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Glastonbury admits sewage leak, Emily Eavis talks 2016, Emerging Talent Competition opens

By | Published on Monday 18 January 2016

Glastonbury 2016

Glastonbury Festival has admitted causing a drop in water quality in a stream close to the festival’s site, after a sewage tank sprung a leak during the 2014 event. Michael Eavis and the festival’s Operations Director Christopher Edwards both appeared in court last week, after a prosecution was brought against the event by the Environment Agency.

Although accepting that “significant” harm had been caused, they denied the levels of damage claimed by the Environment Agency – and in particular the death of protected brown trout. They also disputed that a fine of up to £300,000 should be levied, based on a turnover of £37 million that year, saying that the festival’s profit was actually £84,000 before tax.

In a statement, the festival acknowledged the 2014 incident, and also a further incident in 2015 relating to festival goers urinating in ditches, which has long been a problem for the event.

“The festival has also worked closely with its major charity partners, Greenpeace, Oxfam and WaterAid, since the 1980s, to raise awareness of global environmental issues and highlight innovative and practical solutions”, organisers said. “Regretfully however, during the last two festivals (in 2014 and 2015) some pollution has unintentionally made it into the stream running through the site, due to issues including a faulty tank and through festival goers urinating on the land”.

They continued: “With the causes already identified and analysed, Glastonbury Festival continues to work with all stakeholders, including the Environment Agency, on ways to prevent and safeguard against any problems in the future. Substantial improvement work on the site’s infrastructure has already begun and will continue over the coming months. At the same time, the festival will again work rigorously with all of its contractors and staff to raise awareness of the environmental issues involved and the importance of preventing further incidents”.

In more positive news, Emily Eavis has said that an emphasis is being placed on booking more female acts for this year’s festival. This follows increased criticism of the disproportionate number of all-male to all-female acts across all festival bills, particularly following a 2014 study that found that 67.3% of acts across six major UK festivals were all-male bands or male solo artists.

“We are strong on women this year, I have to say”, Eavis told Noisey. “There are loads of great female MCs coming through this year which is quite exciting. Little Simz and Lady Leshurr and people like that”.

She also revealed in the same interview that the site of the John Peel Stage will move this year, saying: “We’re moving John Peel, which is quite a dramatic move. It’s going to go into a field that was previously hospitality camping. Next to that there’s a woods where we’re going to be doing a light installation. I think the centre of gravity [on site] will change again, because every time a massive stage moves it shifts the dynamic. From John Peel you’ll be able to walk straight to the Pyramid stage”.

And one more bit of Glastonbury news: this year’s Emerging Talent Competition has been declared open. New acts will battle it out to win a slot on one of the festival’s main stages, as well as a £5000 bursary form the PRS For Music Foundation. Two runners up will also receive £2500. Applications opened this morning, and will close again at 5pm on 25 Jan. So you’d best move fast. Details on how to enter here.