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BBC reveals most-viewed Glastonbury sets

Sets by Paul McCartney and Diana Ross drew the biggest UK TV audiences at this year’s Glastonbury festival, the BBC has revealed.

McCartney’s Saturday night Pyramid Stage headline performance saw him joined by surprise guests Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl, in addition to performing a virtual duet with John Lennon.

The former Beatle’s near three-hour set averaged 2.7 million viewers on BBC One and peaked at 3.9m, while Ross’ 75-minute Sunday legend slot had an average audience of 3.1m, peaking at 3.8m.

According to Broadcast, the broadcaster’s coverage of the festival’s Friday night, which saw 20-year-old Billie Eilish becoming Glastonbury’s youngest ever headliner, attracted 1.2m. Its Sunday evening coverage averaged 1.4m prior to Kendrick Lamar’s headline appearance, which garnered 570,000 viewers.

“The BBC provided the ultimate armchair experience of the world’s best-loved festival”

The BBC has also confirmed record breaking figures across its digital platforms for its coverage of the 2022 festival.

Content was streamed 34.1m times on BBC iPlayer, including 23m streams live – the highest on record for a BBC programme brand – and was played 2.3m times on BBC Sounds.

Streams rocketed 116% on BBC iPlayer and 205% on BBC Sounds from the most recent festival in 2019, up from 15.8m and 765,000 respectively.

“The BBC provided the ultimate armchair experience of the world’s best-loved festival this weekend with a dedicated Glastonbury channel on BBC iPlayer, 6 Music’s All Day Glastonbury coverage, performances from the biggest artists on demand on BBC Sounds and over 35 hours of coverage across our TV channels,” says BBC director of music Lorna Clarke.

There were secret sets by the likes of Jack White and George Ezra

Other acts at the 210,000-cap 22-26 June extravaganza included Crowded House, Lorde, Pet Shop Boys, Sam Fender, Megan thee Stallion, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Olivia Rodrigo, Little Simz, Wolf Alice, Glass Animals, Burna Boy, Arlo Parks, Haim, Blossoms, Sigrid, Girl in Red, Charli XCX, Celeste, Wolf Alice, Fontaines DC, Foals, Idles and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. There were also secret sets by the likes of Jack White and George Ezra.

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis paid tribute to the festival’s long-serving commercial director Robert Richards, who died aged 65 following a short illness, in this year’s official programme.

“I’ll miss him so much,” wrote Eavis. “He should have worked for years and years but he was sadly taken before his time. I am very sad and upset to lose this remarkable man.”

Glastonbury’s scheduled 50th anniversary 2020 edition and 2021 event were both cancelled due to the pandemic. The BAFTA Award-winning Live at Worthy Farm ticketed livestream was staged last year in its place.

The past weekend is believed to have been the UK’s biggest ever for live music, with more than one million people attending concerts.

 


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UK set for biggest live music weekend ever

The UK is preparing to host what is believed to be its biggest weekend of live music ever, with more than one million people expected to attend concerts.

Leading the way is Glastonbury, headlined by Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar, and BST Hyde Park, starring Elton John, the Rolling Stones and the Eagles, are set to host a combined 400,000 fans across three days.

Away from the festival circuit, Ed Sheeran has two dates lined up at the 90,000-cap Wembley Stadium, while the 80,000-cap London Stadium welcomes Green Day, Fall Out Boy & Weezer’s Hella Mega Tour tonight, followed by two nights with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Hella Mega Tour also stops at the 40,000-cap John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield tomorrow.

“For the industry to bounce back from a crippling couple of years with this level of quality and support from the fanbase shows the strength of what we do”

Fresh from two sold-out nights at Knebworth Park (80,000) earlier this month, Liam Gallagher will visit Scotland’s 50,000-cap Hampden Park in Glasgow on Sunday, the same day as Rammstein top the bill at Coventry Building Society Arena (40,000). Gallagher also headlines Northern Ireland’s Belsonic (15,000) this evening in Ormeau Park, Belfast.

Elsewhere, at The O2 (21,000), Diana Ross performs tonight as a precursor to her Glastonbury Sunday legends’ slot, while Eilish will follow up becoming the festival’s youngest headliner by completing the final two dates of her six-night residency at the London arena tomorrow and Sunday. Elton John is similarly busy, meanwhile, appearing at Bristol’s Ashton Gate (34,000) on Sunday.

“For the industry to bounce back from, let’s be blunt, a crippling couple of years with this level of quality and support from the fanbase shows the strength of what we do,” says BST organiser Jim King, speaking to IQ.

“The scale of what Ticketmaster delivers this weekend will be astonishing”

This weekend will also be a record setter for Ticketmaster, whose team will scan in around half a million fans across the UK, beating the company’s previous biggest weekend of events which took place in June 2019. According to the firm, the number of fans getting out to events in the UK so far this month is running 50% higher on average than the same period in 2019.

“The scale of what Ticketmaster delivers this weekend will be astonishing,” Ticketmaster UK MD Andrew Parsons tells IQ. “Summer has arrived, and the fans in full force alongside it. We’re so happy to be back, bigger and better than ever.”

Other indoor gigs of note include Twenty One Pilots at OVO Arena Wembley, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at Resorts World Arena Birmingham, Kings of Leon at SSE Arena Belfast, the Beach Boys and George Benson at the Royal Albert Hall, Alanis Morissette at AO Arena Manchester, and Morissette, Barry Manilow and Gladys Knight at First Direct Arena Leeds.

“This will be one of the biggest weekends of live music in our history”

“This will be one of the biggest weekends of live music in our history, with Glastonbury taking place for the first time in three years, thousands of revellers attending BST and a wealth of gigs, concerts and festivals taking place across the UK,” says LIVE CEO Jon Collins.

“Fans will be back doing what they love most – listening to fantastic music. This is great news for both the live music industry, which has significant cultural and societal importance, and for UK plc, with money spent at these events boosting towns and cities from Somerset to Stranraer.”

Earlier this month, Live Nation UK revealed it was on track for its biggest outdoor season ever, saying it will host nearly six million fans at live shows this summer. The promoter says four million people will attend one of its festivals or outdoor events, while close to two million will attend an indoor show.

“Significant cost pressures and the cost-of-living squeeze mean trading remains challenging”

However, Collins points out that despite the unprecedented few days ahead, the well-documented wider challenges facing the industry have not simply gone away.

“While the celebrations this weekend will be a world class showcase of our exceptional £4.5 billion industry, venues, festivals, live events, artists and suppliers are not back trading at pre-pandemic levels,” he says. “Significant cost pressures and the cost-of-living squeeze mean trading remains challenging.

“It is of vital importance therefore, that the government takes steps to support those across the live music ecosystem. In particular, introducing a cultural rate of VAT on ticket sales which would secure the sector’s recovery, boost the UK economy and deliver many more weekends like the one that lies ahead.”

 


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BBC details ‘most extensive’ Glasto coverage yet

The BBC will present its most extensive coverage of Glastonbury to date when the festival returns after a three-year absence from 22-26 June.

Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar will headline the Pyramid Stage at this year’s event at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset. Eilish and Lamar are both represented by Wasserman Music, while McCartney works with Marshall Arts.

Other acts will include Diana Ross, Crowded House, Lorde, Pet Shop Boys, Sam Fender, Megan thee Stallion, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Olivia Rodrigo, Little Simz, Wolf Alice, Glass Animals, Burna Boy, Arlo Parks, Haim, Blossoms, Sigrid, Girl in Red, Charli XCX, Celeste, Wolf Alice, Fontaines DC, Foals, Idles and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Set times were released this week and can be viewed here.

BBC Music will present the festival across TV, radio, BBC Sounds, BBC iPlayer and online, with Glastonbury 2022 marking the first time the BBC has broadcast any music event in Ultra High Definition. Sets from the Pyramid Stage will be shown live in UHD on BBC iPlayer on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with key performances and a special programme featuring highlights from the Pyramid Stage available on demand in UHD after the event.

“I’m looking forward to Worthy Farm being filled with thousands of people once again”

“It’s a joy to have the BBC and its brilliant team back and broadcasting live from Glastonbury for the first time since 2019 – continuing a special partnership that’s been evolving since 1997,” says festival co-organiser Emily Eavis. “I’m looking forward to Worthy Farm being filled with thousands of people once again and for millions more around the country being able to enjoy performances from our stellar line-up, courtesy of the BBC, wherever they are.”

Glastonbury’s scheduled 50th anniversary 2020 edition and 2021 event were both cancelled due to the pandemic. The BAFTA Award-winning Live at Worthy Farm ticketed livestream was staged last year in its place.

The BBC’s celebration of Glastonbury 2022 will begin earlier than in previous years, including the broadcast of new documentary Glastonbury: 50 Years & Counting in the days leading up to the festival. BBC iPlayer’s dedicated Glastonbury channel launches on Thursday 23 June.

“Our coverage this year will be our most extensive to date”

“I’m very proud of the BBC’s long history of broadcasting from Glastonbury, the highlight of our summer of live music,” says BBC director of music Lorna Clarke. “Our coverage this year will be our most extensive to date, with over 35 hours of programming across BBC One, Two, Three and Four, and over 40 hours on BBC iPlayer – in addition to digital live streams from the five biggest festival stages.

“We’ll also have wall-to-wall coverage on the BBC’s pop radio networks and BBC Sounds – with over 60 hours of broadcasts from the festival itself.”

In January, Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis led tributes to the festival’s long-serving commercial director Robert Richards, who died aged 65 following a short illness.

 


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Glastonbury reveals 2022 line-up

The UK’s Glastonbury festival has unveiled the first wave of acts for its 2022 edition, which sees Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar join Billie Eilish as headliners.

McCartney, who is represented by Marshall Arts, previously headlined in 2004, while WME client Lamar will top the bill for the first time. Both had been due to headline Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary in 2020, which did not take place due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2021 event was also cancelled for the same reason.

McCartney and Lamar will close the Pyramid Stage on Saturday 25 June and Sunday 26 June, respectively.

Taylor Swift, who was originally set to headline in 2020, will not be performing this year, with Paradigm’s Eilish stepping up on Friday 24 June to become the festival’s youngest ever headliner. Diana Ross will grace the event’s Sunday afternoon “legends” slot, which has previously featured the likes of Dolly Parton, Kylie Minogue, Barry Gibb, Jeff Lynne’s ELO and Lionel Richie.

Other acts confirmed for this year include Doja Cat, Crowded House, Lorde, Pet Shop Boys, Sam Fender, Megan thee Stallion, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Olivia Rodrigo, Little Simz, Wolf Alice, Glass Animals, Burna Boy, Arlo Parks, Haim, Blossoms, Sigrid, Girl in Red, Charli XCX, Celeste, Wolf Alice, Fontaines DC, Foals, Idles and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Glastonbury 2022 will be held at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset from 22-26 June.

 


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Glastonbury’s Robert Richards dies at 65

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis has led tributes to the festival’s long-serving commercial director Robert Richards, who has died aged 65 following a short illness.

Richards, who was the producer of Julien Temple’s 2006 Glastonbury film, passed away at Guy’s Hospital in London yesterday (12 January).

His first job at the event saw him set up the information and CND campaigning stalls. In more recent years, Richards was responsible for partnerships, large commercial deals and sponsorship, and helped secure the licence for the festival to continue in 2014.

Paying tribute, Eavis praised Richards as a “remarkable man”.

“I am personally very sad and upset to lose this remarkable man who I will find difficult to replace”

“Robert helped me personally with projects in Pilton village, particularly the big social housing project and the village shop,” he said. “He was also chairman of the Glastonbury Town Fund Board, which raised £24 million for the town in 2021.

“I am personally very sad and upset to lose this remarkable man who I will find difficult to replace. Now that the fever of life and his days are over, may God give his soul the rest it deserves.”

PRS for Music chair Nigel Elderton tweeted: “Terribly sorry to hear the sad news of Robert Richards passing. Always happy to help even when working under pressure and a great music fan. My condolences to his family, Michael, Emily and all the Glastonbury team! We will miss you Robert!”

In 2015, Richards opened up about the nature of his role at the UK’s biggest festival in an interview with Glastonbury’s ticketing partner See Tickets.

“I work on all the sponsorship/partnership relationships, the BBC partnership and the land deals involving the festival site,” he said. “I have an overview on ticketing, markets, and bars. The best thing about the job is that every day is different.”

Richards also discussed the evolution of the festival during his tenure.

“I can still see whole areas that are still very similar to my early days at the festival,” he said. “The main changes are in the professionalisation of the production, and support teams.

“We have world class people working at the event, but what makes it so special is the commitment the area organisers and their teams bring to each of their parts of the festival. It’s the best party in the world.”

 


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Glastonbury reports £3.1m loss in latest accounts

The UK’s Glastonbury festival posted a loss of £3.1 million for the year ending March 2021, according to documents posted on Companies House.

The event was forced to cancel due to the pandemic for a second successive year in 2021. Turnover was down to £936,000, compared to £45.867m in the previous 12 months. Post-tax losses amounted to £370,330 in 2020.

“Since 2009, the company has retained profits in order to provide a float for the next festival,” says the documents. “Due to the company retaining profits in previous years to build up this float, the company was able to cover the significant loss incurred resulting from the Covid pandemic and the cancellation of the festival in 2020 as well as contribute to running costs during 2021 when the festival was cancelled for the second year.”

The documents for Glastonbury Festival Events Limited list its main business risks as “possible breaches of the licence terms leading to the licence being withdrawn and the cancellation of the festival due to forces outside the control of the company such as extremely bad weather and a global pandemic”.

There are likely to be “significant costs specifically related to necessary Covid-19 measures and related issues” for the 2022 edition

Glastonbury hosted an exclusive global livestream from its Worthy Farm festival site on 22 May last year, featuring performances from the likes of Coldplay, Jorja Smith and George Ezra, in lieu of the flagship event. However, the initial broadcast was marred by technical issues.

Glastonbury is due to return to Worthy Farm this year from 22-26 June, with Billie Eilish the first and so far only headliner to be announced. The report notes there are likely to be “significant costs specifically related to necessary Covid-19 measures and related issues” for the 2022 edition.

The event has benefited from the UK government’s Culture Recovery Fund, receiving £900,000 back in April 2021 and an extra £600,000 in November.

“The company has been fortunate enough to receive Arts Council funding since March 2021 year end, which has helped with future planning during the year to date,” adds the firm, which also organises two much smaller events, Pilton Party and Glastonbury Extravaganza.

 


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Latest culture grants include £600k for Glasto

Glastonbury Festival is among hundreds of arts, heritage and cultural organisations across England to receive a share of £107 million from the latest round of the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

The event, which has had to cancel its last two editions due to the pandemic, received £900,000 back in April and has now been awarded an extra £600,000.

It is the biggest beneficiary of the 24 music sector recipients from the additional £300m announced by the chancellor at March’s budget, Others to receive support include London Symphony Orchestra (£423,000), London’s Troubadour (£330,000), De Le Warr Pavilion (£325,000) in Bexhill-On-Sea, Village Underground (£305,000) in London, Birmingham’s MADE Festival (£275,133), WOMAD (£217,336) and Bush Hall (£196,064).

The awards take the total cash support package made available for culture during the pandemic to £1.87 billion.

It’s a massive vote of confidence in the role our cultural organisations play in helping us all to lead happier lives

“Culture is for everyone and should therefore be accessible to everyone, no matter who they are and where they’re from,” says culture secretary Nadine Dorries. “Through unprecedented government financial support, the Culture Recovery Fund is supporting arts and cultural organisations so they can continue to bring culture to communities the length and breadth of the country, supporting jobs, boosting local economies and inspiring people.

“This continued investment from the government on an unprecedented scale means our theatres, galleries, music venues, museums and arts centres can carry on playing their part in bringing visitors back to our high streets, helping to drive economic growth, boosting community pride and promoting good health. It’s a massive vote of confidence in the role our cultural organisations play in helping us all to lead happier lives.”

The list of music recipients also includes Mustard Group (£167,992), Corsica Studios (£150,000), MLM Concerts (£125,566), Komedia (£123,500), Fairport Convention Ltd (£120,000), Reprezent Radio (£115,000), Bird On The Wire (£90,000), NGE Music (£90,000), Urban Development (£80,509), Electric Ballroom (£75,787), New Vortex Jazz Club (£71,750), The Louisiana Bristol (£65,500), TGC Concerts (£59,300), Jazz Refreshed (£41,000), Exeter Cavern (£25,000) and Servant Jazz Quarters (£25,000).

“This continued investment from the government on an unprecedented scale means our theatres, galleries, music venues, museums and arts centres can carry on playing their part in bringing visitors back to our high streets, helping to drive economic growth, boosting community pride and promoting good health,” adds Arts Council England CEO Darren Henley. “It’s a massive vote of confidence in the role our cultural organisations play in helping us all to lead happier lives.’

 


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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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Glasto’s Live at Worthy Farm gets cinema release

Glastonbury’s Festival’s upcoming Live at Worthy Farm live stream will also be broadcast at cinemas around the UK, organisers have announced.

Through a partnership with Trafalgar Releasing – the company behind record-breaking concert film releases by the likes of BTS and Coldplay, the latter of whom will play Live at Worthy Farm – the virtual festival, broadcast from Glastonbury’s Worthy Home site on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 May, will screen in tandem at cinemas across the UK on Saturday.

Tickets for the cinema screenings, which go on sale today (12 May), are priced from £19.99.

Glastonbury Festival also today announced set times and new guests for the five-hour event, with a “unique spoken-word narrative” featuring PJ Harvey, Jarvis Cocker, Kae Tempest, George the Poet, Kurupt FM, Little Amal and festival founder Michael Eavis adding to previously announced sets from artists including Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles and Jorja Smith.

Live at Worthy Farm will be broadcast across four separate time zones (for EMEA; central, south and the east coast of North America; the west coast of North America; and Asia Pacific) on Saturday, with two global “encore” screenings on Sunday 23rd, at 2pm and 7pm BST. Tickets are priced at priced at £20, €23, US$27.50 & A$35.

 


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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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