Glastonbury Festival 2005: License Granted!

Michael Eavis at Glastonbury Festival 2004 by John Bownas
Michael Eavis at Glastonbury Festival 2004 by John Bownas

By a vote of 12 to 4 the Mendip Council licensing committee have given the green light to Glastonbury Festival 2005 - but Michael Eavis has announced that there will be NO Glastonbury 2006!

As we bring you the blow-by-blow announcements from the license hearing we can also tell you that Michael Eavis has been speaking to Time out and has let slip a few things about this year’s festival…see the bottom of the page for details…

[l-zone1]From our man in the field…JCS:

…the initial presentation from the organisers requests 3,000 additional Sunday tickets (these will go to the Tsunami Relief Effort)

…the first objection focuses on the cost that the festival imposes on local services (ignoring the fact that the event has brought millions of pounds into the local economy over the years) and the manner in which it pulls police resources out of other parts of the region.

…the issue of noise nuisance starts to dominate. Lost Vagueness and the markets become the centre of attention in relation to the impact that their sound systems will have on local residents. (Surely the benefit of the many should outweigh the mild inconvenience of the few…how much could it cost for five pairs of earplugs for every resident within a two mile radius? ED.)

…however on the positive side the point is made that this is an event that most of the villagers are quite justly proud of. There are no more problems with disorder in the village from rampaging festival-goers – these sorts of problems are things of the past! Over the past few years everyone has truly learnt to work together, and this co-operation is the real measure of the festival’s triumph. The event is a fundamental part of modern Somerset’s way of life, and it should be celebrated as such!

…back to the objections, and again it is the noise issue that gets raised (yawn!)

…the Council’s officer responds that is Cockmill Lane residents don’t object  then Lost Vagueness can run for 24 hours – YAY!

…Cllr Skidmore counters by claiming that a 3am license for the markets alone will cause a riot amongst villagers – you can just see them running down the hill with blazing brands and pitchforks at the ready!

…Cllt Woolacombe points out that young people need to have fun and assures the meeting that the Cockmill Lane residents don’t object to a bit of a party going on next door for a few nights. He later adds that simply switching things off at midnight and asking everyone politely to go to bed would be a recipe for disaster!

…there is a challenge made that Melvin Benn and GFL cannot guarantee beyond reasonable doubt that noise breaches won’t occur – the objector is put in their place when it is pointed out that they merely need to take all reasonable steps to avoid any breaches.

…Melvin Benn reiterates the strength of the festival as a British cultural icon and underlines the fact that it is a mammoth task that is achieved through the co-operation of thousands of people.

Our second string writer ‘Stalker’ cuts in at this point: Bill McKay OBE stated he’s never understood why music has to be so loud and people so close that you’re deaf by age 21, but confesses the possibility that he may be out of touch. He makes the point that previous festivals had the problem of illegal attendees – so much so the festival nearly ended. However since Melvin Benn has come on board he has been happy to approve the licence. Now however, even though it is running successfully, noise may still be an issue. It is up to Melvin Benn to prove that noise will not be a nuisance – but he’s not convinced there’s a need for almost 24 hour entertainment. Many councillors have been asking for noise reductions in Lost Vagueness & the markets – these should include more stringent time limits such as the end of entertainment 00.00 to 00.30 or if late night music is to continue, to limit to it 200w. (Public giggling ensues!)

…but the bottom line is the vote – and we all hold our breath – but the result is GOOD, with a 12 to 4 swing in favor of the festival getting it’s license for 2005!

So there you have it. Glastonbury Festival 2005 is all-systems-go! However 2006 will be another fallow year, as (courtesy of the BBC) Michael announces that he will be taking the time to build a reservoir from a natural spring that he has found on the farm that will supply all of the event’s future water needs. He commented that this break also helps to keep the excitement going…has nobody told him that he could run the event three times a year and people would still keep flocking in!?

What we DESPERATELY hope is that this investment of time and money in such fundamental infrastructure means that the long term future of the event is rosy…after all, you don’t build something like a reservoir if you are planning to stop running the festival in a few more years.

…oh yes, and those Time Out words from Michael that we mentioned – first off, tickets for 2005’s event will be on sale on Sunday April 3rd (priced at one hundred and twenty five pounds)…the hope bing that this is when telephone exchanges are notoriously quieter, so th eorganisers are hoping that more people will get through without having to resort to calling in from phone boxes to get priority access (sorry if that gives away any trade secrets). 

The second heads-up was a warning to touts or anyone considering trying to buy a ticket ‘in advance’ from any of the bogus agencies who try to fleece over-eager punters – this year’s tickets will probably incorporate the original buyers’ photo…so unless you are buying from the official agency or your twin brother then you can forget about getting in on a touted ticket. Oh yes, and it’s going to be two tickets per person again.

Finally – who will headline? Well all that Micael was letting on was the it is ‘the best songwriters in the world today’ – so let’s all look forward to The Bloodhound Gang and The Wurzels on the 2005 Pyramid stage on Saturday and Sunday nights!