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BBC reveals most-viewed Glastonbury sets

Sets by Paul McCartney and Diana Ross drew the biggest UK TV audiences at this year’s Glastonbury festival, the BBC has revealed.

McCartney’s Saturday night Pyramid Stage headline performance saw him joined by surprise guests Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl, in addition to performing a virtual duet with John Lennon.

The former Beatle’s near three-hour set averaged 2.7 million viewers on BBC One and peaked at 3.9m, while Ross’ 75-minute Sunday legend slot had an average audience of 3.1m, peaking at 3.8m.

According to Broadcast, the broadcaster’s coverage of the festival’s Friday night, which saw 20-year-old Billie Eilish becoming Glastonbury’s youngest ever headliner, attracted 1.2m. Its Sunday evening coverage averaged 1.4m prior to Kendrick Lamar’s headline appearance, which garnered 570,000 viewers.

“The BBC provided the ultimate armchair experience of the world’s best-loved festival”

The BBC has also confirmed record breaking figures across its digital platforms for its coverage of the 2022 festival.

Content was streamed 34.1m times on BBC iPlayer, including 23m streams live – the highest on record for a BBC programme brand – and was played 2.3m times on BBC Sounds.

Streams rocketed 116% on BBC iPlayer and 205% on BBC Sounds from the most recent festival in 2019, up from 15.8m and 765,000 respectively.

“The BBC provided the ultimate armchair experience of the world’s best-loved festival this weekend with a dedicated Glastonbury channel on BBC iPlayer, 6 Music’s All Day Glastonbury coverage, performances from the biggest artists on demand on BBC Sounds and over 35 hours of coverage across our TV channels,” says BBC director of music Lorna Clarke.

There were secret sets by the likes of Jack White and George Ezra

Other acts at the 210,000-cap 22-26 June extravaganza included Crowded House, Lorde, Pet Shop Boys, Sam Fender, Megan thee Stallion, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Olivia Rodrigo, Little Simz, Wolf Alice, Glass Animals, Burna Boy, Arlo Parks, Haim, Blossoms, Sigrid, Girl in Red, Charli XCX, Celeste, Wolf Alice, Fontaines DC, Foals, Idles and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. There were also secret sets by the likes of Jack White and George Ezra.

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis paid tribute to the festival’s long-serving commercial director Robert Richards, who died aged 65 following a short illness, in this year’s official programme.

“I’ll miss him so much,” wrote Eavis. “He should have worked for years and years but he was sadly taken before his time. I am very sad and upset to lose this remarkable man.”

Glastonbury’s scheduled 50th anniversary 2020 edition and 2021 event were both cancelled due to the pandemic. The BAFTA Award-winning Live at Worthy Farm ticketed livestream was staged last year in its place.

The past weekend is believed to have been the UK’s biggest ever for live music, with more than one million people attending concerts.


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Glastonbury’s Robert Richards dies at 65

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis has led tributes to the festival’s long-serving commercial director Robert Richards, who has died aged 65 following a short illness.

Richards, who was the producer of Julien Temple’s 2006 Glastonbury film, passed away at Guy’s Hospital in London yesterday (12 January).

His first job at the event saw him set up the information and CND campaigning stalls. In more recent years, Richards was responsible for partnerships, large commercial deals and sponsorship, and helped secure the licence for the festival to continue in 2014.

Paying tribute, Eavis praised Richards as a “remarkable man”.

“I am personally very sad and upset to lose this remarkable man who I will find difficult to replace”

“Robert helped me personally with projects in Pilton village, particularly the big social housing project and the village shop,” he said. “He was also chairman of the Glastonbury Town Fund Board, which raised £24 million for the town in 2021.

“I am personally very sad and upset to lose this remarkable man who I will find difficult to replace. Now that the fever of life and his days are over, may God give his soul the rest it deserves.”

PRS for Music chair Nigel Elderton tweeted: “Terribly sorry to hear the sad news of Robert Richards passing. Always happy to help even when working under pressure and a great music fan. My condolences to his family, Michael, Emily and all the Glastonbury team! We will miss you Robert!”

In 2015, Richards opened up about the nature of his role at the UK’s biggest festival in an interview with Glastonbury’s ticketing partner See Tickets.

“I work on all the sponsorship/partnership relationships, the BBC partnership and the land deals involving the festival site,” he said. “I have an overview on ticketing, markets, and bars. The best thing about the job is that every day is different.”

Richards also discussed the evolution of the festival during his tenure.

“I can still see whole areas that are still very similar to my early days at the festival,” he said. “The main changes are in the professionalisation of the production, and support teams.

“We have world class people working at the event, but what makes it so special is the commitment the area organisers and their teams bring to each of their parts of the festival. It’s the best party in the world.”


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Glastonbury Festival 2021 is cancelled

The 2021 edition of Glastonbury Festival is cancelled, according to a statement from organisers Michael and Emily Eavis.

“With great regret, we must announce that this year’s Glastonbury Festival will not take place, and that this will be another enforced fallow year for us,” reads the statement on the Worthy Farm event’s website.

“In spite of our efforts to move heaven and earth, it has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down.

“It has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down”

“As with last year, we would like to offer all those who secured a ticket in October 2019 the opportunity to roll their £50 deposit over to next year, and guarantee the chance to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2022. We are very appreciative of the faith and trust placed in us by those of you with deposits, and we are very confident we can deliver something really special for us all in 2022!

“We thank you for your incredible continued support and let’s look forward to better times ahead.”

Phil Bowdery, chair, Concert Promoter’s Association and LIVE co-founder: “It is devastating that Glastonbury, one of the crown jewels of the UK’s live music and festival scene, has been forced to cancel for another year.

“We need time to prepare and we desperately need a government-backed insurance scheme to unlock our future”

“With some light at the end of the tunnel, with the vaccine roll-out underway, we need time to prepare and we desperately need a government-backed insurance scheme to unlock our future. Now more than ever we need this to be put in place or our globally successful festival industry could be damaged for years to come.”

DCMS Committee chair and MP, Julian Knight, says: “The news that the UK has lost the Glastonbury Festival for a second year running is devastating. We have repeatedly called for ministers to act to protect our world-renowned festivals like this one with a government-backed insurance scheme. Our plea fell on deaf ears and now the chickens have come home to roost.

“The jewel in the crown will be absent but surely the government cannot ignore the message any longer – it must act now to save this vibrant and vital festivals sector.”

“The government cannot ignore the message any longer – it must act now to save this vibrant and vital festivals sector”

Dave Webster, Musicians Union, says: “We are bitterly disappointed to hear that Glastonbury has announced its had to cancel this year’s festival. Another devastating blow to the music industry caused by this insidious virus. Ongoing uncertainty around insurance is leaving other festivals and events in a precarious position for 2021.”

In December last year, Emily Eavis joined many across the UK’s live industry in appealing for a government-backed event cancellation fund – similar to schemes that have launched in Germany and Austria – to enable operators to plan for this summer’s festival season without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Eavis said the festival had struggled to get cancellation insurance from commercial underwriters to help cover losses if the 2021 edition were to be postponed or cancelled.

Prior to that, her father Michael, with whom she organises the festival, warned back in June that they would “seriously go bankrupt” if they were not able to hold the festival again.

Last year’s 50th-anniversary event was meant to be headlined by Sir Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar, but it was cancelled during the initial national lockdown in March 2020.

At the beginning of January, key stakeholders in the UK’s festival industry gave evidence at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee’s inquiry into safeguarding the future of the sector.

Witnesses including Parklife’s Sacha Lord, AIF’s Paul Reed and UK Music chief Jamie Njoku-Goodwin relayed the key demands of the sector, which include an indicative date for a full return to live; a government-backed coronavirus cancellation schemea three-year extension of the VAT reduction and an extension for business rates relief.

Following the inquiry, the DCMS Committee wrote to the chancellor of the exchequer to ask for a government-backed insurance scheme for concerts and festivals, or risk “a summer without festivals”.

Glastonbury is the second major European festival to cancel its 2021 edition after Switzerland’s Baloise Session this morning called off this year’s in-person event scheduled for the autumn. Beatrice Stirnimann, CEO of the Baloise Session, said “it’s impossible to plan with any certainty”.

This story is being regularly updated.


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The sky is not the limit: Pip Rush talks Arcadia ambitions

Arcadia Spectacular, the arts collective behind Glastonbury Festival’s famous Spider, has showcased its work right across the globe since launching in 2007, with the aim of facilitating a more inclusive and communal live music experience.

Following on from the debut of the Pangea stage at Glastonbury last year, IQ catches up with Arcadia co-founder and creative director Pip Rush Jansen to discover more about the inspiration behind the company’s latest project, the fate of the famous fire-breathing Spider and how the right kind of live experience can serve as the antidote to modern society’s smartphone obsession.


First things first, Arcadia Spectacular has been around for years now, but how did it all begin and how have you changed over the years?
The first thing we ever built was a DJ stage that people could dance on or giant fire pits people could gather around. We had to be resourceful and it was all made from recycled stuff we could find in scrap yards. That was how Arcadia was born really. We were young and inspired to make creative environments to party in.

Taking these installations around festivals, we started meeting more and more people around the fire, from engineers to mad scientists – all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds who were full of ideas for where it could go next. Over time it’s gathered momentum, the installations have grown and we’ve become a large touring operation with a lot of those same people still with us.

We’ve now got a non-profit arm called Arcadia Reach and we’re currently building a mobile water drilling rig for a charity that operates in remote villages in Sierra Leone. The truck also turns into a stage with an inbuilt sound-system so we can engage in the music and cultural scene there.

What we experienced on our research trip is the sheer, genuine joy there, where everyone including grandparents, kids and people who were previously fighting each other come together in celebration, and throwing a proper sound system into that is really exciting.

So we’re building a real global audience and we plan to develop better ways to use social media to harness, connect and share multicultural ideas and inspiration across the globe. It’s a long process and we’re still building the team, but we believe it’s a very positive mission and will influence our work going forward.

Our DNA is about thinking outside the box

Last year you debuted Pangea (a stage inspired by the prehistoric supercontinent and modelled around a 140 tonne crane) at Glastonbury Festival, can you tell me about how it came to be?
The amazing thing about Glastonbury is you can push boundaries and try new things. We recognised our DNA is about thinking outside the box so we didn’t want to just make a different creature that did the same as the last stage (the Spider). And we knew that to do that, we’d have to begin a new journey.

We’ve looked at scrap yards in Russia and India and places like that in the past, which have amazing bits of kit, but when it came down to it, the environmental impact was key. We should be recycling something local.

It’s harder to access UK scrap due to regulations, but eventually we found an enormous crane at our local docks in Avonmouth, on the outskirts of the city of Bristol. (Glastonbury founder) Michael Eavis wasn’t so sure when we showed him pictures, but when he came and saw the scale and potential of it he started to get excited.

It took 12 trucks to move that thing and we had to dig concrete foundations ten metres into the ground to hold it up. But we only had to move it a few miles down the road and it will remain stationary for a few years now. So in all it’s taken a huge amount of the environmental footprint out of what we’re doing at Glasto. We also run 50% of our flames of bio fuels and this year we are developing technology to make that 100%.

Fatboy Slim and Carl Cox played amazing sets and everyone loved it. We’re very lucky to have such a supportive fan base, and with tons of ideas flooding in from all directions, everyone’s inspired about the next phase.

What comes next?
The next thing is to really start taking over the sky. We flew a big moon built by Luke Jerram last year as an experiment and it was really beautiful, so we’re looking to develop the scope of that and collaborate with international artists who fly sculptures over people.

Very often, people can stand at the back of these huge stages and feel distant from what’s going on. If you can take over the space above people’s heads, you can really involve them. That’s the idea – to make an experience as inclusive, massive and yet personal as possible.

If you can take over the space above people’s heads, you can really involve them

What has become of the Spider?
The Spider is an artwork originally built for a limited number of UK events and it’s amazing that it’s gone on to do so much global touring. We’ve stood under it on dance floors with people from all around the world now and that feeling of unity and those peak moments resonate with all cultures.

It’s been amazing to see, and we learned from and got inspired by everyone we met. It’s back in Europe this summer for its first show in Norway, but we’re looking for somewhere to site it more long term, to increase the footfall and decrease the footprint.

We’ve had a few conversations with people in America and there is lots of interest in places like China and the Middle East, but we were also in talks with the Eden Project which is just down the road and right up our street.

You talk about making a fan’s experience as immersive as possible, why is there such a demand nowadays for these kinds of ultra-immersive experiences?
I think it’s got a lot to do with overconsumption of screens. People are used to constantly consuming visual content and having access to different kinds of experiences through virtual and augmented reality, and although it’s supposed to connect us all, I think if it gets overused then in reality it isolates us.

When people do get time out, they thrive off having an actual visceral experience, one that you can’t get through your iPhone. What people ultimately want to feel at a festival is human connection, friendship, laughter and creativity – and not only does that make us happier, but all these things are completely sustainable.

The purpose of the environments we create is to bring people together, that’s why we always do it in the round – people are literally facing one another. I believe that if people are having a really good time and dancing in the moment; that’s when the phones get forgotten anyway.

The purpose of the environments we create is to bring people together, that’s why we always do it in the round

The live events and experiential space is becoming ever more competitive, how do you continue to set yourselves apart from others?
When we started out, not many people were doing what we do and our mission was to inspire people. We’re not promoters and now Arcadia’s taken off we’re not looking start cutting corners to compete.

We’re an arts organisation and we focus on pushing boundaries. To do that we have to make sure that we’re always exploring new territories of our own and that’s why we’re moving outside our box at Glasto to lay a radical new foundation.

Our structures are evolving from 360 degree to hemispherical. Our inspiration is moving from local to global and our materials are moving from global to local.

There’s a whole bunch of other stuff emerging in response to the new challenges we’ve given ourselves, so in respect of starting a new journey, it’s really exciting times for us.

Looking to the future, it is obviously a big year as Glastonbury is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year – is there extra pressure to wow due to the big birthday?
There’s a little bit, but Glastonbury really is a hotbed for art and we feel it’s important to let artistic processes go on their own journey in their own time, so we’re not too worried.

If our team and the new people feeding into Arcadia come up with the most mind-blowing idea next year, we’ll do that. But if we need to test new things out a bit before we can make something really magic, then we’re not afraid to do that either.

Either way, there’s going to be a lot of amazing and new stuff at Glastonbury this year. It’s a festival that has really inspired people to take that time out and connect with each other again, and for me it’s no doubt the best one on the planet.


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What to expect from Glastonbury Festival 2019

Glastonbury Festival returns tomorrow (Wednesday 26 June) following a year’s hiatus. As hundreds of thousands of fans prepare to descend on Worthy Farm, here’s what to look out for this year.

In a slow year elsewhere for UK festivals, enthusiasm for this Glastonbury remains high. Standard tickets for the 2019 event sold out in 36 minutes, compared to 50 minutes in pre-fallow year 2017.

Stormzy will become the first UK grime act to head up the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage on the Friday night, followed by the Killers and the Cure on the following evenings. Kylie Minogue will play the Sunday afternoon Legends Slot.

Festival organisers recently revealed dancehall star Sean Paul as a late addition to head up the John Peel stage on Saturday.

Elsewhere, European Talent Exchange Programme (Etep) leaders and May’s Radar Station runnersup, Fontaines D.C., will show why they’re one of Europe’s fastest emerging acts on the William’s Green stage.

Other popular Etep acts performing at the festival include Black Midi, Flohio, Pip Blom and Octavian.

Performing arts collective Arcadia will bring a brand-new installation to this year’s festival, in the form of Pangea. The new arena, Arcadia’s “most ambitious yet”, will see performances from the likes of the Black Madonna, Four Tet and Carl Cox.

Standard tickets for the 2019 event sold out in 36 minutes, compared to 50 minutes in pre-fallow year 2017

The weather, a major talking point of any UK festival, is looking to turn around in time for Glastonbury. Some forecasters are predicting the hottest Glastonbury Festival on record, with London’s Met Office indicating temperatures could hit 35°C.

According to Met Office forecaster Grahame Madge, “it will start out overcast and there could be the potential for some showers but going forward it’s going to be much dryer than in recent days.

“There may be some heavy showers in the south west of England, though these are likely to be further west than Glastonbury.”

The Greenpeace-partnered festival is striving to up its eco-friendly policies this year, banning single-use plastic bottles and encouraging attendees to leave no waste behind. National food retailer the Co-op will sell sandwiches in 100% compostable packaging at its pop-up shop at the festival.

A proposed Glastonbury spin-off festival, the Variety Bazaar, appears to be on hold. Organisers had previously claimed that the event would take place instead of Glastonbury Festival in 2021, on a different site.


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Pangea: Arcadia reveals new Glastonbury arena

Performing arts collective Arcadia has announced details of its brand-new installation, Pangea, which makes its debut at this year’s Glastonbury Festival from 26 to 30 June.

Exclusive to the UK festival, Arcadia claims Pangea is its “most ambitious engineering project to date” featuring a 50 metre, 140 tonne mega crane at its core.

The idea for the installation takes its inspiration from the prehistoric supercontinent, “where every land on earth was one and the future was yet to be written”, and will evolve over the next five years.

Pangea will host joint sets from Carl Cox and Jamie Jones, Fatboy Slim and Eats Everything, Andy C and Tonn Piper, as well as a solo set from Four Tet.

Performances will also come from the Black Madonna, Sub Focus and ID, Bicep, Daniel Avery, Craig Charles and Horse Meat Disco, among others.

A repurposed 360 degree radome – used to protect radar equipment during the Cold War – will feature visual art from Astral Projekt and Heckler following their recent artificial intelligence (AI) installation at Burning Man. Arcadia’s iconic Bug will also be present around the Pangea landscape.

“It’s time for a new journey at Glastonbury and heading into the unknown is where we’ve found all our best ideas”

“It’s time for a new journey at Glastonbury and heading into the unknown is where we’ve found all our best ideas,” says Arcadia creative director Pip Rush. “[Glastonbury co-founder] Michael Eavis has supported many generations of creative minds, and in that spirit, we want to make sure we’re also stimulating new generations of ideas and welcoming others to collaborate with our team.

“The structure gives us infinite scope to take over the sky and the potential is very exciting,” adds Rush.

Technical director Bert Cole says Pangea “has been a serious mission!”

“The sheer scale of it [Pangea] has definitely been a challenge but breathing new life into this old industrial beast and evolving the concept around it has been amazing so far,” Cole continues.

“This is a total voyage of discovery for all of us and we won’t know exactly what direction it heads in next until there’s a crowd around it – that organic evolution through a feedback loop with thousands of people is one of the best feelings on earth and is what Arcadia is all about.”

Arcadia is best known for its 50-ton fire-breathing Spider, which was a fixture of Glastonbury Festival for a decade. The Spider is continuing its global adventures, with appearances at events across the world.


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‘I couldn’t pay Marc Bolan’: Michael Eavis on Glasto’s history

Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis spoke on the history and ethos behind the event, his charity work, increasing capacity and the backlash to booking Jay-Z in an entertaining, anecdote-packed keynote interview at the International Festival Forum (IFF) this morning.

Interviewed by CAA agent Emma Banks, Eavis – who wore his trademark shorts and sandals and spent the entire hour on his feet – recounted Glastonbury’s remarkable story, starting at the very beginning. As a young man, he said, “I went to sea to see the world. Unfortunately, my father died when I was 19, so I had to come back and manage the farm.”

After an epiphany at 1970’s Bath Festival – “I fell in love,” he explained. “They had Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, all these west coast [US] bands” – Eavis decided to use the newly inherited Worthy Farm for a festival of his own. “[Bath] was my road to Damascus,” he said. “The next day I was on the phone to bands.”

After a deal with the Kinks fell through, Eavis booked Tyrannosaurus Rex, whose frontman, Marc Bolan, headlined the first Glastonbury – then called Worthy Farm Pop Festival – on his way to a Butlins holiday camp. Bolan was paid £500, while 500 festivalgoers paid £1 each to attend – and were given free milk by dairy farmer Eavis. “I couldn’t pay the band,” Eavis continued. “Marc did a marvellous set, with the sun going down; it was wonderful. I told him, ‘I can’t pay you, but I’ll give you £100 per month for five months.’ He got paid, but he wasn’t happy about it.”

After a free festival in 1971 and a smaller, ad-hoc event in 1979, Glastonbury became an annual fixture in the 1980s, with Eavis organising the festival in partnership with the left-wing Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

Eavis said Glastonbury really came into own in 1985, when then-defence secretary Michael Heseltine – a vocal opponent of the CND – ordered Stonehenge off limits to the so-called New Age travellers, resulting in the ‘Battle of the Beanfield’ between travellers and Wiltshire police.

“If you’re well off enough to live like I do, that’s enough for me”

“We’d been going half-cocked until then, breaking even and not making any money,” explained Eavis. “[After Stonehenge was closed] we had 50,000 people came down to Glastonbury instead. All that Stonehenge stuff, the hippies, the creativity, they all came down my lovely farm. It was the middle of the [Margaret] Thatcher years, there was a lot of discontent, and people saw me as a decent bloke and came to work for me for free.”

Many of the class of ’85, he added, still work for Glastonbury Festival as part of its legion of programmers and crew.

Fast-forward to 2000, and the festival had been become “huge”, said Eavis –”We were getting more and more popular, for some reason; people came to us like lemmings from Europe, we had planes full of people from Japan…” – who was by then having trouble obtaining a licence for the event.

“That was the year all those people died as Roskilde [nine people were killed in a fatal crush during a Pearl Jam show], and the police came to me and said, ‘You’re not running it properly.’ So I had to go Melvin [Benn] and Vince Power at Mean Fiddler.”

This satisfied the police, said Eavis, that “we knew what we were doing, because he [Benn] knew what he was doing!” – although Eavis added that he taught the now-Festival Republic chief “everything he knows”. (Benn parted company with Glastonbury in 2012.)

Eavis attributes the staying power of Glastonbury to the team he has assembled; in addition to his own family, there are some 100,000 staff on site (joining the 150,000 ticketholders), working in capacities ranging from crew and production staff to the programmers, each of whom have a large degree of autonomy to run their own areas (Shangri-La, Arcadia, the Green Fields, etc.) as they see fit.

“We ended up selling our last ticket on the Thursday night before the festival”

“I’ve got all this trust in all these people, and that’s really what makes the show so successful, I think,” he commented.

One of Glastonbury’s most successful recent exports is Arcadia – it of giant metal spider fame. Recalling the project’s genesis, Eavis said: “They came to me and said they needed £20,000 to buy some cranes for sale from Southampton docks because they were going to build a spider. I gave them the £20k – I didn’t even know these two boys – but it’s been a huge success, and they’re currently in Korea with it.”

“People are full of ideas,” he continued, “and what’s more, they can put them together and make them work. It’s not hippie nonsense.”

Turning to booking, Banks asked about 2008, when Eavis was persuaded by his daughter, Emily, to book Jay-Z – a decision criticised by many at the time, not least Noel Gallagher, as supposedly being against the festival’s ethos.

“That year, we were in real trouble,” Eavis remembered. “We weren’t selling. I thought we might have to cancel, as we didn’t have a headliner, but Emily said, ‘Jay-Z will do it’. I said, ‘Who’s he?’

“I spoke to his agent in LA, and he said, ‘I don’t think it’s our kind of music, Michael. [Glastonbury is] a bunch of hippies living in the Welsh mountains.’ I said, ‘We’re miles from Wales! And we come from all over, mainly from cities: Newcastle, Birmingham, London…’

“It costs about £30m to build the show, with about £2m left over – and we give away £2m to various charities”

“Eventually I talked to him into it. I said, ‘It’s the best thing you’ll ever do.’ So he said, ‘OK – we’ll do your show.’

“Then it was announced. Noel said it was rubbish, and the hoo-ha went on for months. We needed to sell another 50,000 to break even – we’d only sold 80,000 tickets by that point – and I was frantic. I thought we were going to go bust.

“We ended up selling our last ticket on the Thursday night before the festival. It was huge in the end… and it made Jay-Z, didn’t it?”

Eavis said he didn’t see any contradiction between Glastonbury’s largely (until that point) focus on rock/pop and the booking of a major hip-hop star. “It’s what Glastonbury does,” he explained. “It’s bold, it was different… and that’s what Glastonbury’s all about. Doing something different.”

He added that Jay-Z’s performance opened the floodgates to a new generation of US stars who want to play the festival. “Beyoncé couldn’t wait to do it, all her friends wanted to do it. Then we had Kanye [West], which was a great show – although I have to admit, I was watching the Moody Blues at the time…”

Looking to the future, Eavis revealed the festival is “looking at increasing the numbers by about 30,000”, pushing Glastonbury’s capacity up to 280,000 (for fans and staff combined). “We started with 100 acres; we’re now up to 1,500 acres,” he explained.

“I’ve got all this trust in these people, and that’s really what makes the show so successful, I think:

“We’re looking at increasing that, but I don’t think we need to really. I’m not desperate to increase it. There’s value in it being smaller and harder to get to – it makes it a bit more exclusive…”

While an extra 30,000 tickets – each guaranteed to sell – would be a dream come true for most festival promoters, Eavis, as Banks noted, gives the vast majority of its profits away to charity. “It costs about £30m to build the show, with about £2m left over,” said Eavis, “and we give away £2m to various charities.

“If you’re well off enough to live like I do, with a wonderful farm, a wonderful family, that’s enough for me.”

Glastonbury will in 2018 take its regular year off, or ‘fallow year’, to give the land a chance to recover, and Eavis said he will spend the year largely focusing on a new social housing development in Pilton, where he is funding 50 homes for “working-class people” in Glastonbury Festival’s home village. “They’ll always be available for rent,” he said. “They’ll never be sold.”

Agreeing with Banks it probably has roots in his Methodist faith, Eavis said his priorities have always been “on all that John Wesley stuff: to do all you can for society and give it away.

“If I can make my show work, and people have faith in me, that’s money in the bank… that’s worth a lot.”


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Michael Eavis announced as IFF 2017 keynote

Following in the footsteps of Isle of Wight Festival’s John Giddings and Rock am Ring’s Marek and Andre Lieberberg, Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis CBE has been confirmed for the keynote interview for the third International Festival Forum (IFF).

Nominated by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, the English dairy farmer has since 1971 built Glastonbury into one of the largest and most respected festivals globally. According to IFF co-founder Greg Parmley, Eavis will regale the conference’s 600 delegates with “some of the most difficult challenges and life-changing highlights he’s experienced” running the festival.

IFF, ILMC’s invitation-only event for festivals and bookers, will return for the third time this September. Agency partners on IFF 2017 – most of which will showcase a selection of their best future festival headliners – include CAA, Coda, WME Entertainment, Primary Talent, X-ray Touring, United Talent Agency, ITB, ATC Live and Pitch & Smith, while festival associations lending their support include Yourope, De Concert! and the International Jazz Festivals Organisation (IJFO).

As in previous years, IFF 2017 takes place across two London venues: Proud Camden and next door’s Dingwalls. The morning conference features unique panels and workshops (highlights last year included Festival 2020: The Long View, which dealt largely with festival security and the threat of terror, and the aforementioned keynote with the Lieberbergs), while the afternoon and evening is dedicated to agency showcases and networking.

The IFF 2017 keynote takes place at 11.30am on Thursday 28 September at Proud Camden. Full 2017 event information and tickets are available from


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Glastonbury festival founder confirms move

An as yet unnamed site in the Midlands will become Glastonbury Festival’s home for the first time in 2019, organiser Michael Eavis has revealed.

The land, about 100 miles from Glasto’s home at Worthy Farm in Somerset, will be used every five years or so, when Eavis gives both the land, and its local residents, a rest from the annual disruption.

Eavis and his team have been exploring options for some time and had even spoken to the owners of the Longleat Estate, about 15 miles from Glastonbury, about using some of their land. But now it seems that a solution has been found further north.

“I am arranging for one year off, say every fifth year or so, to try and move the show to a site that’s more suitable.”

Eavis has reassured people that he wants the festival to remain in its spiritual home, quashing rumours that it could move elsewhere permanently. Speaking to the BBC, he said, “I am arranging for one year off, say every fifth year or so, to try and move the show to a site that’s more suitable, I have to say. But it would be a huge loss to Somerset if it went there forever, would it not?”

However, the fallow year move may see a rebranding of the giant event, because Eavis’s daughter, Emily, has suggested that any festival held away from Worthy Farm would not be allowed to use the Glastonbury name.

Eavis plots Longleat move in 2019

Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis has confirmed he is in talks with Longleat about staging an event in the grounds of the stately home in 2019.

Eavis’s daughter and co-promoter, Emily, revealed in the first week of May that the festival is planning a separate event by “the whole team behind the Glastonbury Festival” but that it is “not going to be called Glastonbury. She said the spin-off festival will be a “visual feast” with “larger-scale installations, as well as music”.

In an interview with ITV News, Eavis Snr called Longleat, in Wiltshire (pictured), “the best site in the whole of England” and said he is “talking to Longleat every day, so I hope we can come to an agreement with them eventually. But we haven’t done so yet.”

The estate’s owner, Lord Bath, is apparently supportive of the move.