This essay will evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of Glastonbury Festival to the local community. It will mainly focus on the economic impact on the local community of Glastonbury, Pilton and Mendip but will also examine the social impact of the festival. “Festivals may be recurrent events (at intervals of a year of more) such as Glastonbury or one-off affairs like the Armada celebrations of 1988. A festival may be over in a day, a weekend or last a fortnight or more. Most festivals include associated activities, even if they a predominately one art form in concept” (Waters, 1989, pp 57). Glastonbury Festival could be described as a multicultural festival, as defined by Wilson and Udall (1982, pp 4-6, cited in Hall, 1992, pp 26) who state that multicultural festivals are, “festivals representing the cultural materials of many cultures. With few exceptions, audiences tend to be people who are not of the cultures presented. Organisers tend to be academics or eclectic fans of the folk arts with the control of the events likely to be in the hands of a non-profit institution.” Glastonbury Festival donates the majority of their profits to charitable causes and attracts a diverse range of different people and cultures, from the folk fan to the raver.
Glastonbury Festival for Contemporary Performing Arts was started by the owner of Worthy Farm, Michael Eavis, in 1970 and has continued to grow each year since then, with the 2000 festival attracting in excess of 150,000 people (BBC, 2002). Glastonbury Festival is now one of the most well known festivals in the world “…this festival is now a multi-media, international event…” (Avon and Somerset Constabulary, 2002). Hall (1992) highlights some of the benefits to the local community of hosting a festival, he says “undoubtedly, festivals and programs of special events provide opportunities for communities to expand the markets of existing firms and attract new businesses and commercial interests, and perhaps raise the overall attractiveness of the areas as places to settle. However, “the nature of impacts varies with the age and status of the event and the size of the community in which it takes place” (Wall and Mitchell, 1989, p132, cited in Hall, 1992, pp 47). An event such as Glastonbury Festival, however, may not attract the type of people or businesses that the local residents would approve of and this could create conflicts within the local community.
There is a great deal of support for Glastonbury Festival from the local community who benefit from it in many ways, which will be discussed later on in this essay. The Glastonbury Tourist Information Centre show their support for the festival on their website, “The town of Glastonbury has gained enormously from its association with the Glastonbury Festival. In particular, PTA groups, Carnival Clubs, playschools, local charities and businesses are among the many organisations that have benefited from its success. Therefore we, as a community, would like to show our support for the festival and thank Michael Eavis for bringing us all such a wonderful event.” (Glastonbury TIC, 2002). However, there are also a number of local residents who are opposed to the festival due to the problems caused by the quantity and quality of those attending. These views will also be discussed later on in this essay by reviewing the minutes of the meeting by Mendip District Council for the 2002 licence application.
Glastonbury Festivals Ltd. (GFL) have provided a great deal of information as to how the festival financially benefits the local community. A summary of this information will follow. In total, from January 2000 to December 2000, GFL donated £703,158.97 to various charitable organisations worldwide. Of the total amount, £289,613.72 is donated to local causes. These local causes vary from...