Is the large-scale music festival an endangered species?
WHEN IT comes to music festivals in big fields, Michael Eavis knows the score. The farmer behind the massive Glastonbury festival has been dealing with bands and music fans for decades and has seen the rise and fall of many festival cycles.
Eavis believes we’re at the end of an era. There’s no Glastonbury festival next year – the London Olympics means a shortage of portaloos and policemen in the UK next summer, but Eavis reckons the festival is on the way out.
In a downbeat assessment, Eavis believes fans are suffering from festival fatigue. “We’ve probably got another three or four years. Partly it’s economics, but there is a feeling that people have seen it all before.”
Too many festivals competing for the same disposable income and higher costs means festivals like Glastonbury have to go after huge headliners to survive. Jay-Z’s appearance at the festival in 2008 received huge coverage, but the festival still made a loss of £22 million.
The Glastonbury boss is probably not the only promoter feeling pressure, but he’s the only one talking about it so openly. Just as the big festivals in Ireland are not selling out in advance, the same story is being repeated across the UK this summer.
Last weekend’s Oxegen festival in Co Kildare was not a sell-out, and most punters noted that there was plenty of room around the arena and stages all weekend as punters stayed away.
We may well be reaching the end of this particular love affair with the catch-all big music festival in a field. The move is on to smaller events like Castlepalooza and Body & Soul and urban fests like Forbidden Fruit. We should expect to see a lot of changes at Oxegen 2012.
Michael Eavis, the man behind Glastonbury: is it the end of an era?