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Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis knighted

The 88-year-old, who was previously awarded a CBE in 2007, has been recognised for services to charity and music in the New Year Honours List

By James Hanley on 30 Dec 2023

Michael Eavis, Glastonbury Festival, International Festival Forum

Michael Eavis

Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis has received a knighthood in the 2024 New Year Honours List.

Listed under his full name, Athelstan Joseph Michael Eavis, the 88-year-old has been recognised for services to charity and music. He was previously awarded a CBE in 2007.

The English dairy farmer, who gave a keynote interview at the 2017 International Festival Forum, began running music events in Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset in 1970 and has gone on to build Glastonbury into one of the largest and most respected festivals globally.

The most recent edition of the legendary UK festival was headlined by Arctic Monkeys, Guns N’ Roses and Elton John.

“I’ve done quite a lot of stuff in my life and I’ve always been fairly sure that I was doing the right thing”

“I have had a good life and managed to keep the festival going for 53 years,” he tells Glastonbury’s website. “It’s all gone so well in the end. It took 25 years for the public to catch on. We started with 500 people in 1970 and we’ve finished up with millions wanting to come every year now. That’s quite extraordinary isn’t it?

“I’ve done quite a lot of stuff in my life and I’ve always been fairly sure that I was doing the right thing.

“Last time I met [King Charles], I got a suit especially. And he said, ‘Why aren’t you wearing your shorts?’! But I think [Prince] William might do the ceremony. He’s made a few mentions of wanting to come to the Festival. So I’ll probably take a couple of tickets in my pocket!”

Elsewhere, current Royal Albert Hall CEO James Ainscough, formerly chief executive of music charity Help Musicians, was awarded an OBE in the Honours List. Other music industry honourees include Dame Shirley Bassey (Companion of Honour), Soho Artists founder Paul Burger, Global executive president Ashley Tabor-King, artist Leona Lewis, broadcaster Tony Blackburn and songwriter Don Black, who each receive OBEs.

In addition, Girls I Rate founder Carla Marie-Williams, Universal Music UK EVP Selina Webb and radio presenter Steve Wright are made MBEs.

Glastonbury recently announced it will have made payments of more than £3.7 million (€3.4m) to charitable causes and campaigns in 2023 by the end of the year. In addition, its Oxfam Crowdfunder DEC Appeal raised over £1m towards the Syria-Turkey Earthquake response, and an online auction raised £116,000 for the Trussell Trust.

This year also saw the opening of another 20 social houses in Pilton on land donated by Sir Michael, using stone from Worthy Farm, taking the total number of homes to 52.

Next year’s festival is set for  26-30 June, with the lineup to be revealed in early 2024

“I’ve been in the village all my life and I’ve seen all the council houses sold off, so there were no houses left to rent for working people. And private renting can be a nightmare,” he says. “I think it’s so important to have a permanent stock of houses to rent at an affordable price. So that was the most important thing for me to do in this village really.”

Next year’s festival is set for  26-30 June, with the lineup to be revealed in early 2024. Tickets sold out in just under an hour last month, as “demand greatly exceeded supply”. Sir Michael’s daughter, Emily, is co-organiser of the event.

All tickets for the 210,000-cap 2024 event had been bought on 19 November by 9.57am GMT – a few minutes quicker than last year’s onsale but slower than 2019’s record of 34 minutes. Festival ticket and coach packages sold out in 25 minutes on 16 November.

The festival’s long-term future at Worthy Farm was secured earlier this year after it was granted permanent planning permission by the local council. Somerset Council succeeded Mendip District Council as the event’s licensing authority following the abolition of the latter in April and made a series of recommendations earlier this month on how to improve the event going forward.


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