Glastonbury Organizers Say Bankruptcy Is a Very Real Possibility

An evening shot of Glastonbury 2011. Photo Credit: jaswooduk

In March, Digital Music News was first to report that Glastonbury organizers had canceled their much-anticipated festival’s 2020 edition due to COVID-19 concerns. Now, unless the event can welcome back fans in 2021, bankruptcy is a very real possibility.

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily, who arrange the Pilton, Somerset, festival annually, shed light upon the troubling financial reality in a recent interview with The Guardian.

The function’s 84-year-old founder, Michael Eavis, bluntly stated that another cancellation will likely mark the end of his festival, which debuted in 1970. To be sure, the “severe financial implications” of putting the 2020 edition on ice were emphasized in the aforementioned March cancellation announcement. Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, and Kendrick Lamar had been set to headline the five-day-long festival.

Given all that’s riding on Glastonbury 2021, Michael and Emily Eavis have indicated that they’re already working hard to protect the health and wellbeing of attendees – including by conducting preliminary discussions about pre-entry health checks, tracing possibilities, and more. Similarly, Glastonbury’s charitable and environmental undertakings are still in full swing, and both individuals are dedicating a substantial amount of effort and planning to their details and execution.

Glastonbury recently invited fans to remotely celebrate the festival under the #GlastoAtHome banner, and Emily Eavis elaborated upon the initiative by requesting that the UK government “offer support to the live industry, which is frankly on its knees and faces being wiped out.”

Plus, BBC is hosting archived Glastonbury performances as part of a compilation program entitled “The Glastonbury Experience.” Full sets from David Bowie, Adele, Kanye West, and many other artists are available presently.

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Glastonbury is hardly the only annual event that’s facing an uncertain future because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Shortly after pulling the plug on their 2020 happening, Burning Man organizers said: “Truthfully, without major changes, deep cutbacks, and a generous outpouring of donations, we could only stay operational for a few months on our reserve funds.”

About 11 weeks have passed since Burning Man 2020’s cancellation announcement, and no update has yet been provided on next year’s iteration.

SXSW pushed to proceed with its event – initially expected to occur between March 13th and March 22nd – during the early days of the pandemic, but high-profile panelist cancellations quickly piled up, and the City of Austin ultimately nixed the function.

SXSW then laid off a third of its team and, lacking an insurance payment because its policy didn’t cover disease-related expenses, noted that SXSW 2021 is far from set in stone.