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Glastonbury’s Bubble Bursts?

Reported by Tristan Ingram on April 10, 2008

The Independent branded Glastonbury Festival ‘overly corporate’ this week, after the once infamously counter-cultural event sold just 100,000 tickets on its first day of sale, leaving 35,000 still available.

“(Last year) more than 177,000 people paid £145 each for the privilege of being rained on, risking their tents being washed away with the raw sewage and straining their necks to catch a fleeting glimpse of The Fratellis,” the Independent continued, “Has Glastonbury lost its mojo?’

Festival organiser Michael Eavis brushed off the unprecedented drop in demand telling reporters ‘I think three years of mud may have taken their toll’ though Roger Daltrey from last year’s headlining act The Who identified wider problems.

“I blame the weather and line-up. I take my hat off to those people who were there last year,” the rock legend told NME, “I wouldn't have paid money to go and live like that for three days, to suffer like that. It's such an expensive festival too - SO expensive".

Wild In The Country festival organizer Geoff Oakes from Renaissance also had problems with mud at his inuaugural Knebworth event last year, though suggested Glastonbury’s complicated ticket application process and sheer size have damaged it rather than ticket prices.

“The bigger a festival gets, the more mainstream its appeal. The core festival-going audience then start to look for something new, which is why so many smaller festivals have started to appear,” he told Skrufff, ““A lot of people who used to go to Glastonbury seem to prefer the smaller, boutique festivals now.”

Tickets for Wild In The Country cost £59, for which revellers get stacks of DJs (Switch, Danny Tenaglia, Richie Hawtin and Carl Craig etc etc) and live sets from Soulwax and Bjork, plus additional wet weather precautions, Geoff stressed.

“We had persistent rain for 10 days before the show, plus it poured down for the duration of the event, so it turned into a bit of a mud bath,” he admitted.

“The positive in that was that everyone stayed in the tents all night, creating a fantastic atmosphere. We learned a lot from the experience and this year we have all-weather market stalls, more tented arenas and covered chill-out areas, a pedestrian trackway on stand-by and I’ve become a regular church-goer for the next 4 months in the hope that it has some influence,” he laughed.

The Times also suggested that younger festival fans are increasingly travelling to mainland Europe for cheaper, more alternative events such as Exit Festival in Serbia, which last year attracted over 10,000 Brits for four nights of partying in a bona fide fortress. British Exit fans this week launched FaceBook group ‘Exit By Train’ on the web, urging other revellers to join them in travelling overland to the upcoming Balkans event.

“We're gathering a merry bandwagon of beautiful young people for a European adventure. (Ok, you don’t really need to be young or beautiful – but you will need a sense of adventure),” the group say.

“COSTS: £119 if you’re under 25 and £185 if you’re getting old! (Heathrow flights start at £160, so its not that much more expensive),” they add, “Takes a day by train (3 if we want to stop off anywhere nice to relax on the way there/ back.)”  (Face-group: WHAT TO BRING – a few changes of undergarments, flipflops, sunglasses, cheap vino and a sense of humour. Strictly no bongos or poi! ‘) (Wild In The Country. July 5)

Jonty Skrufff (