The Glastonbury Festival returns this week for the first time since before the Covid-19 pandemic. Tickets for this year’s event cost around £280, around half the average weekly wage in the UK, according to research.
Although the festival is considered quite expensive, it is also known for its good value for money. No other festival equals its range of acts, areas and activities.
But now, new research estimates that if inflation continues to rise at its current rate, the cost of festival tickets at Worthy Farm could skyrocket. Obviously, we hope that this analysis can be taken with a grain of salt.
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But research should focus minds during the cost of living crisis. And given that tickets were cheap at the start of the festival in the 1970s – a cost that seems unimaginable now – the huge screenings aren’t as bizarre as they seem.
Glastonbury ticket price trends – 1970 to 2022
According to new data from Insure4Music, tickets to the iconic music festival could reach £78,000 by 2072 if inflation trends continue at their current rate. The research uses ticket data from the first Glastonbury Festival in 1970 and analyzes historical records for nominal average wages in the UK as well as the development of the general economy fifty years from now.
In 1970 it cost just £1 to attend Glastonbury – which has risen by 27,900% for the £280 ticket price this year. This means that if prices rise by the same amount over the next fifty years, a ticket could cost £78,400 for the festival’s 100th anniversary in 2072.
The Glastonbury Festival was very different in 1970, with the event lasting just one day and being held in September. The £1 entry fee also included milk from Worthy Farm.
The nominal average weekly wage of a full-time British worker in 1970 was £18.37, meaning that a £1 Glastonbury ticket was equivalent to around 6% of the average weekly wage. In today’s economy, £18.37 in 1970 is worth £302.78 thanks to inflation – with the £1 note also amounting to £16.48 in the economy of 2022.
However, the current average weekly wage is £556 and tickets to Glastonbury are £280. This equates to about 50% of the weekly salary of a nominal average earner.
This means that there has been a 44% increase in the ticket to weekly wage ratio since 1970. If this trend continues, nominal average weekly earnings in the UK are expected to climb to over £83,000 by 2072 for keeping pace – that’s around £4.3million a year.
‘Unfathomable’ prices at Glastonbury are possible in the future
John Woosey, Founder of Insure4Music, said: “We all know festivals can be expensive, but it’s only when you see numbers presented like this that you’ll truly understand how much things have changed and how much they might still change.
“These price projections are unfathomable today, but again so is the idea of Glastonbury costing just £1. The truth is no one really knows what the future will look like, but there is Huge changes are on the horizon if history is to be believed.
In June 2019 – before the pandemic – Glastonbury Festival tickets cost £248. This is worth £264.08 today, such is the constant rate of inflation in the UK.
At the same time, the average wage was £537.50 a week. This meant that a worker earning this would have had to part with 46% of their weekly salary to attend Glastonbury in 2019.