Could Glastonbury go bankrupt after cancelling for second year?

Glastonbury has been cancelled for a second year in a row leaving fans not only devastated about missing out again, but also concerned about the festival’s future after organisers recently called for financial help from the Government. 

In June, Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis said the festival could go ‘seriously bankrupt’ if it was cancelled for a second time. 

His daughter Emily Eavis recently made a public plea for the Government to provide financial insurance in case they were to cancel the event again. 

Now that the worst case scenario has happened, is this truly the end of Glastonbury? 

Dr Craig Hamilton, music researcher at Birmingham City University’s School of Media, told ‘While Glastonbury’s cancellation is sad, it is not wholly unexpected and it seems likely that other festivals (particularly the larger ones) will have to make similar calls in the near future.

‘Some smaller festivals may be able to delay their postponement in the hope that the situation improves, but I would expect the majority to follow suit in the coming weeks. 

‘Glastonbury’s cancellation is a watershed moment in that regard.’ 

Joe Wadsworth, from The Online Recording Studio, fears the worst and weighed in: ‘When Michael Eavis said last year that Glastonbury would go bankrupt if it wasn’t staged in 2021, he meant it – at least, in its current form.

Jason EB, former marketing executive at Sony and Universal, is also optimistic about the future and said that while the Glastonbury news is a ‘devastating blow’, organisers have said they can ‘survive financially if they were given enough notice upfront’.

Six months could seem like enough time but it’s not known how far the Glastonbury team were into their planning for the 2021 event.

Marcella Puppini from The Puppini Sisters believes organisers would’ve moved swiftly to avoid detrimentally impacting the festival’s future.

‘I’m pretty confident that Glastonbury will be OK,’ she said.

‘Last year, the decision to cancel came much later (they were still announcing the line-up in mid-March), and a whole lot of backline and deposits would already have been paid for. This year they started off very cautiously.

‘I think that they might have made the call early enough to avoid the worst and with tickets rolling over to 2022, they should have enough cashflow to keep going. It’s a tough old world out there for the music industry right now, but the Eavis’ are very smart business people with huge resources, so I am hopeful that they’ll survive.’

Jason suggests other UK festivals will again move their events online as a few did in 2020 in an attempt to keep their audiences engaged.

He continued: ‘As we approach the second summer in a pandemic, we hope that festival organisers are able to pivot to digital experiences – with events such as Wireless Festival, Notting Hill Carnival and Mobo Awards all providing stellar virtual experiences in lieu of live events. 

‘Hopefully, with the blessing of foresight – we’ll see Glasto etc all follow suit and provide us with all the good times from the comfort of our own homes. 

‘Fingers crossed, with vaccinations underway, we’ll once again be able to put our wellies on and enjoy the mud soaked fields of Glasto!’ 

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