After a tense seven hour hearing, the future of this year's Glastonbury Festival was finally secured, as the festival organisers managed to convince the local councillors to grant them that licence, despite initial rejection.
In December, the council had refused permission for this year’s Glastonbury Festival because of concerns about crime and environmental damage, especially in Pilton and other nearby villages. This came as a shocking bolt from the blue for organisers who had pulled out all the stops to make last year’s ‘come-back’ event as safe and clean as possible.
After the lengthly meeting, attended by around 100 people, permission was granted by the council, subject to the following provisions (as set out in the organisers’ application):
- One less stage
- Appointment of a dedicated Crime Prevention Team
- Appointment of a dedicated Villiage Liason Manager
- Money allocated to exta policing of surrounding villages
- Dedicated Car-Park Clampdown with extra private security
- Continued use of the legendary Super Fence
- Allocation of 112,500 weekend tickets, 3,500 Sunday day passes and 34,000 performers’ and crew passes
- Curfews: 0030 Friday and Saturday and midnight on Sunday
After the decision was reached around 1.00am on Tuesday morning, organiser Michael Eavis said: “I’ve never worked so hard as this in my life with getting people to come along and speak at the meeting. It was a really good meeting and we will now concentrate on the problems of the villages for this year’s festival. No-one cares more about Pilton than I do.”
Avon and Somerset Police statistics showed 1,094 crimes were blamed on the festival last year, compared with 2,431 in 2000 and 2,074 in 1999. Last year saw the erection of a £1m “superfence” to keep out fans without tickets, after thousands jumped the fence at the 2000 event. Glastonbury raised £1m for charity last year, with money going to Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid as well as causes in the local area.
Melvin Benn of Mean Fiddler (who were drafted in to streamline the organisation last year) said: “I believe this is the most complete application that has ever been submitted for Glastonbury – a top-class festival which has become part and parcel of British culture.”
Board chairman, Councillor Martin Bax said afterwards: “I should like to wish the festival organisers every possible success for this year’s festival. Let us hope that this will be the safest and best yet.”
R.E.M. are already confirmed to headline Glastonbury 2003 on the Friday, with Radiohead and Prince hotly tipped for the remaining days.