonbury fans could expect to secure a ticket at least once every two years. "My ambition is to see that people who really want to come can get in at least every other year.''

The festival closed last night with headline performances by Moby, Doves and the Streets, after the crowds had earlier enjoyed hot sunshine.

Insp Andy Jackson of Avon and Somerset police said it had been the most crime-free Glastonbury. High levels of security kept ticket touting and other offences to a minimum and no gatecrashers are believed to have successfully penetrated the perimeter fence.

Crime was down about 50 per cent on last year, with robberies reduced by 80 per cent.

According to Insp Jackson villagers in nearby Pilton, who have in past years been terrorised by ticketless music fans, had little more to worry about than the noise of the circling police helicopter.

The festival's success has caused Mr Eavis, 67, to reconsider his future. "I have been talking about retiring when I'm 70 but I'm not sure whether that's still necessary. It's a lot more fun now, with the weather and the bands we had this year, it does your head good.''

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