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Michael Eavis reveals Glastonbury may be forced to leave Worthy Farm over safety fears

Concerns over a gas pipe running through festival site have been raised with organiser

NME / Derek Bremner

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Glastonbury may be forced to move to a new venue amid concerns over the safety of a gas pipe running through its current location on Worthy Farm, Michael Eavis has warned.

Although the Glastonbury founder does not believe a move is imminent, he has already earmarked a back-up location "about 20 miles up the road" should the move become a necessity.

Speaking in Dublin last week, Eavis said: “We’ve got a gas main running through the site, a big gas pipe coming down from the North of England to Torquay. They [Mendip District Council and gas technicians] said this is dangerous and I said, ‘Well it’s been there for years and so have we’. So every year they make a fuss about this pipe.

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"We’re supposed to stop people dancing on the pipe, which is a pretty impossible thing to do. They say that if they are all dancing on the pipe at the same time they could fracture it."

Eavis said that the decision was made last year "to turn the pressure down on the pipe" during the festival weekend.

He added: “I have a reserve site at the moment that’s pretty sorted. So if I get any problems with Worthy Farm, then I can move it about 20 miles up the road. I hope I don’t have to do that because the festival is really about the farm and Glastonbury and the vale of Avalon – all the mystery and legends of the area. So it wouldn’t be quite the same if we had to move it away for the sake of the gas pipe. But you never know.”

Last year, organisers of Scotland’s T in The Park festival were forced to move from their former location in Balado, Kinross amid concerns over a pipeline which carries North Sea oil to Grangemouth. The festival was subsequently moved to Strathallan Castle in Perthshire where it was staged for the first time in July.

Any change in venue for Glastonbury would be unlikely to take place until 2024, when the festival’s current 10-year licence for its Worthy Farm location expires.

Eavis also revealed that he has met with police to discuss concerns over terrorism following the recent Paris attacks, which saw 89 people killed at an Eagles of Death Metal concert amid a spate of attacks which left 129 dead.

He said: “I don’t know really if we would be targets for that kind of thing. I would hope not but then nobody deserves to be a target for that. We’re 120 miles from London and 120 miles from Birmingham, so we’re a long way from the big cities.

“We’ve already had a meeting with the police. We’ve gone all these years without any trouble at all. Hardly any violence, hardly any crime and it would be a terrible, terrible shame if something is about to change.”

Asked if the attacks would lead to a change in the festival’s security, Eavis said that he believed the festival was already “pretty secure”.

The Glastonbury founder was in Ireland to speak to students at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) in Dublin before taking part in a public Q&A at the Íontas Theatre in Co. Monaghan.

During the visit, he would not be drawn on headliners for next year’s festival only saying, “All of my choices have come through for next year. It’s the best year. Four acts that I really wanted have all agreed to come and play.”

Asked what bands he could one day see headlining the festival, Eavis mentioned Foals as “one of the middleweight bands that are making it now”. He also revealed that Paul McCartney had spent more money on the production of his 2004 headline set than the festival had paid him, and that McCartney was eager to return.

Eavis recently revealed that all the headliners have been booked for the next two instalments of the festival, telling Radio 1 in September that four of the six headliners have topped the bill before and two are completely new.

Glastonbury Festival 2016 will take place from June 22-26.
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