It’s amazing how ideas come to you sometimes. There I was, surrounded by mud and rain and more mud, cursing the lack of urinal at the top of the New Band Tent (call it by it’s name) Field when it suddenly struck me. All the issues I had with Glastonbury reminded me of something, see if you can spot it:
1. “Father knows best” autocratic owner increasingly getting in to bed with commercial interests that seem to have only negative impacts on the punter
2. Said punters being treated like cattle with little thought for our comfort or welfare
3. Increasing costs and declining facilities
4. Being constantly told by media/controlling interests that you’re part of the best festival in the world, when you can clearly see the cracks round the edges
5. The complete lack of feedback mechanisms for us to get our views across to those in charge
Yes, being at Glastonbury is exactly like being a football fan, and what have football fans done about this? Formed Supporters Trusts, by the hundred!
So, this is my plan, form a “Supporters Trust” for Glastonbury, so that those of us who care about the future of Glastonbury can have a real constructive input into how things move forward as there seemed to be some glaring oversights in the organisation this year. I don’t want this to be about picking the bands, I don’t even really want it to be about ticket-pricing/allocation (although I still think Simon’s ideas on No Rock & Roll Fun three years ago were spot on), I want it to be about:
Making sure there are enough toilets in the right places
The dance village in particular is appallingly served, but also simple things like urinals by The Glade and John Peel Tent would be the easiest way to stop people (ok, men) pissing in the streams. I saw a portaloo urinal in the middle of the markets, why weren’t they everywhere?
Making the bottlenecks and metal paths wider
I know some places are as wide as they can be, but there are some places where work could be done. The best example is the back left corner of the other stage, heading towards dance where it could easily be made 10-15 yards wider, by just moving a couple of stalls and stopping people camping on the far side, there seems to be no attempt to help traffic flow at the busiest times beyond “hey dudes, just take a breather for ten minutes, then the crowd will go”.
Making National Express treat us as they would other customers, not scum of the earth
Seriously though, a six year-old with a bunch of crayons could come up with a more workable way of getting off-site than the current set-up, and that’s before we even start on the SeeTicket bus catastrophe. It feels like Glastonbury doesn’t care about us once we’re out of the gate and “so what” if we have to stand for three hours in the rain or sit for eight hours in our cars. The festival doesn’t end ’til we’re at home in the bath Michael, not as soon as we get orf your laaand…
Making the total capacity of Glastonbury 20,000 lower
The increase in capacity this year was a dismal failure. The idea that the extra 30,000 people would all merrily troop up to The Park to watch Kate Nash rather than the Arctic Monkeys was naïve to say the least. To continue the football analogy, the extra 30,000 are just increasing the prawn sandwich/premiership element of the crowd, not the non-league heart of the festival who will happily see no bands on the Pyramint all weekend.
Making the ale last ’til Sunday night
OK, slightly joky one this, Workers Beer did their usual stirling work, but there was an issue where there was pretty much nothing but Carlsberg left by Saturday afternoon (excluding The Red Flag, but even that was down to just Wherry by 4pm Sunday). Maybe this is because people don’t like Carlsberg, that our tastes have moved on and this should be reflected. This isn’t Reading where the kids will get smashed on whatever you put in front of them. But, where do we voice these concerns? Has the festival ever done a customer satisfaction survey? Wouldn’t that be a better use of our email addresses than sending unsolicited mail for other festivals?
So, these are just my five things, I bet you’ve got five things too, but how can we make sure we’re heard? The festival claims to be about opening people’s minds to climate change, water pollution and all the other worthy aims we hear about all weekend, but has no democratic mandate itself. If the tinpot dictators of the premiership and football league can cope with the idea of fan representation on the board, surely Michael Eavis can as well?