Just Vote: Glastonbury ‘politically charged’ in week before General Election

Festival-goers at Glastonbury have said this year’s event feels “politically charged” amid various reminders about next week’s General Election, including a sign which reads: “Vote Out to Help Out.”

Green energy entrepreneur and Labour donor Dale Vince has taken his Just Vote campaign to the festival on Worthy Farm this year, encouraging revellers to go to the polls next Thursday.

“We’re here to reach out to festival-goers and the general public to take part in the next election,” the 62-year-old told the PA news agency.

“I think it’s the most important of our lifetimes because of where we are in terms of the climate crisis.

“I don’t think there’s many Tories here… but we don’t really get into that… it’s not about who you vote for – just vote.

“Fair play to Glastonbury Festival, the organisers, they’re right behind us and completely on mission with us for this campaign.”

Mr Vince’s Ecotricity firm gave Labour £1.5 million, according to the Electoral Commission data for the first quarter of 2024.

The green energy industrialist also reportedly gave another £1 million to the Opposition party the day after the General Election was called, taking his total donations to £5 million.

Less than half of 18 to 24-year-olds voted at the general election in 2019, so Mr Vince said their key aim at the festival was to encourage participation among the younger generation.

Just Vote will also be broadcasting campaign material on the big screens at the festival this year, with one reading: “On July 4th, if your name’s not down you’re not coming in… turn up to vote.”

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis earlier told PA the festival had been working on having voter registration booths on site, but because the election was brought forward the weekend is now too close to polling day.

Ecotricity's Dale Vince speaks in front of a black giant ballot box at Glastonbury which features the message 'Use Your Superpower. Vote Thursday 4th July'
Dale Vince donated £1.5 million to the Labour Party earlier this year (Tom Leese/PA)

“It’s a big one for us, we’ve never had a pre-election festival,” she added, noting she felt like she had “stepped out” of the politics by being at the festival.

The last time a poll happened close to the festival was when the Brexit referendum took place on June 23 2016, with festival-goers waking up to the news the UK was leaving the European Union on the Friday before Muse took to the Pyramid Stage.

Of more than a dozen revellers PA spoke to about politics at the festival, they all shared left-leaning views and intentions for next week’s election.

A large sign above one gateway at the site reads “Vote Out to Help Out” – written in the style of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s lockdown campaign Eat Out to Help Out.

Festival-goers walking under a sign saying ‘Vote Out to Help Out’ at Glastonbury
Festival-goers walking under a sign saying ‘Vote Out to Help Out’ at Glastonbury (Yui Mok/PA)

Anne Langford from London, who works in theatre and creative culture, said she has “loved” seeing all of the reminders to take part in the vote on the festival site.

“(The festival) feels really politically charged, I’ve been coming to Glastonbury for a long time, but there’s a real urgency here,” the 47-year-old told PA, speaking in front of a giant ballot box encouraging people to “use their superpower” and go to the polls.

“I think there’s a very strong sentiment that our current government have not just let us down but have actively damaged people and especially the most vulnerable.

“I love Glastonbury because it says anything is possible… I love the fact it’s become more diverse (and) we all just look after each other in a different way here – and I would like that to be in the real world.

“I really hope everyone’s going to go home from this festival and vote.”

Festival-goer Anne Langford speaks in front of a black giant ballot box at Glastonbury which features the message 'Use Your Superpower. Vote Thursday 4th July'
Anne Langford hopes people will go home from the festival and vote (Tom Leese/PA)

James Moorton, from Nunhead in south London, said he would be voting Labour next week but feels he is to the left of the party, and considered voting for the Green Party.

“Being somewhere like Glastonbury, I feel like I’m surrounded by like-minded people… this is what I would want the country to be like,” the 30-year-old, who works in PR and marketing, told PA.

“I think if Labour were elected this week and it was announced in front of 100,000 people at Glastonbury, the reaction would be celebratory.”

Labour deputy lead Angela Rayner was booked to take part in a talk at the festival this year, but pulled out earlier this week due to General Election commitments.