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Photography Joe Green, via Unsplash

Glastonbury says it needs government support amid cancellation fears

Organiser Emily Eavis has said financial assistance would enable organisers to ‘move forward with the planning’

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis has called on the government to offer financial support to festivals, which still face uncertainty about whether they’ll be able to go ahead next summer, as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

Although Glastonbury’s lawyer has said he’s adamant that the 2021 event will go ahead, Eavis and her father Michael have said it’s “already getting tight” to prepare for next year’s festival, due to insurers being cautious about offering cancellation cover. The organisers say that without this cover, they’re at risk of losing millions of pounds in revenue.

Speaking to The Times, Eavis said: “In a usual planning cycle, we would already be well into organising the next festival. The best solution would be for the government to offer direct financial support in the event of Glastonbury, and other events, being forced to cancel once they’re well into the preparations.”

“If the government can share the risk by offering direct financial support, then it gives everyone the opportunity to move forward with the planning in the hope that things will be safe to run in the summer, and in the knowledge that backing is available if we’re simply not in a position to go ahead,” she continued.

Eavis revealed that Glastonbury had “lost a substantial amount of money” this year, and warned that a second cancellation would cause the festival to “seriously go bankrupt”.

In October, Michael Eavis suggested that the 2021 festival might be able to go ahead with mass coronavirus testing. “Do we want to test 200,000 people three times – when they leave their home, when they’re halfway here, and when they get to the (festival) gate – so that we’re clear of COVID?” he pondered.

Speaking to NME, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport said: “We know these are challenging times for the live events sector, and we are working flat out to support it. We have invested £1 billion so far through the culture recovery fund to protect tens of thousands of creative jobs, with £400m more support still to come.”

2020’s event marked the 50th anniversary of Glastonbury, and was set to be headlined by Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, and Taylor Swift before it was cancelled in March. Those who had already paid their £50 deposit could either get a refund, or roll it over to next year, enabling them to have first dibs on tickets for the 2021 festival.

While we await further news, look back at some of Glastonbury’s most iconic moments here.