Glastonbury tickets could cost more than £78,000 within 50 years if economy continues to inflate at the current rate
With Glastonbury Festival falling victim to COVID in 2020 and again in 2021, Worthy Farm hosted live music for the first time in more than 1,000 days in June 2022.
Keen festival-goers and avid music fans flocked to the fields once again, and it was great to see. The event was a complete sell-out, as expected, even despite the £280 ticket cost.
But amid spiralling prices, inflation, and, of course, the ongoing UK cost of living crisis, research by Insure4Music has unearthed some frightening prospects about what the future of Glastonbury could look like.
If Glastonbury ticket prices continue to rise at their current rate, tickets for the 2072 festival (50 years from now) will cost £78,400, according to Insure4Music data.
Glastonbury 1970: the origins
Glastonbury Festival began in 1970, but things looked much different then than they do now.
For a start, the festival was just a one-day event back then. Held on 19 September (coincidentally, the day after the death of Jimi Hendrix), tickets were £1, and entry included free milk from the farm.
According to data obtained from the CPI Inflation Calculator, £1 in 1970 is worth £16.48 in today’s money—a humble sum, still.
In 1970, the nominal average weekly wage for a UK worker in full-time employment was £18.37, according to data records kept by Our World in Data. However, with inflation, this is equivalent to £302.78 today.
That means that a ticket to Glastonbury in 1970 would have cost the average UK worker around 6% of their weekly pay.
Glastonbury as a multiple-day festival
By 1979, Glastonbury had become a three-day-long event, and tickets had gone up to £5, or £26.95 in today’s money.
The nominal average weekly wage had risen to £68.92 by 1979, too, however, which meant the price of a ticket was still only roughly 7% of a weekly pay packet.
By the time the ‘80s arrived, wages had continued to creep up too, with the weekly average surpassing £100 for the first time. In 1982, the nominal average weekly wage was £104.49, while a ticket to Glastonbury was a humble £8.
Glastonbury ticket prices: on the rise
By the year 2000, Glastonbury tickets were still priced reasonably at £87—a figure which becomes even more reasonable when you consider David Bowie and the Chemical Brothers were among the Pyramid Stage headliners.
However, the nominal average weekly wage sat at £317.42 in 2000 (which, incidentally, is worth more in today’s money than wages today, according to data).
This means that in 2000, a Glastonbury ticket cost the average UK worker 27% of their average weekly pay, representing a considerable uplift from previous decades.
By 2003, Glastonbury ticket prices had finally broken the £100-barrier, with a general admission ticket valued at £105 that year. For perspective, that’s around £176 in today’s money.
Ten years later, tickets had surpassed £200 by Glastonbury 2013, with one setting you back £205. At the same time, wages had risen to £473.92 per week on average, meaning a ticket to Worthy Farm would swallow 43% of that.
Tickets for the last Glastonbury Festival pre-COVID (June 2019) were £248. Interestingly, this is worth £264.08 today, such is the consistent rate of UK inflation. Average wages three years ago sat at £537.50 per week, so a worker earning this would have to part with 46% of their weekly pay to attend Glastonbury.
Glastonbury finally returned in 2022.
As is tradition by now, and with the industry feeling the full impact of COVID, tickets, of course, increased. Tickets for the 2022 festival cost £280, making it the most expensive Glastonbury yet.
The nominal average weekly wage in the UK today is £556. A ticket for Glastonbury 2022 represents 50% of this.
Glastonbury ticket prices: what could the next 50 years look like?
Had the COVID pandemic never happened, 2020 would’ve been Glastonbury’s 50th-anniversary festival. However, that crown now falls to 2022.
The price of a ticket to Glastonbury Festival has gone from £1 to £280 in 52 years, which represents an increase of 27,900%.
Let’s say it rises by this amount again in another 50 years—a ticket to Glastonbury in 2072 would cost a mouth-watering £78,400.
In 1970, a Glastonbury ticket was worth 6% of the average weekly wage. In 2022, it’s worth half. That’s a percentage increase of 44.
Again—let’s say this trend continues for the next 50 years: a ticket would then be worth a whopping 94% of the average weekly pay.
That means the full average weekly pay in the UK in 2072 would need to be £83,404, equating to a yearly salary of around £4.3m.
Of course, these are just projections—we have no crystal ball. All of this should be taken with a huge pinch of salt. But it’s frightening all the same.
Commenting on the findings, John Woosey, founder of Insure4Music, said: “We all know festivals can be pricey, but it’s not until you see figures laid out like this that it really hits home and you realise what the future could hold.
“These price projections are unfathomable today, but then again, so is the idea of Glastonbury costing just £1. The truth is that nobody really knows what the future is going to look like—but there are some huge changes on the horizon if history is anything, at all, to go by.”
The price of a general admission Glastonbury ticket has risen by 27,900% since 1970. If prices continue to increase at their current rate, and hence we witness a further 27,900% increase 50 years from now, the cost of a ticket to Glastonbury 2072 will be £78,400.
In 1970, the cost of a Glastonbury ticket was £1, which equated to around 6% of the nominal average weekly wage (£18.37). In 2022, a Glastonbury ticket costs £280, which equates to approximately 50% of the nominal average weekly wage today (£556). Therefore, there has been a 44% increase in the ticket to weekly wage ratio.
If costs again continue to rise at their current rate, and hence we witness a further 44% increase by 2072, a Glastonbury ticket will then be the equivalent of 94% of the average weekly wage.
If £78,400 equates to 94% of the average weekly wage, then the full average weekly wage would be £83,404. This would make the average yearly salary a staggering £4.3m in 2072.
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