Glastonbury splits from promoters Festival Republic

Michael Eavis Michael Eavis and the Glastonbury site took a year off in 2012 for the Olympics

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The Glastonbury festival and promoters Festival Republic are to end their partnership after more than ten years, it has been announced.

Festival Republic, led by Melvin Benn, runs other music events such as Reading and Leeds and has been Operations Director of Glastonbury since 2001.

Since then, the Somerset festival has attracted 177,500 people a year.

Benn said Glastonbury boss Michael Eavis agreed it was the right time to "go their separate ways".

In a joint statement, Festival Republic called the separation "mutual and cordial", adding: "Time moves on and now is the time for Michael and the Glastonbury team to pick up the reins again and build for the future."

The promoter will now focus on overseeing its own roster of festivals such as Latitude and growing newer events such as Electric Picnic in Ireland.

Benn, who also recently became Chairman of Wembley Stadium, will oversee the selection of a new Operations Director for Glastonbury.

He said: "I am committed to ensuring as smooth a handover as possible.

"It has been a wonderful journey with Michael but Latitude, Berlin, Hove and Electric Picnic, none of which existed in 2002, are my priorities, alongside maintaining Leeds and Reading as the bastions of the festival calendar they are," said Benn.

"Not to mention my demands at Wembley," he added.

'Earned his stripes'

Michael Eavis said he was sorry to see Benn go and credited the promoter with helping to create a more professional set-up at Glastonbury.

When the pair officially teamed up in late 2001 they quickly introduced stricter ticketing and the £1m 'super-fence' surrounding the whole site, designed to keep gatecrashers out.

The local council had made it clear that the festival could not continue without taking action, after police claimed 100,000 ticketless fans managed to sneak in during 2000's three day event.

Glastonbury Festival 2011 There have been huge changes at Glastonbury since working with Festival Republic

The fence proved controversial among some of Glastonbury's traditional festival-goers, a number of whom had been gaining free entry for years.

Problems also arose with local travellers after the "Battle of the Beanfield" at nearby Stonehenge in 1985.

Wiltshire Police had prevented a convoy from setting up for the Stonehenge Free Festival, celebrating the arrival of the summer solstice.

Police officers were accused of using excessive force as travellers took refuge at Glastonbury. Two years later, a police sergeant was found guilty of having caused actual bodily harm and 21 travellers were awarded damages.

In 1990, riots between travellers and festival security teams broke out on the day after the festival, over claims they were looting, ending in 235 arrests and £50,000 of damage.

"Melvin definitely earned his stripes running the gates for us during the Eighties," said Eavis. "This was a difficult time dealing with the closure of Stonehenge, the Battle of the Beanfield and the travellers and my attempts to accept them here at Worthy Farm was exciting but very challenging."

The festival, which would have taken place last weekend, returns in June 2013 after taking 2012 off. Tickets go on sale 7 October.

"Looking across the farm at the moment I think we were very lucky to choose a good wet year to take out," said Eavis. "Amazing bit of luck!"

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