Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis has said he is considering holding a smaller event in September after it was confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic has forced the festival’s cancellation for the second year running.
Speaking to LBC, Eavis said he hoped to hold a smaller event later in the year to belatedly mark the 50th anniversary of Glastonbury – which was originally set to take place last year.
“I would like to do something in September. I would like to do something smaller somewhere around the anniversary date of when we started, which was the 18th of September 1970,” he said. “I would like to consider possibly doing something around that time.”
When asked if it could involve big-name acts who have previously performed at Glastonbury, Eavis said: “Yes, but I do need to get reassurance from the ethics people.”
A smaller event could potentially take the form of Glastonbury’s annual Pilton Party – a one-off concert held at Worthy Farm every September to thank workers and local people for their help in organising the festival.
Announcing yesterday’s cancellation, Michael and Emily Eavis said: “In spite of our efforts to move Heaven & Earth, it has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the Festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down.
“As with last year, we would like to offer all those who secured a ticket in October 2019 the opportunity to roll their £50 deposit over to next year, and guarantee the chance to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2022.
“We are very appreciative of the faith and trust placed in us by those of you with deposits, and we are very confident we can deliver something really special for us all in 2022!”
The cancellation announcement came after Michael Eavis said recently that he hoped that Glastonbury would be able to return this summer providing that the “majority” of the UK’s population is vaccinated against coronavirus by June.
This comes after Reading & Leeds boss Melvin Benn agreed that he was “super confident” that a summer of festivals could take place provided that vaccination targets were met and efforts amped up, while Dr Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton, warned that the necessary level of vaccination might not be reached until the end of summer.
“We’d want a bare minimum of 50% of the population to be vaccinated [before festivals can happen], but probably more like 60%,” Dr Head told NME. “That would probably take us towards the end of the summer at around August or September.”
Glastonbury Festival (Picture: Getty / Jon Super/Redferns)
MPs have since spoken out in the wake of the festival’s cancellation to warn that the future of festivals could be threatened.
“The news that the UK has lost the Glastonbury Festival for a second year running is devastating,” said DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP. “We have repeatedly called for Ministers to act to protect our world-renowned festivals like this one with a Government-backed insurance scheme. Our plea fell on deaf ears and now the chickens have come home to roost.
“The jewel in the crown will be absent but surely the Government cannot ignore the message any longer – it must act now to save this vibrant and vital festivals sector.”
UK Music shared a report, Let the Music Play: Save Our Summer 2021, earlier this month outlining their recommendations for how to restart the UK’s live music industry once it is safe to do so with government support.