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Forty years on: Glastonbury Festival thrives, while its relationship with New Holland flourishes


The Glastonbury Festival is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year. Throughout all the extraordinary changes over those years there has been a significant constant.

In May, June and July the New Holland tractors will, once again, be on site helping to set up the festival. Theyll also be there too to help break down the site and return it to its natural state as Worthy Farm, the working Somerset dairy farm that hosts the worlds most famous music festival.

Working under the festival motto Love the Farm, leave no trace the team of eleven blue tractors will be shifting fencing, staging and rubbish to and from the fields powered by 100% biodiesel.

As Glastonbury Festival has grown more sophisticated, employing new and better sound systems, improved staging and laser shows, so New Hollands tractors have been adapting too. In the beginning, the tractors were simply used to haul trailer loads of stranded festival goers across the site or to tow cars out of muddy trouble.

Today, their refined adaptations mean they can be fitted with a special four metre wide magnetised front attachment which can pull out rogue tent pegs and other metal objects from the deserted festival fields removing a potentially lethal threat to the cattle that graze there when the music has stopped and the crowds have gone home. This method has been improved with the help of IntelliSteer, the New Holland GPS guidance system, ensuring there are no overlaps or misses.

Of the eleven New Holland tractors working at Glastonbury, three are full-time tractors, run by Michael Eavis, the owner of Worthy Farm and founder of the Glastonbury Festival. He owns two T7040s for general farm work and a T3040 which is on full time yard scraping duties.


Mr Eavis says that New Holland fits in well with the Glastonbury ethos:

Our aim throughout the history of Glastonbury has been to make the Festival as green and sustainable as possible. Its an ideology shared by New Holland, a company that fits in well with the Glastonbury ethos of Love the farm, leave no trace. But of course, its not just during the festival that we use our New Holland tractors: Theyre here working on Worthy Farm all year round carrying out state of the art agricultural duties, helping to produce masses of milk for the liquid milk market.

At festival time Mr Eaviss own New Holland machines are joined by a fleet of eight other blue tractors which he hires from the local New Holland dealership TH White.

The relationship between Glastonbury and New Holland dates back beyond the beginning of the festival: At the first festival, in 1970, festival tickets cost 1 and every one of the 1500 festival goers was offered free milk from the dairy; T Rex was the headlining act and New Hollands ancestor, the Fordson Major, would have been working in the fields and farmyard.

Throughout the seventies and into the eighties and nineties, as the festival grew in popularity and fame, New Holland tractors were still working at the farm and taking on their special festival role when needed.

Over the years, the Glastonbury Festival has seen a hugely diverse range of acts; from T-Rex to Gary Numan, from Van Morrison to Radiohead and from Jay-Z to Shirley Bassey. This year the line up includes Gorillaz, Muse, Stevie Wonder and New Hollands favourite band, The Wurzels, who were pictured aboard a New Holland tractor at Glastonbury two years ago and also played Ive got a brand new combine harvester at New Hollands party to celebrate the launch of their record breaking CR9090 combine at The Imperial War Museum at Duxford that same year.

But its not just the Glastonbury line up that has changed in forty years the ticket prices have too. While tickets in 1970 were 1, this year prices almost topped 200 but today there is a massively enhanced range of entertainment compared with what was on offer back then.

And in 2010 140,000 festival goers are expected, bringing their tents, cars and campervans a far cry from the 1500 who arrived in 1970.

So, much has changed over those forty years and the machines from New Holland have been transformed in that time too.

New Hollands area sales manager Mark Farrell points out that in 2010 the tractors are very different to the ones that were working in the seventies:

Although the concept of the tractor remains the big wheels are at the back and the small wheels are on the front – they are vastly superior machines. These days they are more adaptable, more powerful, more efficient, more comfortable and safer for the operators. Not only that, but theyre much more fuel efficient and less polluting than the machines that were being used 40 years ago. Like the Festival itself, the tractors have come a long way since 1970.

After forty years of change, New Holland and Worthy Farm continue to be strong partners in terms of production, rural development, environmental schemes and rural enterprise, both in the context of Worthy Farm and the forty year old Glastonbury Festival.

New Holland Agriculture’s reputation is built on the success of our customers, cash crop producers, livestock farmers, contractors, vineyards, or groundscare professionals. They can count on the widest offering of innovative products and services: a full line of equipment, from tractors to harvesting, material handling equipment, complemented by tailored financial services from a specialist in agriculture.  A highly professional global dealer network and New Hollands commitment to excellence guarantees the ultimate customer experience for every customer.

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