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Sunday 23 June 2013

Callum Austin and Rowan Johnson create film for music festival

Students from Southampton Solent University have created an animated film for the Glastonbury Festival.

The film raises awareness to the issues of bringing Chinese lanterns to Glastonbury. Festival organiser Michael Eavis says, ‘For some time now there has been a ban on the sale and use of Chinese lanterns at the Glastonbury Festival; however some revellers still smuggle them into the event.”

Chinese lanterns are seen as a fire risk, especially at Glastonbury where there are many acres of closely erected tents. One stray lantern could cause rapid spread of fire and endanger lives. Another longer term consequence is when cattle eat the debris from lanterns hidden in the grass and hay feed.

Eavis says: “The operation of cutting and collecting the grass will chop the wire or bamboo frame of the lantern into needle sized pieces which in turn will be digested by the animals into their stomach possibly resulting in a slow death – I have had two cattle killed in this way at Worthy Farm.”

With this in mind, the Glastonbury Festival website commissioned students from Southampton Solent University to produce a short animation deterring visitors from bringing or using Chinese lanterns on site.

The visuals were created by BA (Hons) Animation student Callum Austin, with music and sound effects by BA (Hons) Television and Video Production student Rowan Johnson. Both students are part of the Skillset Media Academy which encourages collaboration between media production courses and to meet live client briefs.

The project was co-ordinated by associate lecturer Kieron Butler, who says: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for our students to work with a major client like Glastonbury Festival, and create something that will be seen by thousands of people visiting the festival from around the world.”

Chris Salmon, from the Glastonbury Festival website, says: “Although they’ve been banned at Glastonbury for several years, Chinese lanterns are still a real issue at the festival – where they can cause fires and have been responsible for the death of several cattle.”

“The Solent students did a terrific job of explaining the issue in a punchy, light-hearted way that doesn’t come across as overly preachy. We’re hopeful that their animated film will really help us to reduce the numbers of Chinese lanterns used at this year’s event.”

The video is available to see online at

This is just one part of what students from Southampton Solent University will be doing for Glastonbury. Every year, students from across the Media Academy gain professional and working experience at the festival, delivering news content for the website and live outside broadcast to two of the main stages. This year, students will also help the festival go ‘completely digital’ by compiling video footage to the BBC and The Guardian.

Academic leader Tony Steyger, who is supervising more than 30 students at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, says: ‘This year we are working very closely with the BBC and broadcasting to the world. Our students will have to work hard and think on their feet at this famously demanding and unpredictable location environment. It’ll be great fun and very exciting.’

You can see all updates from Glastonbury by following the Solent students here on YouTube.