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Glastonbury Acts Get Paid Far Less Than You Might Think

Jake Massey

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Glastonbury Acts Get Paid Far Less Than You Might Think

Featured Image Credit: BBC/Shutterstock

Glastonbury Festival is back for the first time in three years, and more than 200,000 lucky so-and-sos are camped at Worthy Farm in Somerset.

They're being treated to performances from some of the biggest name in music, with Billie Eilish, Sir Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar headlining.

But while the biggest festival attracts the biggest names, it doesn't dish out the biggest pay cheques.

Eilish became the youngest ever solo headliner last night. Credit: Alamy
Eilish became the youngest ever solo headliner last night. Credit: Alamy

The historic festival – which has been going since 1970 – is organised by father and daughter Michael and Emily Eavis, and the latter said the festival relies on 'goodwill'.

"We're not in a situation where we're able to just give people enormous amounts of money," she told BBC Radio 6 Music in 2017.

"So we're really grateful for the bands that we get, because they're basically doing it for the love of it."

In fact, she said they can make less than 10 percent of what they would performing at other British festivals.

The reason is that the festival donates millions to charitable causes, such as Oxfam and Greenpeace, so artists have to be on board with the philanthropic nature of the event.

"We try to give £2m a year," Emily said. "In a wet year it's harder because it costs more, but we give as close to £2m as we can.

"That's why we're not commercial, in that respect. We're not in the same bracket as everyone else when it comes to paying artists massive fees.

"It's probably less than 10 percent of what they'd get from playing any of the other major British festivals. [So] Glastonbury relies completely on goodwill."

Indeed, her dad Michael previously revealed that he paid McCartney just a fraction of the millions he could ordinarily charge for an appearance.

He said: "I paid £200,000 for Paul McCartney and for Coldplay, and although it sounds a lot, they could have charged me far more."

McCartney previously headlined in 2004. Credit: Alamy
McCartney previously headlined in 2004. Credit: Alamy

McCartney will make history tonight (Saturday 25 June) as the festival's oldest solo headliner – a day after Eilish became the youngest ever solo headliner, aged 20.

The former Beatle's headline show will come exactly a week after he celebrated his 80th birthday and more than 60 years of making music.

Sir Paul’s performance is expected to attract an especially large crowd and could rival those of The Rolling Stones in 2013 and Adele in 2016.

The Pyramid Stage will host an array of talent before Sir Paul, including Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, HAIM and AJ Tracey.

Topics: Music, Glastonbury

Jake Massey
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