LONDON (Billboard) - Every morning, the head of Britain's
Glastonbury Festival swims 40 laps of a chilly pool. But sales
of tickets for this year's show aren't performing quite so
The team behind the June 27-29 festival has taken the
unprecedented step of restarting the ticket-registration
process, after stubs failed to sell out.
Festival chief Michael Eavis is mystified by the lethargic
sales. In February, roughly 225,000 people registered for
tickets. Last year, the corresponding registration -- a
prerequisite to buying tickets -- was 400,000.
After tickets went public April 6, only 100,000 were
snapped up, prompting Eavis to reopen registration two days
later. Last year, the entire allocation of 137,500 tickets sold
out in about two hours.
"Why did all those people preregister then?" Eavis asks.
"Something is happening somewhere."
England is known for many things, but good weather isn't
one of them. The previous two editions were drenched,
transforming the Worth Farm site in Somerset in southwest
England into a giant mud bath. The weather, Eavis says, "is
taking its toll."
And with the ground capacity pushed to 177,500, up from
150,000, overcrowding has become a regular gripe. To combat
congestion, the site has reclaimed another 40-50 acres.
The British press, Eavis says, has been "a bit hostile"
toward Glastonbury this year, directing blame on competition
from other festivals and rapper Jay-Z's booking as a headliner.
"The point is we've got a fantastic lineup ready to go on
May 1. It knocks all the other shows into a cocked hat," Eavis
says. "If we haven't sold out by then, we'll just keep the
Rival festivals aren't reporting a broader malaise. With a
bill featuring headliners the Verve, Rage Against the Machine
and R.E.M., the July 11-13 T in the Park in Balado sold out its
40,000 tickets in less than an hour, promoter Geoff Ellis says.
The Reading and Leeds festivals, featuring Rage Against the
Machine, the Killers and Metallica, also boast sellouts, with
organizer Festival Republic claiming 200,000 ticket sales in 24
Among the acts expected to play Glastonbury are the Verve,
Kings of Leon, Hot Chip, Leonard Cohen and Neil Diamond. Last
year's lineup included the Arctic Monkeys, Bjork, the Who and