A lawyer at Glastonbury Festival has spoken out about the challenges coronavirus brings to the running of the event. Glastonbury Festival 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic, but as it stands Glastonbury Festival 2021 is still planned to go ahead.
Ben Challis, general counsel for Glastonbury Festival, has revealed the current complex situation for the world-famous music event, including booking acts, touring schedules, virus testing measures and providing refunds.
Speaking on the latest Behind The Noise podcast, he said: “At Glastonbury Festival, we are still looking at June 2021.
“The plan would be to re-book the 2020 bill and then move everything, including our 50th year celebrations, to 2021. Although we are big, and its an iconic event, and some artists do occasionally come over just to do Glastonbury, most international headline artists will do Europe and build in the UK as part of Europe. These tours will be planned one or two years in advance, so when you start factoring in travel restrictions, the potential for local lockdowns and cancellations, what looked like a viable tour could suddenly become completely unviable.“
“Like everybody else Glastonbury isn’t immune to these difficulties.”
The lawyer also discussed how “the economics of festivals and touring may be radically different” after the pandemic.
Mr Challis said: “Next year, there will be two year’s worth of bands going for one year’s worth of festivals, and of course some festivals may even go bankrupt. However, will that push fees up or down? You would say it would push fees down, because there will be more supply and less demand, but that depends on how many bands will be willing to do that, and if they can adapt their touring to a lower finance business model – and quite a lot won’t be able to without radically changing how they do their shows.“
“So there are all sorts of different things that might happen at the upper end of the market.”