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Monday, 28 January, 2002, 10:05 GMT
Will Glastonbury ever be the same?
The controversial Glastonbury music festival is set to go ahead after councillors granted it an entertainment licence, despite safety fears.

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

Up to 100,000 revellers broke through the event's perimeter fence the previous year without paying, breaching the festival's licence.

But now the festival organiser, Michael Eavis, has promised to spend 2m on security, including a new "super fence" to deter gatecrashers and appease councillors.

With such tight security measures, can the spirit of Glastonbury ever be the same again? What are your favourite Glastonbury memories?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.



It's still the best festy by far!

Paul, Bristol
The festival has gotten very big and very mad, but there are still parts of it that retain the old spirit of Glastonbury, where you can find smaller parties going on all night, lovely chilled out people and mad performers, it's still the best festy by far!
Paul, Bristol

I have the misfortune of living a few miles from the festival site, and know that each festival will result in the countryside turning into a rubbish dump. The area immediately adjacent to the site is fairly well maintained, but it is dreadful immediately outside these areas.
John Atkins, England

Michael does a good job. I attended the festival in 2000 with my wife and children I was pleasantly surprised by how civilised everyone was and we all enjoyed the event. I am sure Pilton will be a lot poorer off without the likes of Michael. Glastonbury was my first festival experience and hopefully not my last.
rs matthews, usa

I did jump last time but I loved it so much I'm buying a ticket because I don't want to be a cause of glasto being stopped forever
Andrew Graf, Wales

I love Glastonbury and have been five times but I hope it's not the same. The last time I went in 1999 I could hardly breathe or see any bands that I really wanted to see due to the people that had jumped the fence. Hopefully this year I'll be really able to enjoy myself.
Neil Goat, UK


Thank you for a truly magical event

Bammy, England
Glastonbury used to be lovely when I first attended in 1986. No-one seemed bothered about which bands were playing and were just there for the atmosphere. Once the huge fences and ticket prices started going up, a different crowd took over and it lost its spontaneity, becoming a much more controlled and commercially orientated affair. Ingenious and intriguing stalls and shows became stagnant as they cropped up in the same places year after year. Increased ticket prices attracted affluent new festival goers and along with them came the people who saw an opportunity to relieve these folk of their weekend's spending money and mobile phones.

You might say that this merely reflects a change in society but it becomes rather more concentrated in this environment and lends an intensely oppressive air to the event. So, thank you Mr Eavis for organising what once was a truly magical event - I had some wonderful experiences there which will stay with me forever. Glastonbury has become just another generic European music festival and I find that a little sad.
Bammy, England

I was one of the thousands of people who gatecrashed the festival in 2000. I visited the festival for the first time in 1999 as a paying customer and was shocked by how easy it was to get in without paying - persuading me to go without a ticket the next time. The new security measures are a great idea. The high level of crime is much more of a threat to the festival atmosphere than the absence of a bunch of freeloaders. My only concern is that the event is likely to sell out extremely quickly this year.
Phil Saunders, UK

Favorite memory: throwing my mud-caked shoes in the mud with a beautiful rainbow in the sky. Glasters 1998.
Tim, UK


We should flood it with police

Andrew, UK
We should wait until the festival is in full swing and then suddenly flood it with police. With the element of surprise, the police should arrest everyone with any illegal substances found on them, including cannabis. The guilty parties should be absolutely hammered in court and strongly coerced into naming their dealers. Until we send out a very strong message to the idiots that think it is cool to dabble in narcotics we will never solve the street crime epidemic in this awful country.
Andrew, UK

The only thing that makes this country awful is the lack of understanding of people like Andrew.
Marcus Allender England

Glastonbury can never be the same as the days of free festivals in the 70s. Although it retains remnants of its roots - it now consists of a strange mixture of Thatcher's generation: demanding dance music, shopping and mobile phone masts on the site. And the hippy element wants everything opposite to this (apart from the drugs perhaps). I've had some of the best weekends of my life there - I just hope it carries on.
Nick H, UK


The spirit of Glastonbury can't include theft, threat and murder

Mike Holmes, Scotland
I've been to every Glastonbury since 1987 and the problem of gatecrashers gets worse every year. Last time the extra numbers meant that litter-collection systems broke down, the toilets overflowed and there were long queues for food and water. Tents were four inches apart in camping fields with fires lit far too close. Safety limits in a camping site are 12 feet and a tent can burn completely in less than a minute! Those caught in a field of fire would have been faced with escape over a 12-foot steel fence.

Gatecrashers will try to tell you that they're somehow in the "spirit" of the festival. They're simply thieves who steal from the charities that the festival supports and who cause problems for the legitimate festival goers who buy tickets. Acceptance of such theft also brings along a more serious criminal element who dig tunnels and charge people to use them or rob them at knifepoint. There have also been gangs caught throwing tents and all their contents into the back of vans and driving off. The spirit of Glastonbury can't include theft, threat and murder and to stop it they need to stop the gatecrashers and arrest them as the thieves and threat to public safety that they are.
Mike Holmes, Scotland


The way to deter people from going to the festival is to book less popular headline acts

Howard Newman, England
Surely the way to deter people from going to the festival is to book less popular headline acts and focus back on the grass roots? The dance tent aspect of the festival has attracted a nasty element - crack selling and muggings are rife and bring down the whole friendly atmosphere of the festival.
Howard Newman, England

The spirit of Glastonbury will remain as special as ever because it's the people that make it.
Dylan, England

I remember my unplanned visit to Glastonbury 3 years ago. There were all sorts of people charging 10 pounds to use their ladder to hop over the fence. I declined on the basis that it would be agianst the spirit of the event to pay 10 pounds. I walked a hundred metres further down and casually crawled through a hole in the fence. The best freebie I've ever had! It certainly gave the event a little extra lift!
Paul, England

I have been blessed with no memory whatsoever of the time I went to Glastonbury on my stag do in 1999. True testament to the event and the bright idea of Billo, my best man.
James Sylvester, UK

Something had to be done after two years ago when it was so crowded it was almost impossible to find a place big enough to put up a small tent. But something will also be lost as the people who scammed their way in also contributed that something extra to the atmosphere making the festival what it is. Except the scum who are responsible for the thieving, let's hope the fence keeps them out.
Gax, Scotland

I go to at least six festivals every year and have done since I was 16. I've seen in that time that the advent of the rave and clubbing cultures and the inclusion in festivals has attracted a different type of punter to festivals. I'm not talking like some sentimental crusty but the drug culture involved with the club scene acts like a magnet to scallies, yardies and other undesirables. The level and types of crime committed at an event like the Bulldog Bash for example is totally different to that at Reading or Glasto and the festival spirit is definitely different. Having said that though, Glasto is still second to none - in the world - just remember if you can't afford to lose it, don't take it. Most importantly go there to enjoy it.
J, Wales


Glastonbury festival organiser Michael Eavis tells BBC News Online that he hopes the event can carry on for at least another four yearsFestival future
Glastonbury organiser sets long-term plan
See also:

25 Jan 02 | Music
Green light for Glastonbury


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