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Glastonbury denies water shortage, as teething issues with plastic bottle ban emerge

By | Published on Monday 1 July 2019

Glastonbury Festival

So, Stormzy turned in one of the all-time greatest Glastonbury sets on Friday night, which made following him in the festival’s other headline slots rather difficult.

The Killers turned up with a killer strategy on Saturday, presenting themselves as a very competent wedding band – even turning in a medley of wedding classics as their encore. And last night, The Cure, well The Cure are The Cure. The Cure got away with being The Cure. But was there enough water? Well, that’s a matter of some debate.

One of the big changes at this year’s Glastonbury was the banning of single-use plastic bottles on site. Which meant no plastic bottles of water for sale. Instead, festival-goers were strongly encouraged to bring their own water bottles, which they could fill from taps spread around the festival. However, as temperatures rocketed on Saturday, many complained of long queues for those taps.

There were also reports of a water shortage on site after showers were closed off – festival-goers being met with a sign reading: “Glastonbury Festival are working to increase the water availability and the showers will be unlocked as soon as we get the go ahead”.

However, responding to all of these reports, organisers denied that there were issues providing enough water for the 200,000 people at the event. “There is not a water shortage at this year’s Glastonbury”, insisted a statement. “Our supply is running as normal. As always in hot weather, demand for water has increased, so we have put in place the usual restrictions on staff/guest showers and the limited number of public showers”.

Organisers also denied claims that water was hard to come by, and that those who had failed to bring reusable bottles to the event were being forced to go thirsty.

“We have more than 850 taps on site, all of which provide free drinking water”, they went on. “These taps all have a ready supply of water. All bars are also offering free tap water. And although we no longer sell water in single-use bottles, all of our food traders are selling both water and soft drink in cans. There is also not a shortage of this canned water, which is available for those who wish to purchase it. Water is also being given out from our info points and we have roving teams providing water from backpacks”.

So, basically, there was water. Loads of it. So much fucking water. Everywhere. And not the “relentlessly falling from the sky kind” either. The good kind. So shush with all your moaning. Of course, the dramatic shift to zero plastic bottles was always going to trip people up and result in some issues. Nevertheless, I don’t think anyone would be arguing for their return. Not after David Attenborough got up on stage and hailed the ban.

But with other events being encouraged to do the same regarding single-use plastics, there may be lessons to be learned from Glastonbury’s messaging on the matter.