The Pyramid Builders

the problems in 1979, the idea of a Glastonbury Festival wouldn't go away.

In 1981, Michael Eavis approached Mid-Somerset CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) with a plan to run a new festival - with CND as the beneficiary. The CND people weren't easy to convince, but Michael Eavis is a persuasive man.

One advantage this arrangement could offer was that CND had a well-established distribution network, linking scores of local groups, which could be used for distributing information and publicity for the event, and could handle advance ticket sales.

By now, too, Eavis was beginning to learn from previous failures. Earlier festivals had either been the products of enthusiastic but happy-go-lucky helpers, or laden with excruciating committee work. This time Eavis set out to do most of it himself - negotiating with local councils, banks, rock agents, concessionaires et al. And he did a pretty good job of it, even if he did have to call in some specialist help as the festival date neared.

Back in 1971, one of the features of the Fayre had been a temporary, pyramid-shaped stage. For many, this had become the symbol of festivals at Glastonbury. Ten years on, it was decided to make a pyramid stage a (semi-)permanent feature.

As a permanent feature, such a building could only avoid the need for formal planning permission if it was classed as a farm building - so it was decided that Worthy Farm's cows would have a pyramidal cowshed (except for a few weeks in the summer).

In the event, this building (80 ft square and 50 ft high) was a bit too tall to evade planning regulations, so building regulations had to be obeyed rigorously, and a trail of forms, inspections and certificates would have to be followed. Luckily, by now, Michael Eavis had become quite adept at managing local council bureaucracy, and the pyramid stage/cowshed was finished and cleared for use in good time.

The 1981 festival was the first to be a financial success. 18,000 people turned up, and a cheque for £20,000 was handed over to CND. Thus encouraged, Galstonbury (CND) Festivals continued throughout the eighties (with one break in 1988), giving pleasure, and a sense of community, to its audiences.

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