This could be quite amusing to look back on should it actually happen :-)
Keeping it brief and short on excessive research, here are the points to consider.....
The festival has been held at the same site since 1970. That's a hell of a long time. Over 45 years of events has seen the transition from flower power to punk to new age travellers to the present day increasingly (worrying) apathetic consumerism. Nearly half a century. Music careers that have started and ended in BA4, from legends to flash-in-the-pan flavours of the month. The very name 'Glastonbury' is synonymous with the music festival as opposed to the nearby town itself, even with all of it's exulted sexy history. I'm not lamenting over an old football stadium here, this is an area nearly as big as Bath, a whole city with a million memories and stories.
As we all know the mythical power and gravitas of the festival is inextricably linked with it's position along the ancient leylines. Taking place each year on the weekend following or as close to the Summer Solstice, the festival has always been synonymous with the wishes and grace of (frankly, cool) pagan traditions and rituals. Isn't it great that it's in the middle of nowhere? That's the whole point! If you make it to the site, you deserve to be there. Bands who turn up have to rough the journey like the rest of us. Even those who arrive by helicopter can't simply check into the nearby 5 star hotel. For them it's roughing it like the rest of us (to varying degrees). Overlooked by Glastonbury Tor, a true beacon, can the magic and mythology of the festival survive anywhere else without the support of those who follow these magnificent events?
- The Stone Circle
For many, this area of the festival is a truly special and lifechanging space. Friends are made, tribal music danced to, drugs shared, love spread, effigies burned, nights slept to be awoken by the beautiful haze of dawn. It's played a part in conception, betrothal, enlightening, insert your own experience here. Sure, stones can be positioned in another field somewhere but can an area rich in history and unrestricted hedonism with such vibrance and serenity really be replicated? If you've not been there, skip a band or two and get yourself up there and suck it in.
- The hippies
Whether you like them, love them or want to be them, you can't deny that the hippies/new age travellers/whatever you want to call them, are still a key part to the culture and unique atmosphere of the fesitval. Throughout the history of the event they have remained a fascinating constant, mixing unpredictability and charm; for many reminding us of why it's important to remember to look beyond the material trappings of our non-Glastonbury modern lives. It's great to see reminders of how we used to live, taking only what we need from the earth's natural resources and seeing them about the place signifies a simpler life of looking after and respecting one another as human beings not commodities or competitors. From the upheaval and persecution by the law in the 80's (where Michael Eavis allowed them to live on his lands) up until now, they have a bond to the land and the Eavis family. Would we see them if the festival moved, maybe, but it just wouldn't feel the same.
OK so we've all been sat in the car on the A37 for hours waiting to get in but imagine how much worse it will be deeper into Somerset. You can at least approach the festival from the M5, Bristol and Wiltshire. There's something quite special about driving past the site the rest of the year, I get goosebumps I won't lie. From Canards Grave through to the Highwayman Pub, the old Babycham deer in Shepton Mallet, the roundabout and that hill which dips into the gully where you're beautifully waved in towards the trail of corrugated iron and car park fields. An awesome buzz every single time.
- Michael Eavis -the shrewd businessman
For those of you thinking Mr Eavis is a doddering old-timer, just a simple farmer who's handed over the reins, I'm afraid you're very wrong. Michael Eavis is a very clever man who has out-witted local councils, the press and establishment for many years when the festival has been fined, vilified and threatened. He has no intention of moving the festival from Pilton. It's convenient for him to have it on his doorstep and he loves the history of the event. For years he's gone through the usual haggling over renting additional land from nearby farmers and he's simply sick of being held to ransom. Instead of continuing to increase the margin he's giving away to these heartless barons, he's decided to call their bluff by threatening to move the festival. Faced with the prospect of losing their bounty, the leeches will have to climb down on their proposed rates for rent. They've exploited the appeal and need for land of the event, they won't make as much money leaving the fields to pasture that's for sure. Eavis is simply playing a clever sales tactic game to see who blinks first. He's the Alex Ferguson of festivals, plain and simple.
Year after year, people keep coming back. I know, I've done 15 of the last 16 of them. People like the set-up, although fields and stages are freshened up and occasionally shifted, on the whole it's easy to navigate around in whatever state of consciousness you're in to those who have been before. From Pilton Pasta to the Cider Bus to the Park Stage tower, it's rich in landmarks and meeting points. Some of us can only deal with so much change. We have internal google map algorithims where we can instantly work out distances from one end to the other, can we make it to X stage by Y o'clock? Hmm, maybe, have to break into a light jog though!
- A new site
We've heard rumours about Longleat. Yes, that's right, the place with the roaming monkeys and lions, the zoo experience most folk outside of the middle classes can't afford to take their kids. Hmm, I can't see it going there, where do you figure all of the above factors fitting in there? I read something about it being in London I hear you say, sorry that's just bollocks from some fame-hungry London MP. Maybe it'll be somewhere nearby? Maybe, that wouldn't be so bad I guess, but you would notice the difference. Aren't there enough of us banging on about how great it used to be without adding another factor to the list?
So there you have it. It can't move. It won't move. Or maybe I won't move with it.