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Driift “mortified” about Glasto technical issues

Livestreaming business Driift has “apologised unreservedly” for the technical issues that prevented thousands of ticketholders from accessing Glastonbury’s global live stream event on Saturday (22 May).

Fans in the UK who bought ‘Live at Worthy Farm’ tickets (priced at £20) were unable to watch performances from the likes of Coldplay, Jorja Smith and George Ezra after their unique codes were flagged as invalid.

Two hours after the event started (7 pm local time), Driift were forced to release a free link to the stream and offer refunds.

The company, which has hosted livestreams for Laura Marling, Nick Cave, Andrea Bocelli and Kylie Minogue, has now issued an apology and a statement explaining that a third-party provider was partially responsible for the fault.

“Driift is not a tech business or a media platform, and we rely on a third party company for certain aspects of protecting the stream. This provider has now identified the cause of last night’s problems, and, although we are awaiting a full technical report, there were no subsequent issues for ticket buyers accessing later streams for North America or Australia.”

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis shared a statement on Twitter saying she was “gutted” about the technical issues experienced by some viewers but that despite the problems, “the Glastonbury community has showed us such solidarity and love and we are overwhelmed by your generosity, patience, kindness and appreciation of the incredible film, which was so wonderfully put together by [Grammy award-nominated director] Paul Dugdale”

“We made no financial gain from this livestream event, and we hoped it would generate much needed revenue for the festival”

Driift added that the company “made no financial gain from this livestream event, and we hoped it would generate much needed revenue for the festival”.

“In that spirit, we sincerely hope that those who encountered problems will take the opportunity to watch and enjoy the event today, and that many more will buy tickets to support the festival and its three associated charities.”

Live at Worthy Farm was set up to support Glastonbury’s three main charitable partners, Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid, as well as helping to secure next year’s edition of the flagship festival.

Stagehand, the live production hardship fund that has been providing financial support to crew members throughout the pandemic, will receive the proceeds from a limited edition line-up poster for the event.

The five-hour production also saw performances from Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, Wolf Alice and DJ Honey Dijon across the site’s landmarks.

Three other streams set up to suit other timezones were unaffected by the malfunction.

 


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Two-day Glasto concert could welcome up to 50k

Glastonbury could welcome up to 50,000 fans this summer for a two-day concert at Worthy Farm.

Organiser Emily Eavis revealed in March that the festival had applied for a license to stage live music and sell alcohol between 2 pm and 11 pm at a ‘single event’ across a Friday and Saturday in September.

New details submitted to Mendip District Council reveal the potential concert would utilise only the main Pyramid Stage field at Worthy Farm and the event would have a maximum capacity of 49,999 people, with four separate car parks close to the main concert arena, according to Somerset Live.

The proposed event would be substantially smaller than a typical Glastonbury Festival, which welcomes more than 200,000 people to Pilton, and would also not feature any overnight camping facilities for attendees.

The potential concert would utilise only the main Pyramid Stage field at Worthy Farm

Mendip Council is set to meet this week (May 12) to discuss the application. IQ has asked Glastonbury to comment.

Since the coronavirus pandemic forced the festival’s cancellation for a second consecutive year, the organisers have revealed a number of alternative plans including a family-friendly campsite dubbed Worthy Pastures and a global ticketed live stream, Live at Worthy Farm.

Live at Worthy Farm will see Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles, Jorja Smith, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, Wolf Alice, DJ Honey Dijon and more perform across the site’s landmarks on 22 May 2021.

The online event will be broadcast in full across four separate time zones, with staggered livestreams. Tickets are on sale now at worthyfarm.live for £20/€23/US$27.50/A$35.

 


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Glastonbury goes global with ticketed livestream

Glastonbury will host an exclusive global livestream from its Worthy Farm festival site on 22 May, in lieu of the flagship event which was called off for a second consecutive year.

Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles, Jorja Smith, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, Wolf Alice and DJ Honey Dijon will perform across the site’s landmarks – including the Pyramid Field and the Stone Circle – for the event, dubbed Live at Worthy Farm. There will also be a number of unannounced surprise performances.

The uninterrupted five-hour production will be shot by acclaimed Grammy-nominated director Paul Dugdale and co-promoted and produced by Driift, the pioneering UK livestream business which has hosted livestreams for Laura Marling, Nick Cave, Andrea Bocelli and Kylie Minogue.

“For one night only people all over the world will be able to join us on this journey through [Worthy Farm] together”

The performances will be interspersed by a spoken word narrative, written and delivered by special guests.

“After two Glastonbury cancellations, it brings us great pleasure to announce our first online livestream, which will present live music performances filmed across Worthy Farm at landmarks including the Pyramid and, for the first time ever, the Stone Circle,” says Glastonbury organiser, Emily Eavis.

“It will feature a rolling cast of artists and performers who have all given us enormous support by agreeing to take part in this event, showing the farm as you have never seen it. There will also be some very special guest appearances and collaborations. We are hoping this will bring a bit of Glastonbury to your homes and that for one night only people all over the world will be able to join us on this journey through the farm together!”

Live at Worthy Farm will support Glastonbury’s three main charitable partners, Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid, as well as helping to secure next year’s edition.

Stagehand, the live production hardship fund that has been providing financial support to crew members throughout the pandemic, will receive the proceeds from a limited edition line-up poster for the event.

The online event will be broadcast in full across four separate time zones, with staggered livestreams.  Tickets are on sale now at worthyfarm.live for £20/€23/US$27.50/A$35.

Live at Worthy Farm

 


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Glastonbury won’t go bankrupt after 2021 cancellation

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis says that the cancellation of this year’s event and a second fallow year won’t bankrupt the festival.

Last week, Emily and her father Michael, who founded Glastonbury, announced that the festival would not take place this year, “in spite of our efforts to move heaven and earth”.

In an interview with The Guardian, Emily dismissed concerns that Glastonbury could go bankrupt after a second fallow year and also denied reports that the cancellation was due to insurance issues.

Emily said that the 2021 cancellation was due to a number of factors, from restrictions on public transport to the availability of medical staff and “the simple fact that mass gatherings are currently still legally prohibited and it’s not at all clear when that will be reversed”.

“Next year is going to give us all such an enormous high… when we can all reunite on this scale it will feel even more uplifting”

In 2020 the festival lost £5 million after cancelling in March with much of the planning and work underway. Cancelling now meant this year’s losses would not compare, she said.

“We would have been in trouble if we’d hedged our bets and pushed on regardless to March and then had to cancel. We’d have spent a lot of money by then, money which we wouldn’t get back.”

Following her earlier appeal for a government-backed event cancellation fund – similar to schemes that have launched in Germany and Austria – Eavis said: “It’s not even about insurance. It’s about the government offering direct financial support where events have to cancel because of circumstances they have no control over. If other countries can do that, I would hope we would be able to.”

Looking to the future, Eavis says that the 2022 event will be an “enormous high” and in the meantime, is working on Glastonbury-related projects for this year, including livestreamed events, and possibly a version of the annual Pilton Party usually held in September.

Planning for the 2022 festival would traditionally commence in September but could be pushed back “if we’re extremely confident we’ll be able to go ahead”, Eavis told The Guardian. “I think next year is going to give us all such an enormous high, because when we can all reunite on this scale it will feel even more uplifting than ever. One thing this last year has taught us is that fundamentally we all need human connection.”

 


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Glastonbury Festival 2021 is cancelled

The 2021 edition of Glastonbury Festival is cancelled, according to a statement from organisers Michael and Emily Eavis.

“With great regret, we must announce that this year’s Glastonbury Festival will not take place, and that this will be another enforced fallow year for us,” reads the statement on the Worthy Farm event’s website.

“In spite of our efforts to move heaven and earth, it has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down.

“It has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down”

“As with last year, we would like to offer all those who secured a ticket in October 2019 the opportunity to roll their £50 deposit over to next year, and guarantee the chance to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2022. We are very appreciative of the faith and trust placed in us by those of you with deposits, and we are very confident we can deliver something really special for us all in 2022!

“We thank you for your incredible continued support and let’s look forward to better times ahead.”

Phil Bowdery, chair, Concert Promoter’s Association and LIVE co-founder: “It is devastating that Glastonbury, one of the crown jewels of the UK’s live music and festival scene, has been forced to cancel for another year.

“We need time to prepare and we desperately need a government-backed insurance scheme to unlock our future”

“With some light at the end of the tunnel, with the vaccine roll-out underway, we need time to prepare and we desperately need a government-backed insurance scheme to unlock our future. Now more than ever we need this to be put in place or our globally successful festival industry could be damaged for years to come.”

DCMS Committee chair and MP, Julian Knight, says: “The news that the UK has lost the Glastonbury Festival for a second year running is devastating. We have repeatedly called for ministers to act to protect our world-renowned festivals like this one with a government-backed insurance scheme. Our plea fell on deaf ears and now the chickens have come home to roost.

“The jewel in the crown will be absent but surely the government cannot ignore the message any longer – it must act now to save this vibrant and vital festivals sector.”

“The government cannot ignore the message any longer – it must act now to save this vibrant and vital festivals sector”

Dave Webster, Musicians Union, says: “We are bitterly disappointed to hear that Glastonbury has announced its had to cancel this year’s festival. Another devastating blow to the music industry caused by this insidious virus. Ongoing uncertainty around insurance is leaving other festivals and events in a precarious position for 2021.”

In December last year, Emily Eavis joined many across the UK’s live industry in appealing for a government-backed event cancellation fund – similar to schemes that have launched in Germany and Austria – to enable operators to plan for this summer’s festival season without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Eavis said the festival had struggled to get cancellation insurance from commercial underwriters to help cover losses if the 2021 edition were to be postponed or cancelled.

Prior to that, her father Michael, with whom she organises the festival, warned back in June that they would “seriously go bankrupt” if they were not able to hold the festival again.

Last year’s 50th-anniversary event was meant to be headlined by Sir Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar, but it was cancelled during the initial national lockdown in March 2020.

At the beginning of January, key stakeholders in the UK’s festival industry gave evidence at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee’s inquiry into safeguarding the future of the sector.

Witnesses including Parklife’s Sacha Lord, AIF’s Paul Reed and UK Music chief Jamie Njoku-Goodwin relayed the key demands of the sector, which include an indicative date for a full return to live; a government-backed coronavirus cancellation schemea three-year extension of the VAT reduction and an extension for business rates relief.

Following the inquiry, the DCMS Committee wrote to the chancellor of the exchequer to ask for a government-backed insurance scheme for concerts and festivals, or risk “a summer without festivals”.

Glastonbury is the second major European festival to cancel its 2021 edition after Switzerland’s Baloise Session this morning called off this year’s in-person event scheduled for the autumn. Beatrice Stirnimann, CEO of the Baloise Session, said “it’s impossible to plan with any certainty”.

This story is being regularly updated.

 


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Pressure mounts on UK gov to back Covid insurance

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis has joined many across the UK’s live industry in appealing for a government-backed event cancellation fund to enable operators to plan for next year without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Eavis said the festival had struggled to get cancellation insurance from commercial underwriters to help cover losses if next summer’s event once again needs to be postponed or cancelled.

The appeal comes after her father Michael, with whom she organises the festival, warned back in June that they would “seriously go bankrupt” if they were not able to hold the festival again next year.

In the Times interview, Emily called for the government to launch an insurance fund of its own – similar to schemes that have launched in Germany and Austria – to provide a safety net so that organisers can still make plans in the hopes that it will be safe to hold festivals next summer.

“If the gov can share the risk by offering direct financial support, it gives everyone the opportunity to move forward”

“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 added.

Eavis is the latest in a long line of operators, MPs, insurers and lobbyists that are appealing to the government for event cancellation cover.

LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment), the umbrella group representing the UK live music industry, has been in conversations with DCMS officials for several months regarding a reinsurance scheme and has submitted its own industry-wide proposal for a scheme.

The body has also backed a proposal from a new campaign group Let Live Thrive (LLT) which comprises MPs, Peers, major events organisers and insurers.

The lobbying group last week penned an open letter to culture secretary Oliver Dowden warning that major live events across the UK will not go ahead in 2021 unless a government-backed insurance scheme is swiftly introduced.

It reads, “The planning, insurance buying and decision making is happening now. Though we can’t predict the social distancing requirements for 2021 at this stage, this won’t matter if contingency insurance remains unavailable; live events will simply not take place.”

LLT’s proposal is a solution similar to Pool Re, a government-backed reinsurance fund for terrorism insurance. Steven Howell from Media Insurance Brokers (MIB) told IQ recently that he believes this solution could work if premiums are raised in line with VAT.

“Most people are used to paying 20% VAT. On insurance, you pay 12% so even if you increase it to 15 and siphoned off that 3%, it would create a pot of money through insurance that is available to bail out in case of cancellation,” he said.

The calls from the UK industry come after the German government last week announced a €2.5 billion cancellation fund to allow event organisers to plan for the second half of 2021 without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.

Finance minister Olaf Scholz said the federal government would like to reimburse all costs “which were made in optimistic expectation and cannot be realised due to corona restrictions” for events in the second half of 2021.

“Otherwise the pandemic will be over at some point, but there will be no concerts. And so the whole machinery with the many self-employed soloists and musicians gets back on its feet,” he added.

Scholz says he is also working on a funding program to support cultural events that are financially impacted by capacity restrictions enforced due to coronavirus, as well as hybrid shows.

In October, the Austrian federal government announced a similar scheme to remove the risk for event organisers and allow them to carry on business as usual.

 


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Demand ‘higher than ever’ for Glastonbury 2020

More than 2.4 million people registered to get their hands on Glastonbury Festival tickets over the weekend, with all 135,000 tickets selling out in just over half an hour.

Glastonbury 2020, which will take place from 24 to 28 June at long-time home Worthy Farm in Somerset, marks the 50th anniversary of the event.

“We have now sold out. Thank you all for your incredible, continued support. Demand was higher than ever, with over 2.4 million people registered. Bring on 2020!” posted Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis on Sunday (6 October), just 34 minutes after tickets had gone on sale.

Coach packages had sold out in just 27 minutes three days before.

“Demand was higher than ever, with over 2.4 million people registered”

A resale of any unwanted or unpaid for coach and ticket packages for Glastonbury 2020 is set for 16 April, followed by a resale of general admission tickets on 19 April. Details of a “special ballot” for the sale of 50 pairs of tickets will also be announced in the next few days.

Fans can also register interest in volunteering at the festival through Glastonbury partner charities Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid.

Glastonbury Festival 2019 took place from 26 June to 1 July, with headline performances from the Cure, Stormzy and the Killers. Tickets for last year’s event also sold speedily, with all being snapped up in 36 minutes.

 


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What to expect from Glastonbury Festival 2019

Glastonbury Festival returns tomorrow (Wednesday 26 June) following a year’s hiatus. As hundreds of thousands of fans prepare to descend on Worthy Farm, here’s what to look out for this year.

In a slow year elsewhere for UK festivals, enthusiasm for this Glastonbury remains high. Standard tickets for the 2019 event sold out in 36 minutes, compared to 50 minutes in pre-fallow year 2017.

Stormzy will become the first UK grime act to head up the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage on the Friday night, followed by the Killers and the Cure on the following evenings. Kylie Minogue will play the Sunday afternoon Legends Slot.

Festival organisers recently revealed dancehall star Sean Paul as a late addition to head up the John Peel stage on Saturday.

Elsewhere, European Talent Exchange Programme (Etep) leaders and May’s Radar Station runnersup, Fontaines D.C., will show why they’re one of Europe’s fastest emerging acts on the William’s Green stage.

Other popular Etep acts performing at the festival include Black Midi, Flohio, Pip Blom and Octavian.

Performing arts collective Arcadia will bring a brand-new installation to this year’s festival, in the form of Pangea. The new arena, Arcadia’s “most ambitious yet”, will see performances from the likes of the Black Madonna, Four Tet and Carl Cox.

Standard tickets for the 2019 event sold out in 36 minutes, compared to 50 minutes in pre-fallow year 2017

The weather, a major talking point of any UK festival, is looking to turn around in time for Glastonbury. Some forecasters are predicting the hottest Glastonbury Festival on record, with London’s Met Office indicating temperatures could hit 35°C.

According to Met Office forecaster Grahame Madge, “it will start out overcast and there could be the potential for some showers but going forward it’s going to be much dryer than in recent days.

“There may be some heavy showers in the south west of England, though these are likely to be further west than Glastonbury.”

The Greenpeace-partnered festival is striving to up its eco-friendly policies this year, banning single-use plastic bottles and encouraging attendees to leave no waste behind. National food retailer the Co-op will sell sandwiches in 100% compostable packaging at its pop-up shop at the festival.

A proposed Glastonbury spin-off festival, the Variety Bazaar, appears to be on hold. Organisers had previously claimed that the event would take place instead of Glastonbury Festival in 2021, on a different site.

 


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No more plastic bottles at Glastonbury

Single-use plastic drinks bottles will not be available at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, with organisers encouraging festivalgoers to bring reusable bottles to refill at free water taps, WaterAid kiosks and from bars across the festival site.

1.3 million plastic bottles were used at Glastonbury Festival in 2017. The Greenpeace-partnered festival has now announced that plastic bottles will not be available to purchase at this year’s festival and will not be supplied backstage, in the production, catering or dressing room areas.

Greenpeace estimates that up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year. The environmental NGO advises that the best way to avoid plastic pollution is to reduce plastic usage.

Festival organisers urge visitors to bring reusable bottles, stating that the number of WaterAid kiosks dispensing water around the festival site has tripled. Free drinking water will be available from all bars across the site.

Traders who previously sold soft drinks in plastic bottles will now stock canned soft drinks and Life Water, available for purchase.

“It’s paramount for our planet that we all reduce our plastic consumption, and I’m thrilled that, together, we’ll be able to prevent over a million single-use plastic bottles from being used at this year’s festival,” says Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis.

“I really hope that everyone – from ticket-holder to headliner – will leave Worthy Farm this year knowing that even small, everyday changes can make a real difference”

“I really hope that everyone – from ticket-holder to headliner – will leave Worthy Farm this year knowing that even small, everyday changes can make a real difference.”

The festival has already phased out plastic cutlery and plates from food traders, as well as single-use plastic cups and plastic straws.

Single-use plastics and reusables have been a hot topic of conversation within the music industry over the past year and will be discussed in detail at this year’s Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI).

The Plastic-Free Festival Guide, launched at last year’s GEI, has sparked many festivals to take a look at their festival consumption.

Last year, festival operators across the corporate and independent circuits committed to a ban on plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds at their events. Festival Republic, Global/ Broadwick Live and AEG/ Goldenvoice banned plastic straws across all their 2018 summer festivals. The move followed the elimination of plastic straws at Live Nation/MAMA events.

In the independent sector, 60+ signatories of the Association of Independent Festivals’ (AIF) ‘Drastic on Plastic’ campaign pledged “to eliminate single-use plastics at our event(s) within 3 years by 2021, and to promote reuse solutions wherever practically possible.”

The 11th edition of GEI, in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), will take place on Tuesday 5 March at the Royal Garden Hotel in London.

 


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