Michael Eavis has us worried. Back in June 2015, the festival boss first revealed he’d thought about moving the Glastonbury site from Pilton, where the festival has taken place since 1970, because he doesn’t own all of the land the festival is held on. “I may have to find a site that’s bigger and is all under the control of one person,” he commented. “That’s the ideal situation, so that might happen in the long-term”. Last month he reportedly started talking about hosting an event at the nearby Longleat Safari Park in 2018. And then, last night at the Oxford Union, the festival’s head honcho discussed the possibility of moving in 2017. Eek.
Of course, nothing has been set in stone yet, but Eavis’ talk is concerning, not least because a nagging thought that a Glastonbury festival that doesn’t take place on Worthy Farm simply isn’t Glastonbury.
The whole point of Glastonbury – without doubt the Best Festival In The World – is that its megalithic size and remote location mean you instantly become knitted into the grassy, tent-strewn fabric of the event. Leaving is impossible. You can’t just nip out to the corner shop, decide that it’s all got a bit too much and jump on the train a five minute walk away or snub the long-drops in favour of nipping to the lavs in a pub a convenient distance from your tent.
Glastonbury isn’t about convenience, it’s about commitment. It’s about the sheer scale of the thing. It’s about being airdropped into a hostile territory and surviving. It’s The Island with Bear Grylls but with falafel stalls. It’s tough and it’s painful but it’s also amazing and brilliant and the best way to cover yourself in human filth for five days and still get smiles from strangers in a service station on the way home.
Of course, it’s not all hard work. There are other reasons a Glastonbury anywhere else other nestled by Pilton’s prime real estate wouldn’t be as good, namely, the Stone Circle. Who cares that it’s a sham of a pagan rock formation (it’s actually only been there since 1992) it’s the only place to watch the sun come up while talking nonsense to a tie-dye-wearing pan-pipe player from Bristol and feeling vaguely like you might get into tarot cards when you get back home. Then there are the spectacular views of the Tor you get while gazing towards the Pyramid Stage. Or that lovely hill you can sit on to watch said the action on the triangular shaped monolith. Or the weird woodland area up beyond the Beat Hotel. Or the twee little bridges dotted across the site. Or the dream-like Park Stage, with the ribbon tower looming and fluttering above it all. Or the teepee field. Or the walk along the railway track…
Everyone has their favourite part of the Glastonbury site. All different, all excellent in their own way – even when covered with mud. So Michael, if you’re reading this, please don’t go changing – especially when it comes to the location of Glastonbury, but also when it comes to your fondness for wearing shorts the whole year around.