Glasto numbers to swell?

Organisers of the Glastonbury Festival say they are hoping to increase the capacity of their 2007 event by 20,000 people, to 173,000. The capacity increase would allow promoters to sell 10,000 more tickets, and to accommodate 10,000 more crew, staff and backstage personnel.

The plans were revealed by the festival’s Operations Manager Melvin Benn as he announced details of his new festival event, the previously reported Latitude. Glastonbury is taking a year off this year of course but, Benn said, 2007 would be the festival’s biggest year to date. Speaking to the BBC, Glastonbury main man Michael Eavis confirmed the plans, explaining that extra neighbouring fields would be used to accommodate the expanded population.

Any increase will have to be approved by the local Mendip District Council who told reporters this weekend that they had not yet been informed of the festival organisers’ proposals and could therefore not comment.

Although 173,000 would be the biggest official Glastonbury attendance, some estimate that over 200,000 got on to the festival site in 2000 when the custom of ‘fence-hopping’ was at its most prevalent – with as many fence-hoppers in attendance as official ticket holders. Of course, it was those estimates that nearly led to the local authority refusing the festival a licence to operate, leading to appointment of Benn and his company Mean Fiddler to manage festival operations – a move which slashed the number of fence-hoppers and counterfeit-ticket holders to almost zero.

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