June 29, 2009

BBC’s Glastonbury expenses raises ire

The BBC spent about $2.5 million and sent 407 personnel to cover the Glastonbury music festival, but didn't broadcast full music sets, critics say.

Despite racking up the expenses -- sending as many workers to Glastonbury as it did to last year's Summer Olympics in Beijing -- the British broadcaster angered fans by curtailing its coverage of two of the festival's main draws, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

BBC officials, however, defended their coverage, saying Young's management refused to allow it to broadcast more than five songs on television and one song online, while Springsteen's nearly three-hour set was too long to broadcast in its entirety, the newspaper said.

Matthew Elliott of the TaxPayers' Alliance told the Telegraph the festival has become an annual jamboree for BBC employees. It raises very serious questions because it leaves the license fee-payer with the impression that it's an annual BBC junket. All 407 staff can't all be there doing proper work.

British Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw reportedly said Sunday the BBC had a few questions to answer about its Glastonbury expenses.