Glastonbury organisers to livestream May concert from site

Glastonbury organisers say the online concert in May will be "like the festival but without people"
Glastonbury organisers say the online concert in May will be "like the festival but without people" Oli SCARFF AFP/File
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London (AFP)

Britain's Glastonbury Festival announced Wednesday a livestreamed concert in May at its famous southwest English farm site, after the pandemic led to the blockbuster event's cancellation for the second consecutive summer.

The five-hour ticketed virtual show on May 22 will include performances by artists like Coldplay, Wolf Alice and Michael Kiwanuka from well-known stages around Worthy Farm, including the Stone Circle and Pyramid field.

Organiser Emily Eavis, who announced in January that the annual event was cancelled for the second year in a row, said it would be "like the festival but without people".

"We're going to take you on a journey through all of those spots that you know, you recognise from Worthy Farm," she told BBC radio.

"We're very excited to be able to show the farm in a way that people have never really seen it, with these incredible artists."

Tickets for the global livestream event, which will be broadcast across four separate time zones, will cost £20 ($28, 23 euros), with Eavis adding there will be "a number of unannounced surprise performances".

It will be interspersed by a spoken word narrative, "written and delivered by some very special guests, guiding festival-goers on a journey through the sacred valley in Somerset", according to the official Glastonbury website.

The festival, held on a dairy farm in Somerset, southwest England, was forced to cancel in 2020 -- the year of the event's 50th anniversary -- because of coronavirus restrictions after some 135,000 people had bought tickets.

Headliners had included pop superstar Taylor Swift and Beatles icon Paul McCartney.

Organisers had hoped to stage the event in 2021, but reversed course after Britain saw a surge in coronavirus infections, hospitalisations and deaths at the start of the year.

There have been warnings from the music sector that the pandemic could devastate the industry over the long-term, and annual summer festivals could disappear for good without more government support.