“I don’t think they give a monkey’s about me” – Exploring stakeholder power and community alienation at Glastonbury Festival“
As one of the main stakeholders affected by music festivals, it is becoming more and more recognised that the needs of the host community need to be met and satisfied in order to ascertain their support for future music festivals. Empowering the host community, including them in the decision making process, or co-creating the event experience with them have been found to be essential elements of the planning process and in ensuring the long-term success of a festival (Derrett, 2003; Clarke & Jepson, 2011; Rogers & Anastasiadou, 2011; Stadler, 2013; Jepson & Clarke, 2016). Glastonbury Festival is the largest Greenfield Music and Performing Arts Festival in the World (Glastonbury Festival, 2016) and provides an interesting case study to explore and examine the perspective of the host community with regards to their relationship with other key stakeholders and subsequent socio-cultural impacts imposed by the festival. In-depth interviews with members of the host community and festival volunteers were conducted in order to investigate whether Glastonbury Festival creates either community pride or community alienation. Findings from this study show that although participants appreciated the excitement and local pride generated and the improvement of facilities provided by Glastonbury Festival, they perceived the festival as a “political minefield” where the event organisers hold power over other stakeholders. There is little to no engagement with the host community throughout the festival planning process. The purpose of this chapter is to use a Critical Management approach in order to explore how power relationships between event organisers, the host community and other key stakeholders shape different perceptions of meaning. It is argued that the lack of a shared vision is a major factor alienating the host community, making them feel powerless and hence threatening the long-term success of the festival. The chapter concludes with a set of recommendations for festival organisers to build on the well-established community pride, but go beyond the allocation of free tickets in order to ‘engage’ the host community.