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FEATURE: Michael Eavis talks Glastonbury Festival
12:00pm Tuesday 22nd April 2014 in News
ELBOW – songful sonnet kings – Kasabian – the ‘Madchester’ men – Jack White (Stripe), Kelis, Blondie, Paolo Nutini, The 1975, Wilko Johnson, Bryan Ferry, Arcade Fire, Jake Bugg, Massive Attack… They have all been confirmed as key music-making ingredients in Glastonbury Festival’s 2014 line-up.
But Michael Eavis, dairy farmer and the festival’s 78- year-old impresario, is not resting on his laurels.
“Well, we always worry about it, you know,” he said. “People bought their tickets in good faith on October 4 – 150,000 people have already forked out their money you see – and it’s a huge responsibility to make sure that they’re happy with the programme we have prepared for them.
“I have about a dozen people working on the programme all the time and all year round to get the very best in their particular area. I think they’ve all done very well in the end.”
Daughter Emily is in that fold with her husband Nick. “It’s why she married him, because he’s so good at music,” Michael twinkled.
The Rolling Stones took up the festival’s ‘legend’ mantle in 2013. This year, Dolly Parton has that crown – the unrivalled country queen’s heart won by Glastonbury after years of long, hard wrangling.
“We have been trying her people for years,” Michael said.
“She said – they said, on her behalf – that she didn’t like playing to big crowds. But she was persuaded in the end after seeing the Rolling Stones play – and with the status of U2, Coldplay. She couldn’t resist.”
Festival watchers are still awaiting the announcement of Saturday night’s headliner – considered the zenith of the weekend.
“We are still hesitating about the second night headliner at the moment,” Michael added.
“Two or three bands are capable of it. We are trying to get confirmation of the band of our choice.”
What will the festival founder be watching in the event’s 44th year?
“For me, well, I have rather a weird music taste. I’ll be somewhere in the back of the Field of Avalon, with the acoustic stage,” Michael said.
“Robert Plant [Led Zeppelin frontman] will be good for me, because I’m that sort of generation – the Zeppelin generation.
“But Dolly’s going to have a huge following. There are local people, 6,000 of them, who will be in the right place for her on Sunday evening.
“It’s a huge thrill for me to have her play, and for them to come on the Sunday, because those people will know who she is, for one, and appreciate her being here.”
It is less than 80 days until the 900-acre farm opens its gates to ticket holders – and the pace of preparations is entering the hot spin.
For the future, Mendip District Council has renewed the festival’s licence for ten more years and no one put up a fight.
As for his legacy, Michael is rooted in the present. He said: “I’ve had so much fun, really.
It’s 44 years. People so appreciate what we have done here, from Somerset to Nashville.
“We work at it all the year through and put our hearts and minds into it. It’s wonderful.”
n GLASTONBURY Festival 2014 runs from Wednesday, June 25, to Sunday, June 29. For ticket resale information, visit www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk
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