Local benefits

Since 2000, each year the Festival has paid over £1m to charities and local good causes.

Other local projects previously supported by Festival income include:

  • Building the new Pilton Working Men’s Club
  • The completion of a housing project providing housing with affordable rent for offspring of villagers who cannot afford Pilton prices
  • Renovating the Glastonbury Abbey Tythe Barn in Pilton and establishing  the Pilton Barn Trust
  • Building the original pavilion, football pitch, tennis courts in Pilton Playing Fields
  • Rebuilding of the Pilton Playing Fields Pavillion
  • Renovation of the child’s play area in the Pilton Playing Fields
  • Recasting the damaged medieval bells in Pilton Parish Church
  • Repairing the Pilton Parish Church heating system
  • Providing and erecting stone squeeze styles for footpaths in Pilton
  • Repairing the Pilton Methodist Chapel roof
  • Refurbishing the Child’s Play area in the Pilton Playing Fields
  • Improving the fabric and facilities of Glastonbury library

Since its inception, Glastonbury Festival has used local suppliers and service providers whenever possible.  Glastonbury Festival 2007 Ltd spent over £6 million with local companies based within 25 miles of Worthy Farm.

There are many trading opportunities for local residents at the Festival, with the provision of accommodation generating significant income in the community Local shops, restaurants, pubs and garages enjoyed significant increase in trade over the Festival.

The figures provided by the Economic Impact Survey jointly funded by Mendip District Council and Glastonbury Festival, carried out by an independent consultancy, indicate that the net value of the 2007 Festival to the Mendip economy was over £35m.  

For the past 20 years, Michael Eavis has arranged the Pilton Party – which attracts top acts seeking a spot at the following year’s Festival.  Villagers run the bar at the Pilton Party, with all proceeds from the event going to the village show and to other village ventures.  In 2007, the Pilton Party generated some £15,000 for the Village Show committee and £30,000 for the Village Hall.

Pilton village is kept clean and tidy as Michael Eavis employs staff all year round to litter pick, tidy verges, clear streams and ditches, remove graffiti, paint the bus shelter and so on.

There are many other local benefits directly arising from the Festival, the extent of which are difficult to quantify.

A vibrant tourist industry is central to the economic well being of Somerset.  Having the internationally known and respected Glastonbury Festival as part of the county’s portfolio of attractions is a tremendous benefit.  The high international profile of the Festival results in some 700 of the world’s media coming to the Festival and providing coverage in their different countries.  The British Council invite promoters from all over the world to the Festival – and the Festival provides information for British Embassies overseas.  Many tourists only know about the area because of the profile of the Festival.

Festival income underwrites the Musical Extravaganza held at Glastonbury Abbey which has brought people, and therefore business, into the area every year since 1996. It is a highlight in the local calendar. During every Extravaganza weekend Glastonbury town is buzzing with many concert-goers spending the whole day – and in some cases the whole weekend – in the town. This annual event has only broken even twice in the past 11 years. You can read more about the Extravaganza here.

Accommodation. Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet and Wells Tourist Information Centres have about 250 hotels and bed and breakfasts on their books. Many other households are known to take in people during the festival. Together it is estimated this amounts to in excess of 3,000 people paying for accommodation locally during the festival period. People tend to stay between two nights and five nights, sometimes longer, spending between £50 and an amazing £3,000 per head.

Ticket holders bring over 40,000 vehicles to Glastonbury Festival.  In addition, contractors, crew and performers arrive by vehicle.  Many use local garages for fuel.  Even assuming the average amount spent per vehicle on fuel is only £15 per vehicle, the total spent by Festival traffic on fuel in Somerset would be in excess of half a million pounds. Local garages also increase their revenue by towing cars and carrying out repairs.

Local shops, restaurants and pubs enjoy a significant increase in trade over the Festival period.  Festival staff, security personnel and the fence crew start setting up the site over a month before the Festival, and remain for a similar time afterwards. They consistently use the amenities in the village and surrounding towns.

Somerset’s November Illuminated Carnivals benefit from Glastonbury Festival.  On behalf of Somerset Guy Fawkes Carnivals and Carnival Clubs, David Churches wrote following the 2005 Glastonbury Festival:

“ The November illuminated Carnivals, whose origins date back to Guy Fawkes, have provided entertainment for over 500,000 people each year, and according to a recent survey by Somerset County Council account for over £30 Million in Tourism. The organisations who construct and run the Carnivals are voluntary and obtain no direct funding from Government or Council yet with for over 2,500 people are the largest community based organisation in Somerset, and through street collections return over £100,000 directly to local charities yearly.

The cost of building any of the larger floats range from £20,000 to £35,000, which has to be raised by the members each year. With over fifty such clubs in this league the task is gigantic and costs continue to spiral yearly.

Glastonbury Festival over the years has provided the opportunity for these clubs to raise funds by carrying out duties such as Stewarding, Emergency Services, Communication and many other specialised duties. The clubs have arranged for their members to attend college to obtain the necessary certification in these skills, and have in turn used these skills to assist with other events in the area.  This opportunity given by Glastonbury Festival Ltd for the Carnival Organisations now accounts for over £140,000 per year. This is a large percentage of the total amount and the single biggest contributor to the Carnival.”

(David Churches is a member of Mendip District Council’s Carnival Liaison Committee.)

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