A TOTAL of 16 councillors on Somerset Council were offered free tickets to attend the Glastonbury Festival in June, it has emerged.

They have all declared the gift of the sought after tickets to the event valued at £340 each in he Members' Gifts and Hospitality Register at County Hall, in Taunton.

Those who attended would have been given a VIP tour of event control and the festival site before being allowed to stay and enjoy the music.

A council spokesperson said the fact 16 councillors were invited did not mean they all attended.

She said: "Somerset Council has an important role in ensuring the safe delivery of Glastonbury Festival, working closely with the festival team to carry out licensing and compliance checks; helping with their waste and sustainability initiatives supporting them be an eco-friendly festival: and managing traffic on arrival and exit days to ensure a smooth and safe experience for all.

"The library service also runs a pop-up library at the festival showcasing its work and offering a range of activities for all ages.

"With the move to a unitary authority this year there were a number of councillors unfamiliar with this work which the former district and county councils have historically been involved with at the largest performing arts festival in the world.

"Some of our executive members and local ward councillors were invited to attend Glastonbury Festival to see at first-hand how Somerset Council works collaboratively with the organisers and multiple agencies to ensure the festival runs smoothly and safely for all, including local residents.

"All gifts, benefits or hospitality with a value in excess of £50 have to be declared whether they were accepted or not, and although 16 councillors were invited it doesn’t mean they actually attended.

"Those that did were given a VIP tour of event control and the festival before being free to stay on site if they wished.”

The 16 councillors invited to Glastonbury Festival were: leader Bill Revans; deputy leader Liz Leyshon; Mike Rigby (lead member for transport and digital); Theo Butt Philip (transformation and human resources); David Fothergill (opposition lead); Tessa Munt (children, families and education); Federica Smith-Roberts (communities, housing and culture); Adam Dance (public health, equalities and diversity); Sarah Dyke (environment and climate change); Ros Wyke (economy, planning and assets); Dean Ruddle; Claire Sully (local division member); Alex Wiltshire (local division member); Simon Carswell (chairman licensing board); Marcus Kravis (deputy chairman licensing board, local member); and Mike Best (council chairman).

Of the 16 councillors invited, 15 said in the register their attendance would be for 'site visit, monitoring, contact for local residents (if required)'. Only Cllr Ruddle wrote 'not attending the event', although Cllr Fothergill and Cllr BillRevans have since informed us that they did not attend.