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300 BBC staff attending Glastonbury

The BBC will send more staff for its coverage of Glastonbury Festival than it is dispatching to the global spectacle of the World Cup Finals.

Corporation music chief Bob Shennan said 300 staff were being lined up for the weekend, outstripping the 272 who are to head to Brazil to work on its football programming in the coming weeks.

The BBC said it was trying to keep numbers down wherever possible but each had a "clear and accountable role" to bring hours of coverage from the rural Somerset festival.

It is broadcasting 30 hours of TV coverage across its channels - including a location edition of The One Show - and over 50 hours of radio across Radio 1 and Radio 2, plus digital stations. There will also be further performances on the iPlayer, red button and via the BBC website.

Headliners for this year's event are Arcade Fire, Kasabian and Metallica, with acts such as Robert Plant and Dolly Parton also among those who will play.

A team of 17 presenters will be hosting for the weekend including Jo Whiley, Fearne Cotton, Dermot O'Leary, Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq, Greg James, Stuart Maconie, Pete Tong, Cerys Matthews and Mark Radcliffe, with Chris Evans and Alex Jones hosting the Glasto edition of The One Show.

Mr Shennan, the BBC's director of music, said staff levels for this year were in line with those for the 2013 event for the "demanding" workload.

By comparison, this year's World Cup coverage has seen a reduction in numbers on the 295 who staffed the South African contest.

Mr Shennan said: " We're sending the same number of people as last year and, whilst some will inevitably still argue this is too many, I can assure you that every member of staff onsite has a clear and accountable role, working long hours to offer unparalleled coverage for our audiences.

"We have also worked hard over recent years to identify areas where resources can be shared or tasks more easily undertaken off-site."

A BBC spokesman said: "Broadcasting comprehensive, high-quality coverage of major cultural events requires this level of resource and every member of staff onsite has a clear and accountable role, working long hours to offer more than 250 hours of unrivalled coverage across to audiences across TV, radio and online.

"Whilst we are working hard to ensure we are being as efficient as possible, we will not compromise the quality of our output and we have been robust in scrutinising our plans and minimising costs."

Metallica have proved a controversial booking for the event with some festival-goers unhappy that a hard rock act are topping the bill. Some have said the group's inclusion is against the event's environmental ethos, as frontman James Hetfield supports bear hunting.

Mr Shennan said he hoped the BBC coverage of the band's performance would do justice to their renowned "powerful, pyrotechnical performances".

But he added: "If metal isn't your cup of tea however, there will be plenty of alternatives just a few clicks away on your tablets or interactive TVs."


From Belfast Telegraph