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26th Jun 2023

How much Elton John was estimated to be paid for Glastonbury performance

Steve Hopkins

‘They cap their budget’

Elton John might have pulled in record-breaking crowds at Glastonbury on Sunday but the Rocket Man is unlikely to have pocked a fee to match.

The icon’s “special and emotional” performance on the Pyramid Stage featured numerous guests and a tribute to Elton’s late friend, George Michael on what would have been his 60th birthday.

Elton began with Pinball Wizard, then after singing, The B***h Is Back, told the crowd: “I never thought I would ever play Glastonbury and here I am. 

“It’s a very special and emotional night for me because it might be my last show ever in England, so I had better play well and I had better entertain you, you’ve been standing there so long and I really appreciate all the outfits and everything.”

Following the much-lauded show, many fans are wondering just how much money Elton would have gotten for the show, seen by tens of thousands at Worthy Farm, and millions more around the globe, steaming from home.

Artists who perform at Glastonbury typically get about 10 per cent less compared to other festivals as it prefers to donate millions of pounds to charities every year instead. So that might put to bed claims headlines can make £1m from taking the Pyramid Stage.

In a 2017 interview with BBC Radio 6, festival co-organiser Emily Eavis explained: “We’re not in a situation where we’re able to just give people enormous amounts of money.

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

Founder (and father to Emily) Michael Eavis once let slip that he paid Coldplay and Paul McCartney about £200,000 for past headline sets.

Bestival organiser Rob Da Bank revealed that Glastonbury’s budget is under £500,000 per headliner in a recent chat with Somerset Live.

“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,” he said.

Lyle Bignon, a music consultant specialising in live music venues and festivals, told Metro: ‘Glastonbury headliners can expect to pick up performance fees of anywhere between £35,000 and £300,000 – depending on their profile.

‘The likes of Elton John and Guns N’ Roses, who have decades of global fame behind them, can likely command higher prices running into the £250,000+ range.’

Music consultant specialising in live music venues and festivals Lyle Bignon told the Metro that he’d expect the ‘Crocodile Rock’ singer to get paid more than £500k.

“The likes of Elton John and Guns N’ Roses, who have decades of global fame behind them, can likely command higher prices running into the £250,000+ range.”

The 76-year-old was the last of three headliners to play at Worthy Farm, Somerset this weekend, following on from Guns n’ Roses and Arctic Monkeys who played the previous two nights.

Elton thanked fans around the world for their love and support throughout his 52-year career, saying: “I’ll always have you in my head and my heart and my soul.”

A number of fans turned out in iconic costumes worn by the performer during his career, which didn’t go unnoticed by The Rocket Man who thanked revellers for “dressing up” and “making me feel so happy”.

“It makes me feel loved. And I want to thank you also for 52 years of amazing love and loyalty you’ve shown me, it’s been an incredible journey and I’ve had the best, best time.”

Launching into Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Sir Elton paid tribute to singer-songwriter George Michael, saying: “He was my friend, he was an inspiration, and today would have been his 60th birthday, so I want to dedicate this song to his memory.”

Farewelling the crowd, Elton said: “I want to thank you all for dressing up in your costumes, your glasses and your outfits, it makes me feel so happy and so loved. “I also want to thank you for 52 years of amazing love and loyalty that you’ve shown me. It’s been an incredible journey.

“I’ve had the best time, I will never forget you, you’re in my head and my heart and my soul, you’ve been amazing.

“You’ve been an incredible crowd tonight. I wish you love and health and happiness.”

He closed his set with a lengthy rendition of Rocketman which was met with rapturous applause.

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