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Friday, 25 January, 2002, 03:19 GMT
Green light for Glastonbury
Glastonbury, June 2000
Glastonbury is the UK's biggest music festival
The controversial Glastonbury music festival is set to go ahead after councillors granted it an entertainment licence, despite safety fears.

Mendip District Council in Somerset gave the event - one of Europe's biggest outdoor music festivals - the green light following a debate on Thursday evening.

The festival, which regularly sells more than 100,000 tickets, was cancelled in 2001 due to safety fears raised by police.

Michael Eavis
Michael Eavis: "A lot of work to do"
The previous year, up to 100,000 gatecrashers broke through the event's perimeter fence without paying, breaching the festival's licence.

Organiser Michael Eavis has promised to spend 2m on security, including a new "super fence" to deter gatecrashers and appease councillors.

Following the decision, he said: "We have been working on this for over a year and are all very pleased and have a lot of work to do now.

Last chance

"People should not come without a ticket - we have to plead with people not to come along unless they do.

"It's a make or break thing for us, but we really do have to make it work this year.

"We've got a full team of energetic people that really want to make it work and people with a great track record, so we are confident that we can do it."
New 2m security measures
3.6m fence
663 security staff
12 CCTV cameras
Six watchtowers
'No ticket, no entry'
Car park surveillance
Free bus to take gatecrashers away

Safety fears were heightened after nine music fans were crushed to death at a Danish festival in 2000.

Despite promising not to block the application, police still had reservations over gatecrashers and estimated the festival increased the local crime rate by a third.

Chief Superintendent John Buckley said: "The crucial question is whether they can deliver the proposals. I'm not convinced they can.

Council powers

"Our force is small and we may have trouble policing the event due to operational commitments."

But there is strong local support because of the economic benefits.

A condition of the licence includes agreeing to delegate powers to council officers to oversee the management of events.
Aerial view, 2000
Up to 100,000 crashed the party in 2000

In 2000, Mr Eavis was fined 6,000 for exceeding his public entertainments licence, which allowed a maximum 105,000 festival-goers.

This year, he applied for a licence for 140,000 people, but 40,000 tickets will be for local residents, performers and backstage crew.

Veteran rockers Rod Stewart, The Who and former Pink Floyd songwriter Roger Waters are all keen to play, Mr Eavis has said.

Glastonbury is seen by many as the highlight of the UK festival season, and is still held on Mr Eavis's Somerset farmland, where the first festival took place in 1970.

The event also raises hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities such as Greenpeace and Water Aid.

The BBC's Jane Warr
"A six-mile ring of steel will surround the site"

Has the spirit of the festival changed forever?
See also:

22 Jan 02 | Music
Gatecrashers threaten festival
21 Jan 02 | England
Way cleared for Glastonbury
12 Dec 01 | England
Internet campaign backs festival
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