Wed, Mar 30, 2005 - Page 6 News List

`Silent' party to maintain Glastonbury's tranquility

THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

For those seeking tranquility at Glastonbury, a dance tent packed with clubbers is not an obvious sanctuary.

But this will be the silent disco -- 3,000 festivalgoers are to be issued with headphones this year so they can turn the volume up to 11 without waking the neighbors.

The quietest party in town is a response to the problem of noise pollution at the festival, which has traditionally led the district council to issue a licence for the festival on the condition that its main stages and tents shut down on the stroke of midnight.

This year, the local council is to grant a late licence for the new dance area on the condition that thumping beats and pounding basslines are put to bed at 12. But, thanks to Glastonbury technicians, clubbers won't have to. For one night only, they will be given wireless headphones, so they don't trip up when dancing to whatever record the headline DJ plays.

"I like the idea of people dancing in total silence," said Emily Eavis, one of the festival organizers and daughter of the founder Michael Eavis.

"Imagine if you were feeling a bit worse for wear and thought, `This would be a nice quiet place to sit down.' You would be completely freaked out to see 3,000 people dancing in silence. It's certainly quirky, but our big push this year is keeping the noise down because that's what the council is keen on."

Eavis said if the one-night experiment was a success, she would consider a silent gig on one of the larger stages in the future.

The full line-up this year remains a closely guarded secret but Michael Eavis has let slip that he expects Kylie, Van Morrison, Brian Wilson and Elvis Costello to make the pilgrimage to Worthy Farm, Somerset.

The Undertones will play a tribute to John Peel, who is to have a stage named after him.

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