Glastonbury may be on its last legs. Founder Michael Eavis claims the festival has "probably got another three or four years" before apathy and the economy bring the 41-year-old event to an end. "It's on the way out," he insisted, citing everything from cheaper alternatives to rising tuition fees.
At this rate, Eavis may never get the chance to retire. Although the 75-year-old said last year he saw "no signs of giving up", promising "another 10 years" at Glastonbury's helm, the festival may no longer be around by the time he is ready to quit. "Partly it's economics, but there is a feeling that people have seen it all before," he told the Times. "Womad and Latitude are not selling out ... We sell out only because we get huge headliners."
It's a peculiar statement – tickets to Glastonbury 2011 sold out in two hours, months before headliners were announced. Even in 2008, when tickets were still available on opening day, it eventually sold out. And yet Eavis claimed the festival lost £22m that year. "We nearly went bankrupt," he said.
The market is too crowded, Eavis said, pointing to sunny foreign festivalssuch as Benicassim in Spain, and in the current financial climate concertgoers are looking for bargains. Just a week before Suffolk's Latitude festival, there are still apparently 1,000 tickets left. And as much as 40% of tickets for the Reading and Leeds festival in August may still be available.
In 2012, at least, the pressure is off for Glastonbury. The festival is taking a fallow year, ceding the summer to the London Olympics. But Eavis has said something of his booking dreams for the years to come - he recently named Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and Dolly Parton as potential future performers