“After much deliberation and consultation I have now decided not to run the festival this year,” Michael Eavis announced January 4.

He cited specific reasons for his decision, and gatecrashers and the need for a fence that will keep them out figured prominently in the cancellation.

“This year off will hopefully give a powerful message to everyone that we are worried about the large number of gatecrashers, and we will use the coming months to develop ways and means of controlling entry to the site effectively. People will have to understand that the growing culture of fence-hopping has to be stopped and the long-term prospects for the festival will depend upon us succeeding,” he said.

The site is enormous – more than a mile and a half across, with a perimeter of about eight- and-a half-miles.

The number of fans on the festival site is of particular concern following the nine deaths at last summer’s Roskilde Festival in Denmark.

Arguably one of the world’s most popular annual music events, Glastonbury attracts fans from across the globe. In recent years, the multi-day festival has drawn attendances exceeding 100,000.

The huge crowds in turn drew the attention of the local authorities. The Roskilde tragedy compounded the pressure on Eavis’ organization to find a way to effectively fence the site and control the size of the audience. In 2000, more than 20,000 gatecrashers reportedly got past festival security.

A civic review of Glastonbury 2000 criticised the festival for “control of numbers, and for some noise and other issues arising from the illegal travellers’ camp outside the festival site,” according to Eavis.

Dozens upon dozens of artists – including Moby, Gil Scott-Heron, Willie Nelson, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and David Bowie – performed at last year’s event. It was a relatively peaceful affair, with no major mishaps or injuries reported.