Glastonbury Taking 2006 Off

Glastonbury, Britain's biggest open-air rock festival, is to take a year off in 2006 to give a rest to both the long-suffering villagers and organizer Michael Eavis' cows.

Glastonbury, Britain's biggest open-air rock festival, is to take a year off in 2006 to give a rest to both the long-suffering villagers and organizer Michael Eavis' cows. The festival renowned for mud and merriment in the genteel countryside of the west country has been held at Eavis' farm since 1970.

"It's a good chance for the cows, the farm, the farm workers and the villagers to recover," Eavis said. "It's been tough on the cows. This will be like a fallow year in farming terms."

When Glastonbury was first held on Eavis' farm near Pilton in Somerset, about 1,500 hippies paid one pound each to hear a handful of bands, including Marc Bolan's T-Rex.

From small beginnings, the event expanded rapidly, but as the festival grew in popularity, so did the problems. Villagers were soon complaining that their tranquil corner of England had been hit by vandalism, theft, litter and deafening noise.

The festival was cancelled in 2001 after crime and crowd-control problems a year earlier. It was reinstated in 2002 with tightened security, including a giant "super-fence" and relations with the locals have improved markedly.

Eavis had additional good news to offer 150,000 fans that pour into the site every year for three days of rock'n'roll excess -- he has found a spring on the farm that will supply enough water to quench thirsts and clean mud-spattered bodies.

But he insisted: "The mud really only arrives once in every five years. We would like to coincide our next year off with a wet year."

Glastonbury 2004 was headlined by Oasis, Muse and former Beatle Paul McCartney. Eavis declined to say who will headline this year's festival, to be held June 24-26, although he says the main acts are all confirmed.


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