Ticket sales soggy for UK’s Glastonbury festival

Published by Reuters


Every morning, the head of Britain’s Glastonbury Festival swims 40 laps of a chilly pool. But sales of tickets for this year’s show aren’t performing quite so swimmingly.

The team behind the June 27-29 festival has taken the unprecedented step of restarting the ticket-registration process, after stubs failed to sell out.

Festival chief Michael Eavis is mystified by the lethargic sales. In February, roughly 225,000 people registered for tickets. Last year, the corresponding registration — a prerequisite to buying tickets — was 400,000.

After tickets went public April 6, only 100,000 were snapped up, prompting Eavis to reopen registration two days later. Last year, the entire allocation of 137,500 tickets sold out in about two hours.

“Why did all those people preregister then?” Eavis asks. “Something is happening somewhere.”

England is known for many things, but good weather isn’t one of them. The previous two editions were drenched, transforming the Worth Farm site in Somerset in southwest England into a giant mud bath. The weather, Eavis says, “is taking its toll.”

And with the ground capacity pushed to 177,500, up from 150,000, overcrowding has become a regular gripe. To combat congestion, the site has reclaimed another 40-50 acres.

The British press, Eavis says, has been “a bit hostile” toward Glastonbury this year, directing blame on competition from other festivals and rapper Jay-Z’s booking as a headliner.

“The point is we’ve got a fantastic lineup ready to go on May 1. It knocks all the other shows into a cocked hat,” Eavis says. “If we haven’t sold out by then, we’ll just keep the lines open.”

Rival festivals aren’t reporting a broader malaise. With a bill featuring headliners the Verve, Rage Against the Machine and R.E.M., the July 11-13 T in the Park in Balado sold out its 40,000 tickets in less than an hour, promoter Geoff Ellis says.

The Reading and Leeds festivals, featuring Rage Against the Machine, the Killers and Metallica, also boast sellouts, with organizer Festival Republic claiming 200,000 ticket sales in 24 hours.

Among the acts expected to play Glastonbury are the Verve, Kings of Leon, Hot Chip, Leonard Cohen and Neil Diamond. Last year’s lineup included the Arctic Monkeys, Bjork, the Who and Shirley Bassey.

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All screens lead to “Rome” for Genesis Q&A

Published by Reuters


Genesis is returning to the big screen for the launch of its upcoming live DVD.

The prog-rock veterans, who reunited for a world tour last year, will participate in a special Q&A session next month that will be beamed via satellite live into 20 Odeon cinemas across Britain, the band’s manager Tony Smith said.

Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks will take questions from the audience, but will not perform.

The on-screen event is expected to take place May 20, ahead of EMI’s May 26 release of the DVD “When in Rome 2007,” which captures the tour finale, a July 14 show that drew an estimated 500,000 fans to the Circus Maximus.

Genesis explored the cinematic route when a Dusseldorf show from last year’s tour was cinecast live in digital high-definition quality and surround sound to theaters throughout Europe.

“It was very effective for us, and we learned a lot from it,” Smith told Billboard.com. “If we were to consider doing something else again of a special nature, where we wanted to set up in one place and do an extended run, then that would be a way to go.”

The “When in Rome 2007” DVD digipak will contain a 28-page booklet and carry more than five hours of content on two concert discs and a documentary DVD.


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