Delighted music fans return to Glastonbury and Paul McCartney

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GLASTONBURY, England, June 22 (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of music fans joined Worthy Farm on Wednesday for the three-year return of Glastonbury, the beloved music festival which will feature hundreds of artists from Billie Eilish to Paul McCartney.

The jubilant scenes come as relief to a live music industry that has been battling for survival after COVID-19 wiped out the entire 2020 season and much of 2021, forcing venues to refund tickets and go without. revenue.

“We are open,” Michael Eavis, who founded Glastonbury 52 years ago, told a cheering crowd as the first of 200,000 revelers entered his farmhouse in south-west England. “Absolutely wonderful,” he said. “Nice to see you all.”

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While Glastonbury, the world’s biggest greenfield festival, is back in full force, playing for people who secured their tickets in 2019, many smaller festivals are struggling to cope with one of the toughest economic environments. more difficult for decades.

Many have carried over tickets from previous years, limiting the ability to raise prices to reflect soaring costs.

Glastonbury is unique in that it sells out before the headliners are announced, given the strength of previous line-ups with stars ranging from Beyonce to David Bowie, Dolly Parton to Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones .

Rival events, often hosted by people who caught the virus at Glastonbury, cannot rely on this level of commitment.

“We are very happy to be out of the woods in terms of COVID restrictions,” said Paul Reed, chief executive of the Association of Independent Festivals. “However, it doesn’t turn out to be a huge bounce for festivals.”

Costs in the industry have risen by 20-30%, he said, due to pressure in supply chains, a shortage of skilled workers after many left the industry and high energy costs.

“Festivals are risky businesses at the best of times,” he said, noting that most independent festivals operated on margins of 10% or less.

Price increases were also limited. Glastonbury has raised its price to £280 from £265 in 2020.

A number of smaller festivals, such as Brainchild in East Sussex, have had to cancel.

“It’s been a perfect ‘post-pandemic’ storm of dramatically increased costs due to inflation, unprecedented supply chain issues, and most importantly, much slower/more last-minute ticket sales than ever before “Brainchild said in a statement.

For many, going through this year and putting on any show will be a testament to the industry’s will to survive.

Dave Lamb and his wife, who are both foster parents from Derby in central England, said they were desperate to escape the pressures of daily life in the vast fields of Glastonbury.

“It’s like coming home,” he said as he entered the site. “It’s just a community; it’s one of the best places on earth.”

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Reporting by Paul Sandle Editing by Alexandra Hudson

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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