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Glastonbury Festival: How ‘community feeling’ contributes to longevity of Croissant Neuf

The start of this year’s Glastonbury Festival on Wednesday sparked five days of fun and frolics in the Somerset countryside.

More than 200,000 people will attend the festival which has been part of the British music scene since it was first launched in 1970.

The scale of the festival is mind-boggling, with an area the size of a city being built and dismantled within a few weeks either side of the iconic event.

Of the many different areas at Glastonbury, the Croissant Neuf field is one of the longest standing having originally launched 36 years ago.

The field includes the Croissant Neuf tent, where the main acts play, and a bandstand, where musicians play during the changeovers in the main tent.

With a cafe, exhibits and a handful of other stalls, planning for the event is pretty much an all-year round job according to organiser Sally Howell.

In an interview in the run-up to the 2022 Glastonbury Festival, Howell gave a comprehensive insight into what it takes to successfully manage the Croissant Neuf field.

“I have agents constantly sending through CDs and emails, so it never actually totally stops,” she told Betway Insider.

“But the big crunch starts just after Christmas and it’s full on. We’re recruiting all of our staff, exhibits and crews.

“My area is quite small and I’ve got a tight-run ship. There is all my crew – so that includes site crew, stage and sound crew and tent crew.

“With around-the-clock stewards, venue stewards, campsite stewards and gate staff, there are around 175 people. That doesn’t include any performers.”

While Croissant Neuf is much smaller than many other of the popular areas at Glastonbury, Howell says the event is effectively like staging a mini-festival within a festival.

The manual assembly starts more than a week advance, with the four days before the event gets underway proving to be particularly intensive.

When the festival has finished, a core crew of around 20 to 25 people are tasked with dismantling everything on site within a couple of days.

One of the unique features of the Croissant Neuf field is that it is run entirely run on solar power, which brings additional challenges for Howell and her team.

However, the green-focused ethos of Croissant Neuf means that Howell has been able to forge relationships with like-minded people who return to work for her every year.

“The stewards in my area just work for me,” she added. “They’re not given to me. You get a lot of the same faces back every year – they’re like family.

“That’s what creates that community feeling. Our field is a bit like a village green, really.

“We have a pond, we have a garden, we’ve got seating areas. It’s all hosted with a green ethos and it’s relatively small compared to other areas of the festival.”

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