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Glastonbury festival tickets are sky-rocketing even faster than house prices

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Glastonbury festival ticket prices are sky-rocketing even faster than house prices, research has found. 

Those lucky enough to secure a ticket in the 36-minute window before they sold out this year paid £248 for a medley of headline acts including The Killers, The Cure and Stormzy. Back when the festival first started in 1970, you could buy a ticket for £1 ‘including free milk from the farm.’

House prices are well known for their dramatic acceleration in recent years, but even they have risen at a steadier rate than Glastonbury tickets. 

This year's price-tag is almost treble the price of a ticket 19 years ago, which cost £87. Taking inflation into account, the price of experiencing the UK's biggest festival has risen by 120% since the turn of the century.

House prices have increased by 101% in the same period, from an average of £84,620 to £228,172. 

Image credit: Laura Parnaby

The UK average wage is increasing at a comparatively sluggish pace. Average earnings have risen from £313 to £530 – a 4% increase after inflation.

This means Glastonbury regulars are putting an increasingly higher percentage of their wages towards the same experience every year.

These changes are not in line with overall inflation.

Image credit: Laura Parnaby

Why are festival-goers prepared to pay such dramatically inflated prices?

40% are willing to spend much more than this year’s ticket price of £248, according to the results of a Twitter poll answered by 2,000 users.

Some festival-goers implied there is no limit to the amount they would pay for a ticket, even prioritising the festival over a holiday.


Glastonbury-goers are prepared to pay the price-tag for a variety of personal reasons.

NHS worker Rosanna said: “Glastonbury is always my highlight of the year. It’s worth the current ticket price. It’s not just about the pyramid stage. There is so much live music to discover and rediscover all over.”

School bursar Tony Leggett, 60, has been to Glastonbury with his son every year since 2004.

Mr Leggett said: “We have been to the last 12 and feel extremely lucky to have got tickets whatever they cost. We have paid £100 for tickets to the O2 to see one band so £250 for five days of the best time of your life with the best line-up of any festival is a complete bargain.”

Chris Ray, a 22-year-old student, said: “I've been to Glastonbury three times, fourth time this year. Two of those times I've been in some pretty dark places. The festival, the atmosphere and the people that it brings genuinely changed my entire outlook on life.”

The five-day festival has a special place in the hearts of many. But if prices continue their steep incline, will Glastonbury become an elitist pastime reserved for the wealthy?

What could rising prices mean for the future of festivals?

‘Admission to live music’ is a category in the Office for National Statistics’ ‘basket of goods and services’, which is used to calculate inflation rates. This means the government consider live music events popular enough for ticket prices to be an indicator of average consumer spending habits.

However, Glastonbury tickets are forecast to cost £960 by 2040, according to MyVoucherCodes. This would set them almost £760 above the projected inflation rate.

On the other hand, the growing popularity of UK festivals mean they contribute billions to the economy each year. The music events industry supplies around 570,000 FTE (full time equivalent) jobs, according to Eventbrite statistics.

The growth of the industry could result in more people working at the festivals, with less people financially able to attend.

The price of a Boomtown Fair ticket has increased by the steepest margin. Boomtown Fair has rapidly become the most costly UK festival after Glastonbury since its inception a decade ago.

The four-day festival takes place in a Hampshire National Park. Headliners this year are less mainstream than Glastonbury, including Lauryn Hill, Prophets of Rage and The Streets.

When it started in 2009, weekend tickets cost £49, and they have risen sharply to £244 this year.

Isle of Wight tickets are the cheapest this year at £175, although for most people attending will involve plane and ferry costs too. 

Lead image credit: Wikipedia commons. 




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