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Glastonbury 2022 - overcrowding rumours & thoughts


WheresMyTent
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11 hours ago, Gnomicide said:

Was DiRo busier than previous Legends? No. Was Macca busier than the Stones? No.

All this is just my own experience but I didn't think it was unsafe at any time. I think the busier feeling was down to bigger acts sometimes being up against little opposition, maybe bigger acts taking earlier slots due to everyone wanting to be there after the pandemic. I spent way more time at the Pyramid than any previous visit and I think a lot of others did the same.

Friends said the same about camping fields being more spacious (but there were more fields and people more conscious of being on top of each other).

Agree about DiRo and Macca.

My main reason for writing this was mainly BETWEEN stages at all times. Never before have I been camped more centrally (Greenpeace crew, between West Holts and Glade) and yet never before have I had to leave earlier/choose wiser who I was going to see in order to be able to get there on time (actually 45 mins before) and still have time to eat/use the toilets, etc. All pathways to me felt shoulder to shoulder for 90% of the day. The only time I saw proper space was when we sacked off a Saturday headliner and headed to SE Corner at 9pm for a couple of bar drinks before getting to the Temple when it opened at 10. We chose to do that because our experience of the previous days had been, if you don't get there an hour early, you absolutely shouldn't even bother trying. And once you do get there, good luck going to the loo or the bar, ever. 

I only visited the Pyramid once though, for Diana Ross, which is VERY unlike me.

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I think it’s time the bookers started booking acts on the stages that are relevant for their expected crowd size, rather than where they necessarily ‘fit best’ in terms of style, genre etc. 

Once all the bands are booked, then they really try to split the crowds as much possible and put an educated estimate for act, and then decide the relevant stages that way. 

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10 hours ago, morph100 said:

Not really, could be a real tunnel that was being ran by Scousers, could be a nick name for a way in on staff tickets. Could be completely made up nonsense but I saw it mentioned more than once.

there is a tunnel / stream / sewer pipe that runs into site which I presume has a big gate and lock on it. Now I’m imagining a group of 20,000 people streaming through it as it’s managed by Liverpudlian gangsters 🙂

😄 are there more scousers there than anyone else, or is it just that they're more noticeable/audible than others? I seem to be having this conversation each year, to the point where I'm considering staying there the night before the ticket sale.

Or maybe there is said tunnel, who knows?

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Personally I managed to have a pretty crush and crowd free Glastonbury, it was one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. The reason for that was accepting that I was not going to make everything on my list and just using my experience of previous Glasto's to have a reasonable idea where the pinch points would be. I was also better at finding the quiet spots (and they were there) than I would have been in the past

It was really only Wet Leg and Elvana on Thursday that I was involved in what could be described as irritating crowds. 

Still it is clear that there were issues this year. Park/Arcadia at popular times; William Green on Thursday; West Holts when it is over subscribed. I think a review of the the entry and exit points, scheduling and possible new one-way systems that are clearly marked would not be out of order.

If the rumours re Sticklinch are true then obviously review the arrangements there also. I camped there and my wristband was checked twice each evening on my return and I did see security resolutely refuse entry to anyone without one, so clearly there was some sort of crackdown.

It's a busy festival and I think it gets most things right, I think the OP correctly points out the three year gap and COVID   did cause some issues with the organisation this year, hopefully this year's experience will enable the organisers to mitigate the difficulties that some festival goers had this year.

 

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11 hours ago, morph100 said:

Not really, could be a real tunnel that was being ran by Scousers, could be a nick name for a way in on staff tickets. Could be completely made up nonsense but I saw it mentioned more than once.

there is a tunnel / stream / sewer pipe that runs into site which I presume has a big gate and lock on it. Now I’m imagining a group of 20,000 people streaming through it as it’s managed by Liverpudlian gangsters 🙂

First year I went (98) there actually was a group of Scousers who had dug a small tunnel under the fence and were charging a tenner a pop to go through it!

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To add to experiences, I personally never felt as tho it was busier than any previous years over the last 20 years. 99 and 2000 being way more packed to say the least.

These experiences are all subjective however as I wasn't at the pyramid stage once, but was working in the park. 

I do think more people arrived earlier and people are more expecting of organised entertainment. The days where we created our own entertainment and socialisation in campsites are long gone. Queues for food stalls longer as it looks like less people cook at their camp and more demand on site perhaps?

I did notice the mix of people that come now, from different backgrounds and the demand for cashless payment at bars. When this was down it was noticeable expectation it should be there. As I reminded everyone who moaned, be careful what you wish for. When cash is gone many will lose side lines and incomes. I am of the view fight to keep it.. anyway, that's going off topic .. I suspect many weren't used too, have experienced or forgot what it was like to be in a proper crowd.

From away from the pyramid 🙂

 

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5 minutes ago, mufcok said:

😄 are there more scousers there than anyone else, or is it just that they're more noticeable/audible than others? I seem to be having this conversation each year, to the point where I'm considering staying there the night before the ticket sale.

While this is hearsay, a lot of my staff have been saying that they know of a lot of people who have blagged / jumped / climbed / smuggled themselves into Glastonbury.

I do work in Fazakerley though and my staff do love a tall tale at times.

Regarding the amount of scousers I noticed.  Yeah there's a lot but didn't seem any more than usual.  

It did feel generally busier this year, though I never got caught in a 'crush' as has happened at Rolling Stones or getting into the SEC at times in the past, the baseline level felt a lot higher than usual.

Whether it's down to changes (and lack of experienced) stewards / volunteers, 3 year gap, 7k more tickets being sold and poor crowd control, it's hard to say with any certainty as we will never know for certain how many extra people managed to find a way in compared to previous years.

 

Weirdly, the one place that didn't feel as crowded was Pennard Hill.  We managed to get to Pennard with our tents at 10am ish and was surprised to find that we could find space for 5 tents pretty much close together and there was still space in the field on friday, when in previous years there was never more than a square meter free by noon on the wednesday.

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3 minutes ago, Gnomicide said:

How much of a crush were the crushes people are talking about?

Are we just talking busy, getting on the underground, front of a gig, lift your feet and keep moving?

Admittedly i dont tend to float around the pyramid/other main drag very much at all, save for Paul McCartney, but i cant say the crowds were very much worse than i recall from previous years - the worst bits were attempting to meet some mates during the Libertines (that was daft) and wandering through west holts while everyone was amassing for TLC - my bad for not knowing what was going on really.

I thought the SE corner was a bit quieter than previously, and the greenfields were as they always are, a great oasis away from the madding crowds. I've been to the football and perhaps got a bit more used to huge crowds than others? dunno. Interesting to read everyone's reports though. 

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I didn't find it especially overcrowded but it did seem busier. However, as I mentioned on another thread, I put this down to perfect weather. If it's raining, muddy, or super-hot like in '19, there are simply less people moving around. In rainy years there will always be a significant percentage hiding out in their tents.

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Around & by our camp we encountered at least half a dozen folk that had been smuggled in - if that's a microcosm of the bigger picture then there were a lot of people there without tickets - no way of guessing numbers on that though

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10 hours ago, clarkete said:

I had quite a different take on that to you.

arrived in Sticklinch Thursday and was intrigued why they had several security folks at the gate checking bands in and out, rather than just in. It was only when I read the fence story that it made sense that they'd beefed up the route between the two. 

Same perspective on pretty much everything.  I didn't see wet leg as I'd already caught them on tour and they were blooming popular there.

As you say Stones is still the Pyramid act where it's seemed busiest. 

There are certainly some stages which need well experienced and assertive stewards in case capacity is reached. When I arrived at JP whilst a lot of young pups were leaving I just stood next to the folks in tabards until the crowd was quieter. 

For food, after the first meal or two a key criteria for me was queue size and proximity - so if there were a dozen people waiting I'd go elsewhere. I managed to eat a couple of meals/snacks a day and all decent grub, but not the most fun things. 

 

Oh quite, I’m not saying sticklinch was a ‘good way in.’ I’m saying if 30 people made the mistake of picking that tiny part of the wall, in one small time period of one night, imagine how many people breached or attempted to breach the rest of the huge wall over the course of the entire weekend.

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While numbers did seem a little higher, overall I don't think they were much higher (and still nowhere near 2000 levels).  Everyone wanted to do similar things at similar times (above the Park on Wednesday and Thursday was crazy busy).  The legend slot seems as popular as ever but pyramid headliners seemed quieter.

I thought there were around 2/3 the number of food stalls and I commented we would be queuing more.  There were lots of gaps and far less densely packed shops and food places which I can only put down to many of them going under or finding new jobs during the pandemic.

We did comment on the large number of under 3s.  There were likely a large number of folks who had bought tickets and then had babies in the intervening years and had decided they didn't want to miss out so went anyway.  Not sure that would have impacted on the numbers too much though.

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I'm really not sure saying "it wasn't close to 2000 levels" is a good yard stick to measure crowding. 

2000 being the year it was so busy they had to pull the following festival or face it's licence being revoked.

 

1 hour ago, Gnomicide said:

How much of a crush were the crushes people are talking about?

Are we just talking busy, getting on the underground, front of a gig, lift your feet and keep moving?

I've not seen any video footage of dangerous crushes, if there had been bad crushes then surely it would have been all over socials. 

There was a crowd surge at Calvin Harris in Glasgow this week and that's all over tiktok (and looks very scary tbh). 

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23 minutes ago, joe_bee said:

While numbers did seem a little higher, overall I don't think they were much higher (and still nowhere near 2000 levels).  Everyone wanted to do similar things at similar times (above the Park on Wednesday and Thursday was crazy busy).  The legend slot seems as popular as ever but pyramid headliners seemed quieter.

I thought there were around 2/3 the number of food stalls and I commented we would be queuing more.  There were lots of gaps and far less densely packed shops and food places which I can only put down to many of them going under or finding new jobs during the pandemic.

We did comment on the large number of under 3s.  There were likely a large number of folks who had bought tickets and then had babies in the intervening years and had decided they didn't want to miss out so went anyway.  Not sure that would have impacted on the numbers too much though.

Makes a lot of sense. There was a large number of gaps using that steel fencing covered in green cloth between stalls to hide the gaps. Even as first timers we wondered if they were gaps that were meant to be filled by stalls that had cancelled for whatever reason. 

We were also surprised by the number of babies, and wondered if it was normal. Our friends, glasto veterans themselves, chose to miss out this time due to having a baby during the pandemic. So it did surprise us how many very young babies were there. I have to add though, I think it's brilliant that glasto is a safe enough place to bring babies to, guessing you don't find many at Reading or Leeds? 

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3 hours ago, gigpusher said:

I did wonder if there were a lot more kids than normal. Maybe people not wanting to leave kids at home as not much chance for kids to get acclimatised to being with other people for such a long time in recent years. No problem with it. I like kids around the festival but it there were significantly more than usual it could affect numbers. 

The food queues were the main things I noticed being worse than normal. Before we went down I went to a bakery and bought a load of brookies and my husband said I had gone well over the top. By the second day of the festival he was declaring me a genius as a mid morning brookie stopped us needing to eat until a little later most days. 

I reckon the amount of extra kids brought in was one reason for the bad crowd crust. They were all hanging back with trolleys etc.

 

lockdown kids 🤣

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1 hour ago, Gnomicide said:

How much of a crush were the crushes people are talking about?

Are we just talking busy, getting on the underground, front of a gig, lift your feet and keep moving?

The one I was in at Arcadia/Park was more scary than the previous crushes I’ve been in, because it involved people crossing over each other going different directions. With added mud it would have been worse. We had no chance of staying with our friends once we’d gone into it.

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15 hours ago, CaledonianGonzo said:

The more this keeps coming up, the more all I can account for it is: after 3 years away, people simply forgot what it was like.

It's definitely not that. I didn't encounter any of the big crushes or issues people have raised, but there's certain like, objective measures that to me demonstrate it was busier, that being food stall queues and toilet queues. 

I generally stick to the quieter areas of the site by default anyway, and never hit big queues, but was really notably was hitting any sort of queue at all. There were food places I have frequented for years that I've never queued at for more than 30 seconds, where was waiting five minutes. Not the end of the world, not going to complain, but I could definitely see it.

So it was either busier, or their were fewer food outlets / toilets. 

And again, if I'd only been a couple of times before, I wouldn't have noticed this, and I'd be on here saying everything was fine.

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I share the same feelings as @WheresMyTent- this year felt way busier, and I had to adapt and make compromises more than in previous years.

I usually choose a couple of acts I want to see and then go with the flow -  come Friday, that couple of shows didn't go as planned, neither going with the flow. I had a better weekend after changing my way of doing the festival - this year required planning.

I put a lot of weight on my being out of practice, but I also think it's a combination of many factors - most already mentioned here.

Of course, the festival is vast and has something for everyone; so many had the time of their lives and very different experiences. However, I don't think that "I've been to the festival this many times, so I know you can go around doing this or that / that there are empty toilets just ahead why are people queueing for this" lessens what is being discussed here but highlight areas where the festival may need to improve to accommodate the growing number of tickets sales, first timers and those who don't live and breathe Glastonbury like us - even going by the official number of ticket sales, not considering if something happened this year.

This is probably another topic, but I also feel that the growing capacity affects the naughty corners and early hours areas. For me, they seem to have been losing some of their quirkiness, micro-venues catering to different genres and experiences, immersiveness, theatrics and performers. They are becoming more like stages with broad areas to accommodate more people and increase popularity.

I wonder how much is due to forced cancellations, budget cuts and performers who moved on during the pandemic (and other reasons I have no idea about) and how much is by design?

Watching videos from Arcadia and walkabouts around Shangri La/South East Corner on YouTube from a few years ago shows what I missed this year.

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Glastonbury is fairly unusual (if not unique, others may know more) in that several of the stages are basically their own festival with little co-ordination.  It sounds like it has got to the position where the more popular acts need to be put on at the Pyramid or Other and to start bringing back some deliberate scheduling clashes.

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This isn't directed at anyone in particular but plenty of people came back from the farm literally the day after to talk about how they were in scary, barely moving crowds and fearful for their safety multiple times over the course of the weekend – and that's just a small sample size of the ones that posted on here. In every thread that mentions crowding I'm seeing a lot of "hmm well *I* didn't experience them or think it was too bad this year" with the implication that people are overreacting.

We are barely one year from a festival in the US that killed and maimed multiple people because they packed too many people on site and fucked the infrastructure, and this sort of shit should be at the forefront of festival organisers' and punters minds. A festival like Glastonbury that is decades deep shouldn't get a free pass for messing things up because we've seen it only takes one incident, stampede, crush, whatever for people to die.

Any festivalgoers concerns about overcrowding and crushes are valid, regardless of if you personally saw/experienced them or not. It's a massive site so of course there's things going on you didn't see first hand.

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52 minutes ago, Leyrulion said:

 

2000 being the year it was so busy they had to pull the following festival or face it's licence being revoked.

thats not how it was, a licence was refused for 2001 because the council weren't convinced that the festival was trying to comply with licence condition.

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14 hours ago, Gnomicide said:

I thought the food stall and toilet queues were no worse than normal and it seemed like there was more space in our camping field (Paines) than before but that may have been because more of our group got there earlier this year.

 

14 hours ago, mazola said:

Bottom line, I didn't think it was any worse than usual. I did notice the little financial cut backs here and there though, and that was more of a worry to me about where the festival could be heading.

Somewhere between these two. If you are going to the popular acts/stages, and if you chose to eat when those acts finish it is going to be busy. Realise that the pinch points can be distressing if you get caught up in them. I have been several times over the years but sometimes it is unavoidable and sensible behaviour by (most of ) the crowd overcomes. 

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