[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 26 June, 2005, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Living it up at five-star festival
By Ian Youngs
BBC News entertainment reporter at Glastonbury

Mark Edgley
Windinglake Farm's Mark Edgley takes time out in the site salon
Wealthy music fans are paying thousands of pounds to stay in two new luxury festival camps that have sparked a debate about the true Glastonbury spirit.

There is a Ferrari parked outside a palatial motorhome, a Bentley going back and forth along the country lanes and models mingling with film stars at the bar.

On the hills above the festival, this is Windinglake Farm, the new face of Glastonbury - where those who can afford it enjoy the event in style.

As the festival has grown more respectable and fashionable, it has attracted a crowd who would like to enjoy the event - but escape the mud, crowds and toilets when they want.

Complete with hair and make-up trailer and four bar and club areas, Windinglake Farm offers easy access to the festival but with dry and spacious accommodation and hip entertainment.

The Chemical Brothers and model Jodie Kidd are staying there while actress Keira Knightley popped in for a record company party on Friday.

The farm's grounds have been transformed, with 20 motor homes costing 3,000 each for the weekend, plus more than 100 normal caravans for up to 700 each.

On another nearby farm, Camp Kerala hit the headlines after 50 large five-star tents were snapped up for 6,000 each, with two VIP festival tickets thrown in.

'Silly money'

Festival founder Michael Eavis says his neighbours are just meeting a demand - but are not in line with the festival's original spirit.

Windinglake Farm
Windinglake Farm's customers do not drive old camper vans
"I don't necessarily condone it myself but they're quite entitled to have a go," he says.

"They're catering for a commercial need - there are rich people out there that will pay silly money to perch on the edge and to come into the site.

"But it's nothing to do with me whatsoever. Glastonbury wasn't really built on that principle, really, was it?"

The festival had moved on from the "old hippy days", he admits, but the original idea did not cater for very wealthy people.

His fellow farm owners are "fantastic neighbours", he says, adding he does not blame them for trying.

"But what they're doing is not what I do, basically."

The festival's spirit has already changed and Camp Kerala is merely reflecting the new demands, site manager Jason Clark argues.

Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley has been a visitor to Windinglake Farm
"The fence has changed the face of the festival a lot," he says.

"It's a much safer and more controlled event. The ethos has changed."

'Too old for mud'

Camp Kerala's 100 guests - wealthy individuals such as bankers and internet entrepreneurs - all get proper toilets and showers, full breakfasts and a view over the festival.

"The majority of people here came to Glastonbury 15 years ago and have had their kids and made some money and are a bit too old to wallow around in the mud," according to Mr Clark.

At Windinglake Farm, owner Mark Edgley says most of his guests also went to the festival when they were younger and are now coming back.

"I still give that experience but you are warm and dry," he says.

Seeing people covered in mud, I knew I could come back and have a shower and sleep in a bed
Justin Devilliers (right)
He is not staying true to the Glastonbury spirit - if that means being cold and wet and having no space, he says.

But he insists he is trying to preserve the event's atmosphere.

"I give the maximum amount of space and luxury without losing any of the feeling of the festival," he says.

As well as the motorhomes and caravans, fans can also stay in medieval-style "jousting tents", there is space for after-show parties and those who cannot face the festival itself can watch the action on big screens in a bar.

There are toilet and shower blocks - although they have had problems with water supplies, heating systems and mud-blocked drains.

Both Windinglake Farm and Camp Kerala feel separated from the bustle of the main festival site - which is why some pay to stay there, while others would stay away.

'A Godsend'

Justin Devilliers, from Durban, South Africa, says his motorhome - complete with microwave, fridge and CD player - on Windinglake Farm is "a Godsend".

"Walking around, seeing people covered in mud, I knew I could come back and have a shower and sleep in a bed," he says.

Camp Kerala
Take a seat at Camp Kerala
"It's the first time we've been here so to come here in style is definitely the best way to break yourself into Glastonbury."

Peter Leigh, 37, from London, has been coming to Glastonbury since 1985 - but is in a caravan on Windinglake Farm this year with his friends.

"It's great to have a bit of space and dry land," he says. "It's not exactly an exclusive enclave but it's just a nice respite."

Mr Leigh feels the demand has arisen because the festival has already changed.

"I wouldn't have thought there would have been a need for this 10 years ago," he says. "But as it's grown I guess there's a need for these facilities."

See how music fans coped with the mud

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific