It may be Disneyland for adults, but it takes a lot to make a successful Glastonbury. Laura Foster dons her specs and delves into the stats to find out exactly what goes into it...
Hello pop pickers, are your clipboards at the ready? For this is a virtual journey of wonderment into the figures behind the best festival in the world.
Given the sheer scale of the event, the transformation of the rolling green 1,100 acres (equivalent to 700 football pitches) into the resulting bunting-clad behemoth of a carnival is nothing short of spectacular, and something to be celebrated.
With a capacity of 177,000, for one weekend only, Glastonbury becomes the 32nd largest city in the UK based on population, behind York and ahead of Peterborough.
It is 41 years since Glastonbury started with Marc Bolan topping the bill, although this year will only be the 30th time the festival has actually been held. And we can remember exactly four of them amongst the cider-induced haze. Only joking.
Down on the Farm
Worthy is a working farm for the 360 other days of the year that the festival isn’t on, with livestock wandering the fields. The 350 resident cows are relocated to a large cowshed brilliantly called the ‘Mootel’ during the revelry. How incredibly ‘mooving’ (sorry).
A mean, green fighting machine
The organisers at Glastonbury take the environmental impact of the festival very seriously, and work hard to minimise its effects.
Last year, 1,640 tonnes of rubbish was created during the weekend. That’s the equivalent amount of trash produced by the same number of households in a year.
50 per cent of this was recycled – no mean feat that was achieved by the 1,300 volunteers who work in the Recycling Crew separating rubbish into cans, glass, paper, electrical and electronic equipment, wood and organic waste.
Organisers have long been advocates in the use of renewable energy sources to power the weekend. A new installation of solar panels covering 1,500m squared will generate enough electricity to power the Pyramid stage over the weekend, while the Green Fields has long been powered by solar and wind energy.
Out for good behaviour
The camaraderie between attendant revellers at Worthy Farm is one of Glastonbury’s best attributes. There are very few bad apples among the crowd, as 2010’s crime stats reveal.
Last year, 130 arrests took place, down from 168 in 2009. That’s only 0.073 per cent of those in attendance. Of last year’s arrests, 79 per cent were drugs-related.
Despite the inherent good behaviour of the crowd, Avon and Somerset Constabulary maintain their presence to keep a benevolent eye on proceedings.
Last year saw 1,356 police working over the weekend, some sporting sunflowers in their helmets in a very jaunty fashion.
Charity begins at Glastonbury…
Ever since 1981, when Glastonbury teamed up with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), the festival has been associated with raising funds for good causes. That year saw £20,000 raised. Nowadays, the festival donates £2million a year to charity and causes.
There are currently three headline charities with whom the festival works: Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid. From 1993 to 2009, Oxfam alone has raised a staggering £3.7million from their presence in Pilton.
Money (that’s what I want)
Moving away from charity but still talking in terms of cold hard cash, the festival is unbelievably said to contribute £100 million to the economy, according to a recent UK Music report. That’s £565 a head. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Osborne.
Check out our Glastonbury preview pieces:
VF guide to hidden Glastonbury.
Things that only happen at Glastonbury.
Michael Eavis interview.
The great VF ‘Special Guests’ sweepstake.
My Festival Life… Greg Roberts from Dreadzone.
Long range Glastonbury 2011 weather forecast.
Photo blog: top 20 bands to see.
Photo blog: the mud.
Photo blog: the weird and wonderful of Worthy Farm.
Do Glastonbury 2011 as a scenester or a senior.
Glastonbury 2011 in numbers.
Glaston-buried by luggage: the ultimate packing checklist.
Glastonbury Festival Spotify playlists.
Video: top five acts to see on the Pyramid Stage.
Video: top five acts to see on the Other Stage.
Video: top five acts to see on the West Holts Stage.
Video: top five acts to see on the John Peel Stage.
Video: top five acts to see on the The Park.
Video: top five acts to see in the Dance Village.