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The BBC's Terry Stiastny
"Many people turn up at the event without tickets"
 real 56k

Festival Organiser, Michael Eavis
"We are under pressure to make lots and lots of changes"
 real 56k

Local resident Frank Challener
"I am pleased"
 real 28k

Thursday, 4 January, 2001, 18:52 GMT
Glastonbury 2001 cancelled
Glastonbury fence-jumpers
Fence-jumpers are a common sight at the festival
The 2001 Glastonbury Festival has been cancelled by organiser Michael Eavis because of safety fears.

Mr Eavis, who held the first festival on his land at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset in 1970, is being prosecuted by the local Mendip District Council over an alleged breach of the event's licence.

The festival, headlined by David Bowie last year, has become one of the biggest events in the British music calendar.

Michael Eavis at the 2000 festival
Michael Eavis promises to be back next year
Eavis said in a statement that he was "very sorry and sad" to have to cancel this year's event, but vowed it would return in 2002.

He said he had taken the decision after "much deliberation and consultation".

Three reasons were cited for the cancellation:

  • To show all the interested parties there has to be a more effective control over numbers, including designing a fence that works properly

    Glastonbury 2000 aerial view
    At least 100,000 people descended on Worthy Farm last year

  • To tell all the people that come without tickets that they are taking up valuable resources on site from the people who are there legitimately

  • The problem of excessive numbers is causing concern, particularly after the festival in Denmark where nine people died last year

"People will have to understand that the growing culture of fence-hopping has to be stopped and the long-term prospects for the festival will depend on us succeeding," Mr Eavis said.

Last year's event was criticised after a large number of people got into the event without paying by climbing fences surrounding the site, and Mr Eavis had earlier promised to build a "super fence" around the site - which is also a working dairy farm - for this year's event.

David Bowie at Glastonbury 2000
David Bowie at Glastonbury 2000
He said he hoped the year off would give "a powerful message to everyone that we are worried about the large number of gatecrashers".

The coming months would be used to develop ways and means of controlling entry to the site effectively, he added.

He told BBC News 24: "It is my own decision, but the police were really worried about the Roskilde problem and we were under great pressure to make lots and lots of changes in order to have more effective control of the numbers.

Roskilde disaster
Nine people died at Roskilde
"We've taken a year out which we've done before, and we've always found it beneficial to do that."

He said a working party had been formed to resolve the issue of excessive numbers, but there was not the time to implement recommendations for this year's event.

"We need time to convince the police that we know what we're doing and that we have the management skills to run this thing properly," he said.

Since 1981, the festival has only been cancelled three times - in 1988, 1991 and 1996.

Some of the UK's best-known charities will also be hit by Glastonbury's cancellation.

WaterAid volunteer at Glastonbury 2000
WaterAid will be hit by Glastonbury's cancellation
Greenpeace, Oxfam, and WaterAid receive a share of ticket sales and also raise funds from festival-goers.

Both Oxfam and WaterAid told BBC News Online they were "disappointed" with Glastonbury's cancellation.

A spokeswoman for WaterAid, which raises money to provide clean water and sanitation facilities in the developing world, added: "We are proud to have been associated with Glastonbury for many years, and have been able to raise substantial funds there on top of funds from festival organisers.

"We look forward to working with them to build a successful festival next year."

Liquid News, BBC Choice's daily entertainment news show, will have coverage of Glastonbury's cancellation at 2030 GMT on Thursday, and it is repeated at 0030 GMT. The show can also be seen online.

Is Michael Eavis right to cancel it? Do you think Glastonbury has become unsafe? Or are the festival organisers, and the authorities over-reacting?

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No Glastonbury
Were they right to cancel it?
See also:

04 Jan 01 | Entertainment
The Glastonbury legend
04 Jan 01 | Talking Point
Was it right to cancel Glastonbury?
21 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Glastonbury 'breached licence'
19 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Bands back Roskilde safety plan
26 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Bowie ends 'best-ever' Glastonbury
26 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Glastonbury in pictures
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