Do bands get paid to play Glastonbury? How much stars earn for playing music festival - and biggest earners

Artists playing Glastonbury receive a fee of ‘less than 10%’ than they would get at other festivals

After a two-year hiatus, the Glastonbury Festival is back.

Over 200,000 fans have set up camp in Worthy Farm, looking forward to the three-day music festival which will feature headliners including Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar.

Playing on the pyramid stage is a bucket list achievement for many artists, but do they get paid for their performance?

Here’s everything you need to know about how much the stars earn for playing the iconic music festival.

When is Glastonbury 2022?

Glastonbury is back after a two year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tents are set up as festivalgoers attending Glastonbury 2022 (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)

The 2020 festival was cancelled, with headliners Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar moving to the 2022 lineup.

The three days of music kick off on Friday 24 June and lasts until Sunday 26 June.

Do artists get paid to play Glastonbury?

Glastonbury does not usually disclose what artists get paid for their sets.

The festival’s main purpose is to make money for charity, with it pledging £2 million for good causes every year.

Emily Eavis, daughter of the festival’s founder Michael, is now in charge of booking artists and negotiating their salary.

In an interview with BBC Radio 6 in 2017 she stated that Glastonbury performers receive “less than 10%” of fees that they would normally get from other festivals.

Eavis explained: "We’re not in the same bracket as everyone else when it comes to paying artists massive fees.

“So we’re really grateful for the bands that we get, because they’re basically doing it for the love of it.”

She added: “That’s why we’re not commercial, in that respect. We’re not in the same bracket as everyone else when it comes to paying artists massive fees.

“It’s probably less than 10% of what they’d get from playing any of the other major British festivals. [So] Glastonbury relies completely on goodwill.”

Many artists are happy to take a cut in salary for a chance at playing the iconic festival.

In an interview with Somerset Live, Bestival organiser and DJ Rob Da Bank explained: "It’s the one show that artists will play for free or for a reduced price.

"They cap their budget and even the headliners don’t get paid more than 500 grand, I think, which is cheap for some of the headliners and they’ve had a lot of them.

"So, that’s proof of its huge, huge influence."

How much can artists earn?

In a previous interview, festival founder Michael Eavis revealed that artists Coldplay and Paul McCartney each received a fee of £200,000 for their performances.

Paul McCartney is the oldest artist to ever headline the pyramid stage (Pic: Getty Images)

Speaking to Metro in 2020, Dr Iain Taylor, Lecturer in Music Industries at Birmingham City University explained that “the fees paid to headlining acts at Glastonbury will vary considerably from artist to artist.”

He added: “Both Paul McCartney and Coldplay have been paid £200,000 for a headline slot, compared to fees of up to £4m that McCartney has demanded elsewhere.”

These comments were not in relation to McCartney’s upcoming headline slot in 2022.

Who are the biggest earners?

The exact sums that headliners get paid is not disclosed, so it’s hard to guess who has earned the most from playing Glastonbury.

However, we know that some bands have actually made a loss at the festival.

According to the BBC, the Rolling Stones spent more money than they made constructing a special catwalk at the front of the Pyramid Stage in 2013.