Glastonbury has been held since 1970 and attracts around 175,000 people. The main stages host some of the world’s biggest bands – with Muse, Adele and Coldplay headlining in 2016 – and performances, partying and great fields of tents stretch over miles of farmland.
To allow the land to recover, the festival traditionally had occasional ‘fallow’ years in which no event takes place, with the next one due in 2018. But the suggestion the festival could move is a relatively new one.
Eavis said that the move to the new site would be temporary. “I am arranging for one year off, say every fifth year or so, to try and move the show to a site that’s more suitable, I have to say,” he told the BBC. “But it would be a huge loss to Somerset if it went there forever, would it not?”
The festival is currently based on and around Worthy Farm, which is owned by Eavis and is a working farm for much of the year. It is home to a stone circle and has spiritual associations for many people – the surrounding area is associated with King Arthur and Glastonbury Abbey is claimed to have been founded by Joseph of Arimathea, who buried Jesus according to the New Testament.
But the site faces numerous logistical problems. There was severe traffic congestion at 2016’s festival, and Eavis said earlier this year that he had to rent land from 22 other farmers to make the event work. The potential 2019 site is around 100 miles away from Worthy Farm, which would put it between Milton Keynes and Birmingham. But Eavis told the BBC he did not want to leave Somerset permanently. “Most people are on side now and it’s a wonderful, wonderful boost for the whole of Somerset and beyond as well,” he told the BBC. “I don’t want to lose it forever, no way.”
A photo posted by Glastonbury Festival (@glastofest) on Jun 25, 2016 at 8:57am PDT
Music festivals are a key part of the British summer, but a number have been forced to reconsider their locations. Bestival announced a few days ago that it would leave its current home on the Isle of Wight, while T in the Park will not take place in 2017.