Left Field leaves Glastonbury Festival

The campaigning Left Field Stage will no longer feature as part of Glastonbury Festival.

Festival chiefs have pulled the plug on the 5000-capacity tent, describing the move as another twist in Glastonbury's continued evolution.

A spokesman told efestivals: "Although the Left Field area will not be happening next year in its current format, Glastonbury always likes to spring surprises, so at this point we can't confirm exactly what new element and areas will make up the 2009 Festival. We will be making announcements about new attractions in the new year."

The tented arena became a popular forum for political and social awareness via its unique mix of comedy, music and debate since it debuted in 2003. 

It was the first ever Glastonbury venue to host live music on the opening Thursday of the festival and boasted memorable performances by the likes of Billy Bragg, Happy Mondays, Babyshambles and Steve Earle.

Fondly described as 'the third stage', the venue became synonomous with hiding from the rain due to its cavernous embrace, but for the more politically astute it acted as a constructive forum for political debate, often involving big personalities like Tony Benn and Bianca Jagger.

The message behind the Left Field was known to be very close to Michael Eavis, who helped build its famous tower in 2004. The Glastonbury founder is even depicted as one of the 'oppressed workers' on its rotating perimeter which filter light out over Worthy Farm as a beacon of hope. It is not known if the tower will remain.

Geoff Martin, who has spearheaded the Left Field's involvement at Glastonbury since the beginning, is remaining upbeat despite not knowing the reasons behind the changes for 2009.

He told Virtual Festivals: "We had a good run down there and it'll just force us to look at other options. We've seen that the mix of comedy, music and debate works with festival audiences so we're not going to let that slip away."

The Left Field is involved in a number of projects and will remain focused on festivals as part of its plans, starting with a showcase at South By South West in Texas next year.

"We've got loads happening next year," added Martin. "It's the 25th anniversary of the miner's strike would you believe it, and we're talking to Paul Weller and George Michael about doing something next year to commemorate that. Not many people know this but Wham! actually played a benefit gig for the miners back in the '80s."

Glastonbury Festival 2009, meanwhile takes place at Worthy Farm, Somerset, from 24-28 June. No acts are confirmed as yet but current rumours include Bruce Springsteen, Franz Ferdinand, Coldplay and The Ting Tings