LONDON – The Glastonbury Festival lost Â£ 3.1million ($ 4.2million) last year when it canceled the event for a second summer in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest financial results of the company.
Accounts filed with Companies House, the UK Registrar for Companies, show that in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, turnover fell to Â£ 936,000 ($ 1.3 million ), compared to 45 million pounds ($ 61 million) the previous year.
The total operating loss of just over Â£ 3.1million for 2021, which followed a loss of Â£ 358,780 ($ 487,600) in 2020, would be a record drop for the festival of 52 year. But Glastonbury said he was able to cover losses with retained earnings from previous years.
Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift were due to headline the world-famous festival in 2020 before he became one of the first major European victims of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year’s three-day event was also withdrawn, with organizers instead hosting a live ticketed event, Live At Worthy Farm, featuring performances by Coldplay, Damon albarn and slow them down. The private company has also branched out into operating a family campsite, Worthy Pastures, on the festival site.
Other big festivals have also started reporting huge losses, including Belgium’s Tomorrowland, one of the world’s largest dance and music event companies, which said it would likely lose 25 million dollars. euros ($ 29 million) in two years of canceled events. In an attempt to recoup some of the losses, Tomorrowland has said it plans to move to three weekends this summer, down from two normally.
This year’s Glastonbury Festival, which normally hosts up to 200,000 people, is scheduled to take place at its usual home on Worthy Farm, outside the village of Pilton in Somerset, from June 22-26. Billie Eilish is the only title announced to date. Diana Ross has booked to play the famous Sunday tea time spot “Legends”.
The event is full, with 2020 ticket buyers’ deposits being postponed for a second year, following the festival’s cancellation in 2021. (The majority of ticket money is held in a retention account , which is released once the festival takes place.)
Looking ahead to this year’s comeback, the financial report warns that there will likely be “significant costs specifically related to necessary COVID-19 measures and related issues.”
Last April, the Glastonbury Festival received Â£ 900,000 ($ 1.2 million) from the government through its Cultural Recovery Fund. At the time, the co-organizers Michael and Emily notice said the money would make a “huge difference” to help secure the future of the festival. In November he received an additional Â£ 600,000 (Â£ 815,000) from the government’s support program.
Despite the colossal financial blow caused by the pandemic, the historic festival maintains substantial cash reserves of Â£ 8.3million ($ 11.2million) – “in cash in the bank or in hand” – as of March 31, compared to Â£ 12.2million ($ 16.6million) the year before, according to the Companies House financial report.
Glastonbury was also successful in making charitable donations of just under Â£ 5,000 ($ 7,000) in 2021, compared to the Â£ 1.1million ($ 1.5million) he had donated to charities the previous year.
Going forward, say business leaders, the festival will seek to build up its reserve float “once again for the future”.