Glastonbury festival

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Glastonbury rocks the local economy

While Jay Z was stealing the show and making Noel Gallagher look stupid, Micheal Eavis was carrying on a proud tradition of making the Glastonbury festival work for the local economy.

How Glastonbury contributes to the local economy

Glastonbury is one of the largest outdoor music festivals in the world with 150,000 people. The Festival relies upon 34,000 staff, many of whom are volunteers from local community groups such as the Rotary Club and parent-teacher associations. These volunteers undertake tasks such as stewarding, and in return their organisations receive payment for their work. The largest block of volunteers is provided by Oxfam.

Mr Eavis supports a range of local clubs and other groups by giving them pitches in the Festival market areas. These organisation pay for their pitch with a percentage of their takings. As an example a local sports club was allowed to occupy a pitch that the Festival would charge in the region of £6,000 for and was required to pay £2,300 (10% or their turnover), in this example a local sports club was able to generate £20,700 income whilst not having to invest “payment” up-front. In this way the Festival is effectively subsidising local groups. In addition to the income these local groups receive the Festival also provides more passes to local groups who in some way contribute to the Festival increasing the opportunity for local people to attend the Event.

In 2005 the Festival had a turnover of £15 million, 45% of which was spent with local companies or being donations/payments to good causes and charities. This included £5 million to local businesses within 25-mile radius of the site and £400,000 to people directly employed by the Festival who live within 25-mile radius.

Commentary

A brilliant BBC radio 4 programme shows how Michael Eavis has used the 1,000-acre (nearly 2 square mile) site, which hosts over 150,000 people, to improve the year-round local economy of Glastonbury.

Some surprising contributions include compensating local drink shops and bars for closing them down during the festival weekend, and a barrister couple who run a posh tent camp which costs £7,000 per person for the weekend.

The programme contains extensive discussion of how local sourcing has benefited local businesses. The festival puts £1.2 million into community projects each year.

Discussion from report of local council

Glastonbury Festival is one of the largest outdoor music festivals in the world and it is intuitively clear that the 150,000 people who attend will have an impact on the local economy. The Festival relies upon 34,000 staff and a very significant proportion of these staff are volunteers who are associated with local community groups such as the Rotary Club, PTA’s etc. These volunteers undertake tasks such as stewarding and their organisations receive payment for their work. The largest block of volunteers is provided by Oxfam.

In addition, to the benefit that is derived to the local community through payment for staff support a range of local clubs and other groups are given pitches in the Festival market areas. These organisation pay for their pitch with a percentage of their takings. As an example a local sports club was allowed to occupy a pitch that the Festival would charge in the region of £6,000 for and was required to pay £2,300 (10% or their turnover), in this example a local sports club was able to generate £20,700 income whilst not having to invest “payment” up-front. In this way the Festival is effectively subsidising local groups. In addition to the income these local groups receive the Festival also provides more passes to local groups who in some way contribute to the Festival increasing the opportunity for local people to attend the Event.

The Festival has provided the Council with some headline financial figures that illustrate how it directly affects local prosperity. In 2005 the Festival had a turnover of t £15million with 45% being spent with local companies or being donations/payments to good causes and charities. This included £5million to local businesses within 25miles radius of the site and £400k to people directly employed by the Festival who live within 25miles radius.

Members maybe surprised to note that at no time in the past has anyone undertaken a comprehensive study to assess the impact of the Festival on the wider Mendip economy. To try and address this it is proposed that the Council undertake a baseline study of the local economy in June 2006 (when there will not be a Festival) and repeat the study in June 2007, assuming a public entertainment licence is granted for an event in 2007. This will enable the Council to fully assess the direct and indirect economic impact of the Festival.

Although the Council is only directly responsible for considering, administering and monitoring the Public Entertainment Licence it is considered it can also take some of the recognition for the Festivals positive impact on the local economy and greater prosperity. As stated above the 2000 event lead to a step change in the way the Festival was organised with a Tri-partite approach that has proved to be very successful. Without this very progress approach from Glastonbury Festivals, Avon & Somerset Police, Mendip District Council and other key partner agencies it is arguable that Glastonbury Festival would not have continued after 2000.

Conclusions

For a population comparable to a large town the size of Swindon and with a demographically younger age profile, the crime statistics are low and compare favourably to Swindon’s figures.

The general medical statistics of persons treated do not always provide a clear picture of health issues on-site and the figures have to be examined more carefully to glean worthwhile information. This is due to the superb medical provision at Glastonbury Festival that encourages Festival-goers to pay a visit for extremely minor ailments which are thus recorded in the figures.

The Festival makes a significant contribution to the Mendip economy through its work with local business, employment of local people, and donations/payments local community groups good causes and charities. The Tri-partite working and multi-agency approach to the Festival since 2002 has made a significant contribution to the continued success of the Event and subsequent benefits to greater prosperity. The Council should consider putting in place a study so the indirect effect can be quantified in 2007. Dependent on the terms of reference of any future study it maybe possible to request a joint study to be implemented with Glastonbury Festivals.

Source

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/noscript.shtml?/radio/aod/radio4_aod.shtml?radio4/opencountry