JThose who love Glastonbury say that walking through the doors of the festival is like leaving the real world behind. And, for many, this year’s festival was a belated opportunity to forget about the cost of living crisis and shell out £10 bucket hats, £6 pints and £14 lobster rolls .
As the first Glastonbury since 2019, this year’s event always seemed to feature a certain extravagance, despite taking place against the backdrop of the biggest drop in living standards since the 1970s. The majority of the 138,000 This year’s festival-goers bought their tickets for £285 in 2019, when the only inflation troubling campers was related to their air mattresses.
“Generally people seem to be throwing caution to the wind and thinking ‘I’ll worry about it when I get home,'” John Fraser, 54, said as he enjoyed a can of cider with his breakfast on Saturday. morning.
The cheapest pint this year is £6 – about the same as in London’s trendiest parts – while a double vodka and Coke costs £10.50. Prices have risen since 2019, although it is one of the few UK festivals to allow people to bring their own alcohol, with many carrying cases of lager and bags of wine to see during the five days.
Enjoying a breakfast in the sun near the BBC intro stage, Lily Moore, 26, said she had put savings aside for the festival and hadn’t spent as much as she had foreseen it. “I’ve never been to Glastonbury before but it costs around £10-11 for a meal,” she said. “I haven’t heard anyone say ‘I’m really struggling to pay for stuff’. I think we’ve waited so long for them to be buzzing here.
At Funky Bumbags, owner Rick Lomas was doing a roaring trade in one of this year’s must-have accessories: bucket hats emblazoned with the Rick and Morty “Flip the pickle” line.
Lomas, 65, sells fanny packs, bucket hats and sunglasses at 12 festivals each year, but Glastonbury is still the busiest. Soaring fuel prices will eat into profits, he said, but there were few signs ordinary festival-goers were feeling the pinch. “Glastonbury are middle class now, and those are the people who haven’t really been hit that hard,” he said.
The only limit to people’s willingness to spend seemed to be the temperamental card machines, which meant that many bars and stalls could only accept cash for much of the festival. It was a double whammy for businesses, Lomas said, because people are more careful about how they spend money than contactless — if they even have cash on them in the first place.
Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson once called Glastonbury “the most bourgeois thing on the planet” and founder Michael Eavis admitted in 2007 that he had become too middle-aged and respectable. A YouGov poll in 2014 found that wealthier people were more likely to want to attend, lending credence to the suggestion that it attracts an older, more middle-class crowd than Download or Leeds and Reading. .
High up near the Glastonbury Stone Circle, those wanting a more boujee festival experience can hire an 18ft teepee. For a group of six adults, it would cost you £2,860 – or £476 each. In the tipi village, campers can enjoy a “luxurious wood-fired yurt sauna” before shopping at a stall selling hand-woven Mexican rugs for £80.
There are ways to do Glastonbury on a budget. Since 2015 the festival has offered ‘food for a five’, where traders sell smoothies, tea and cakes and even a mini Sunday roast for £5. Three-quarters of the site’s 400 catering stands participate in the system.
“It’s significantly more expensive than previous years,” Victoria McBride said, sipping coffee in the sunshine outside the left-field political scene.
“We are looking for the food stickers for a five. Portions are often not as big as the more expensive options, but I guess that means we can try more!
Another way to save money is to join the group of 2,000 stewards and waste pickers. Julie Malloy and Jo Miller are two of 40 members of a litter collection team run on behalf of the Great Wallace and Gromit Appeal at Bristol Children’s Hospital. The pair pay for 50% of their tickets and the charity receives the remaining 50%, which Miller says “shows how brilliant Michael Eavis is at giving back.”
They receive food tokens in exchange for their work, but have also brought some of their own supplies. “The vibe is one of community and kindness, not greed, and that makes it different from so many other festivals,” Malloy said.
Alex Taylor, 23, said he heard punters talking about the price of food and drink – and even spotted a flag saying: ‘I had to downsize my flag this year due to the cost of living .
He added: “You can budget the festival. Once you find cheap places, you know where to go. We bought our tickets two years ago before it all blew up.
At Funky Bumbags, Lomas said he was happy with the recipes this year, but feared he would feel the pain next year: “For the majority of people now, Glastonbury is their holiday. They don’t go to Ibiza or Benidorm anymore. But next year is when it will really start to bite.