The Variety Bazaar: everything we know so far about the 2021 Glastonbury spin-off

What you can expect from the festival that Michael Eavis is calling “the last big gamble of my life”

The Variety Bazaar – it might sound like The Chuckle Brothers and Pudsey from Britain’s Got Talent doing a joint tour of Istanbul, but it’s actually the newest brainchild of the team behind Glastonbury, and its set imaginations running wild. Free-roaming giraffes? Flying carpet rides over mock Marrakesh markets? Keep fantasising, it’s still in the early planning stages at the moment, but here’s what we know about this exotic wonderland so far.

 

 

 

It’s named after a local Shepton Mallet shop

 

“There was a shop in our local town, Shepton Mallet, years and years ago, run by three sisters, which sold all sorts of stuff,” Michael Eavis told The Guardian, “everything from knitting to books to cream cakes. And the name of the shop was the Variety Bazaar. I mentioned it to Emily and she loved it.” “We never considerd calling the new event Glastonbury,” Emily Eavis added, “It won’t be Glastonbury. It will be the Variety Bazaar.”

 

It’ll be at one of three sites 100 miles from Worthy Farm

 

“We’re looking at three different sites at the moment,” Emily told NME. “I’m really excited about that, doing something at a different space is really quite appealing and exciting. There’s something amazing about the familiarity of here [Worthy Farm]. This is our home, this is where we live, we walk around these fields pretty much every day of the year. We know each hedgerow and each tree and the limits to what you can put in each field. Whereas looking at new sites with different landscapes is quite exciting. What we can put in those spaces and having some rolling installations and stuff.”

 

One particular site, recommended by one of the Glastonbury team, is of particular interest. “It’s in a beautiful valley,” Emily told The Guardian, “and it has one landowner who is very keen.”

 

It’ll be big

 

Although Emily has revealed that the new event will be smaller than Glastonbury, it won’t exactly be Leefest. “We don’t like boutique,” Michael said to The Guardian. “Why pretend when we do the real thing?”

 

The Variety Bazaar areas will be the naughty corner had a baby with the Green Fields

 

“It’ll be a bit more like Shangri-La, Block 9 and the Green Fields,” Emily said, explaining that the areas will be run by the same teams that run Glastonbury areas, but under different names. “It will be the same team of people, so everybody will have a space. It just depends on where we do it really, as to how big it is.”

 

“They wouldn’t have the same area names,” she told The Guardian. “Avalon can’t be Avalon in a new site. So they will be called something else, but run by the same teams of people. Arcadia want to go and see the site next week… it’s not going to be exactly the same. It will be unique. With the same team, but crafted into a new event. Like a sister festival. We’re not going to just try to roll out Glastonbury 100 miles away.”

 

It isn’t replacing Glastonbury

 

The Variety Bazaar is intended to run on summer solstice weekend every five years, in Glastonbury’s fallow years, while Glastonbury itself will remain at Worthy Farm. “It takes us a whole year to plan this,” Emily told the Guardian. “We couldn’t do both in the same year… There’s no plan to move Glastonbury festival away from Worthy Farm or to stop doing those here.”

 

It’s Michael’s last big spin of the festival wheel

 

Having registered the event name, Michael Eavis is aware he’s taking a major punt on The Variety Bazaar – the closest he’ll ever come to putting his entire life’s savings on red. “I’ve been a risk taker all my life,” he told Glastonbury FM. “I mean 47 years of taking risks really and so far touch wood, I haven’t come unstuck so far. This might be one risk too far, I don’t know.”