THE GLAST TIME?

Michael Eavis writes an open letter warning of the dire consquences facing the event if capacity is exceeded this year...

GLASTONBURY FESITVAL organiser MICHAEL EAVIS has written an open letter pleading with festivalgoers not to turn up to this year’s event without tickets, as they are risking the festival’s closure “for ever”.

In a passionate appeal to music fans across the world titled ‘Glastonbury – Time To Get Real’, Eavis claims that if the 2002 event suffers from overcrowding, future generations of music lovers will be unable to experience the “magical, memorable moments that others have had over the last 30 years”.

Last year, Eavis took a year out from the event to address the issues of fans gaining entry to the event for free. In his letter he admits that in 2000, the last festival, “nearly twice as many people came to the festival than we were allowed under the terms of our licence”.

It is understood that Eavis’ licence application for 2002 is currently at a crucial stage, with a decision likely in the coming weeks. An initial application was removed by Eavis last year, following concerns raised by local police.

The letter from Eavis, in full, reads: “I need to ask you all a big favour.

“Most of you probably know that for years a lot of people have been getting in to Glastonbury without tickets. Over or under the fence, forgery, scams – whatever. This year things have to change for good, otherwise the Festival will be gone, for ever.

“I’ve spent most of my life working on this show, and hundreds, perhaps thousands of people have helped to make it what it is. Let me explain why I’m so worried.

“(In 2000), nearly twice as many people came to the festival than we were allowed under the terms of our licence. Meanwhile, on the same weekend, just across the North Sea at the Roskilde Festival near Copenhagen, a tragedy occurred. Nine people died in a crush as Pearl Jam came onstage. It doesn’t take much to realise that the same thing could happen here if we don’t do something about the overcrowding.

“We have taken a year off to calm things down, and to think about the future. There have been monthly meetings with the authorities to work out acceptable ways to run the event properly, and above all, safely.

“We’ve completely reviewed our security arrangements to make sure safety is of paramount importance. We’ve designed a new fence, one that can’t be taken apart, climbed over or tunnelled under. The approaches will be patrolled constantly by a professional security organisation. We’re also taking steps to stop people without tickets reaching the site. Cars without ticket-holders won’t be let into the car parks. People without tickets won’t be allowed on to the buses coming to the site.

“So this message has to be understood – you will not get in without a ticket.

“The festival site can’t practically be made any bigger than it is. There is only so much room. In order for the festival to continue, we have to keep the numbers within limits that can be shown to be safe. And this is the last chance we have to succeed. If we fail, we will, understandably, be denied our licence in future. No-one wants to allow a tragedy like Roskilde to happen here.

“Please make sure that a new generation of young people can experience the magical, memorable moments that others have had over the last 30 years. Please respect the festival, and all that it stands for. It has become a real part of our culture. You need it, we need it, the charities we all support need it.

“I’m pleading with you to help me keep it alive.

“Don’t come without a ticket.”

Michael Eavis

if approved, Glastonbury 2002 will take place over the weekend of June 28-30.