Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Cows back on farm that hosts Glastonbury festival after massive clean-up

Picture: GlastonburyOfficial
Picture: GlastonburyOfficial

Alice Vincent

For 175,000 lucky ticket-holders, Glastonbury's annual party offers five days of wild abandon. But for the award-winning dairy herd belonging to festival organiser Michael Eavis, the festival can mean weeks away from the rolling hills that comprise the event's site.

After an uncharacteristically dry festival at the end of June – which saw the least rainfall since 2010 and the warmest June day since 1976 – Glastonbury has witnessed its fastest clean-up ever, with 50 of the 380-strong herd returning to the Pyramid field on Monday, a mere week after revellers left the site.

A representative for the festival told The Telegraph: "The clean-up was just ridiculously quick this year. It's the fastest we've ever seen." 

Those grazing on the fields are the dry cows, which are currently enjoying a break from expressing milk in their lactation cycle.

It usually takes around six weeks for dairy farmer Eavis to return his herd to Worthy Farm's fields. In 2014, the bovines were back in place by August 19, nearly two months after the festival cleaned up for another year.

The farm has been working for 150 years – and business has barely stopped since the first festival took place in 1970. 

After 2007's notoriously muddy festival, it took seven months for grass to grow back on the site. The cows were still not back on the site by February 2008. 

A decade later, and the site of the cows back on dry land will be especially pleasing after 2016's festival, which Eavis declared the festival the "muddiest ever".

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The speedy clean-up has caused controversy this year, with some who had travelled from Europe to work after the festival finding themselves with less than anticipated due to dry weather.

A statement from Glastonbury Festival said:

Festival goers sit amongst rubbish following the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset (Ben Birchall/PA)
Festival goers sit amongst rubbish following the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset (Ben Birchall/PA)

This year was an unusually dry one for Glastonbury. That, coupled with a fantastic effort from festival goers in taking their belongings home, meant that the bulk of the litter picking work was completed after 2.5 days (in 2016, a very wet year, the equivalent period was around 10 days).

All but a core crew of litter pickers were advised that there was no further work available after Friday (June 30). Those who weren’t able to leave the site over the weekend were given further meals, plus assistance with travel to nearby towns with public transport links.

A festival goer sits amongst rubbish following the Glastonbury Festival (Ben Birchall/PA)
A festival goer sits amongst rubbish following the Glastonbury Festival (Ben Birchall/PA)
(Ben Birchall/PA)

The cows will be able to enjoy a festival-free year in 2018, as Glastonbury takes a "fallow year" out from hosting the festival. It will return to Worthy Farm in 2019.


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Telegraph.co.uk