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You are in: Somerset > Glastonbury Festival > Features > Glastonbury ends on-going ticketing saga

A sea of tents at the festival

Glastonbury runs from 24-28 June 2009

Glastonbury ends on-going ticketing saga

As tickets for the 2009 Glastonbury Festival sold out after going on sale via a unique deposit system, we take a look back at the trials and tribulations of the ticketing system.

Tickets for the 2009 Glastonbury Festival went on sale at the earliest point in the festival's history: 5 October.

It is the first time in the festival's history that tickets have gone on sale eight months before the event.

Up until now, they have traditionally been sold from the beginning of April. In previous years, tickets were snapped up within two hours, however last year organisers were struggling to sell the final tickets even as the first campers rolled up to Worthy Farm.

Michael said afterwards that he was "so scared" and worried at the time, so much so that he lost half a stone in weight.

After resorting to selling day tickets, the event did eventually sell-out.

Exorbitant ebay

Tickets have, over the years, caused the organisers many headaches. In the 70s they struggled to sell them whereas in the late 80s and 90s many jumped the fence and got in for free.

This all changed in 2000 when the 'ring of steel' - a £1m security fence - was installed, stopping hundreds from attending illegally.  

Glastonbury in 1971 (pic Mervyn Penrose)

Glastonbury in 1971 (pic Mervyn Penrose)

Since then, as the festival became more mainstream, Michael and Emily Eavis and co. have struggled to find a ticketing system which was fair. 

The advent of the Internet pushed prices up as touts snapped up tickets and sold them on at exorbitant mark-ups - some tickets which were bought for £150 were being sold on ebay for £750; a far cry from the first Glastonbury in 1970 which cost £1 and included free milk.

The fact that ordinary fans were losing out irked the organisers so much that in 2004 they printed festival-goers' names on every ticket, meaning everyone was required to bring along two forms of identification. 

This again was open to manipulation by the touts so in 2007 they turned to a registration system which involved the individuals' photos being printed onto the ticket so there could be no doubt that they had indeed purchased the ticket.

This system came into difficulty this year as, despite several hundred thousand people registering for tickets, only 100,000 of the 145,000 tickets sold out on the first day of sale, whereas their competitors Reading and Leeds (who did not have a registering system) sold out within hours.

Michael Eavis

Michael organises three events

Many factors were blamed - everything from Michael Eavis controversially saying he wanted to attract a younger audience to the event to Jay-Z being the headliner.

"After three years, I am now confident that we have developed the fairest ticketing operation available anywhere, and we are ready to go," said Michael.

"With the new scheme, backed by the all-important registration process, everyone has an equal chance of getting a ticket. And most importantly, every ticket will be going to a genuine festival-goer direct.

"I’m also convinced that the £50 deposit will help a lot of people to spread the payment for their ticket over a much longer period."

As the festival has now sold out, it seems they have finally found the best system to ensure everyone has an equal chance to buy a ticket.

last updated: 03/02/2009 at 11:06
created: 02/10/2008

You are in: Somerset > Glastonbury Festival > Features > Glastonbury ends on-going ticketing saga



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