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Glastonbury: The Farm Diversification Story 

Glastonbury: The Farm Diversification Story 
Glastonbury 2024

Farm diversification is a strategy which can transform a traditional agricultural business into a thriving, diverse enterprise. Among the most iconic examples of successful farm diversification is Glastonbury Festival, an event that has grown from humble beginnings into one of the world's most famous music festivals. 

Let's explore the rich history of Glastonbury, its remarkable journey as a farm diversification story, and the motivations behind this transformation. 


The History of Glastonbury 

Glastonbury Festival, originally known as Pilton Pop, Folk & Blues Festival, was founded by Michael Eavis in 1970. Eavis, a dairy farmer in Pilton, Somerset, sought to create an event which as well as making money, would bring people together through music and culture. 

Inspired by the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music, Eavis decided to host his own festival on his farm, Worthy Farm. The first Glastonbury Festival attracted 1,500 visitors who enjoyed performances by artists such as T. Rex and Al Stewart. 

Over the years, Glastonbury has evolved into a cultural phenomenon, attracting hundreds of thousands of attendees and featuring performances by some of the biggest names in music, including David Bowie, Beyoncé, and Paul McCartney. The festival's unique blend of music, arts, and community spirit has earned it a legendary status in the festival circuit. 


The Ultimate Farm Diversification Story? 

What started as a small gathering on a dairy farm has grown into a globally renowned festival that celebrates music, culture, and community. The festival's success lies in its ability to adapt and innovate whilst staying true to its roots. 

Economic Impact: Glastonbury has transformed Worthy Farm from a traditional dairy operation into a thriving business, which supports the local economy and a variety of charities. The festival generates millions of pounds in revenue each year, providing employment opportunities for local residents and boosting tourism in the region. The influx of visitors also benefits local businesses, including hotels, restaurants, shops and transport services. 

Cultural Significance: The festival's commitment to promoting social and environmental causes has resonated with audiences worldwide. From supporting renewable energy initiatives to championing social justice movements, Glastonbury uses its platform to advocate for positive change. This dedication to making a difference has set Glastonbury apart from other festivals, elevating its status as more than just a music event. 


Why They Chose to Diversify 

The decision to diversify Worthy Farm into a festival venue was driven by a combination of passion, opportunity and necessity. Eavis's love for music and community played a pivotal role in the festival's inception. His desire to create a space where people could come together to celebrate music and culture was the initial spark that ignited the Glastonbury story. 

In addition to personal passion, economic necessity also influenced the decision to diversify. Farming, especially dairy farming, is subject to market fluctuations and financial challenges. By hosting the festival, Eavis found a way to supplement the farm's income and ensure its financial stability. The success of the festival allowed Worthy Farm to weather economic uncertainties and invest in sustainable practices that benefit both the farm and the festival. 


A Testament to Farm Diversification 

Glastonbury's story serves as an inspiring example of how innovation and passion can drive diversification in the world of agriculture. 

If you would like some advice on starting your own farm diversification story, join us 6-7 November at the Farm Business Innovation Show. This year the event is co-located with the Land, Leisure & Tourism Show, the UK’s largest event for rural businesses, holiday parks, leisure and attractions. 



Register for your free ticket 

Apply for a stand 


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