Interview With Emily Eavis On Lead Up To Glastonbury Festival

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By stonesthrow | Sunday, April 18, 2010, 13:17

Now I don't know about you but as a local, I love the build up to Glastonbury Festival. From the moment the line-up is announced to watching the fence go up and road signs installed, to the buses populated by backpackers and the convoy of revellers winding their way to Worthy Farm.

It seems almost incidental that this is a national, and indeed international event happening on our doorstep, but instead is more about the local community pulling together in vast ways to provide the organisation and essence of the festival in many creative and practical capacities. From locals schools providing steward teams and artists creating sculptures, banners and countless other creative pieces to adorn the site, this is very much about local involvement to make the festival a safe and beautiful place to be.

The name Emily Eavis has become as synonymous with Glastonbury Festival as her father Michael's. Now one of the main organisers, Emily introduced The Park area in 2007, is responsible for booking the main acts and also recently helped judge the Emerging Talent Competition held at Pilton Working Men's Club (winners Ellen and the Escapades are appearing on the Avalon Stage on Sunday 27th June).

And despite a hectic schedule with many other daily responsibilities, Emily found time to talk to Glastonbury People about working to bring together the greatest music festival of all time.......

GP: The festival provides huge benefits to countless

local schools and charities from working the festival and therefore

fundraising. Why is it important to support these groups in this way?

EE: To me and my dad these projects are the integral

part of the whole picture and my dad has always said when he was awake with

stress through the night in the 80s he thought it was all worthwhile because of

the charities and projects that were benefiting from the festival, I think he

thought why else are we doing it. He and my mum both believed this and the

social housing project, for example was their joint idea and both excited them

hugely.

GP: There was something of a set-back a couple of years ago

when ticket sales dragged and free local’s weekend tickets were replaced with

Sunday tickets. Now that ticket sales have resumed to almost instant sell-out

status, do you think the free weekend tickets will ever be re-introduced?

EE: We offer everyone in the village free tickets, or

cash if they don’t want to come, so that still exists. I don’t think it’s going

to change again I’m afraid!

GP: Glastonbury town becomes deserted

during the festival week and you must see a huge amount of familiar local

characters show up on the farm who have been going since the early days. This

must seem like a reunion of an enormous extended family every year?

EE: Yes completely, there are hundreds of familiar

faces that start arriving from now and you don’t see the rest of the year. A

lot of people travel throughout the year and come back in spring, slowly

increasing until June.

GP: Do you ever yearn for the days when the festival was

younger and much edgier and chaotic, or are you happy with the way it has

matured? What plans do you have for The Park and are you bringing

anything new to the area?

EE:

I think the festival is in a really great place at the moment, and I wouldn’t

change that for anything. The Park is a lovely area and we try and represent

music that isn’t on elsewhere. This year could be The Parks best musical line

up to date!

GP: You contemplated a career as a teacher before becoming

involved in the organisation of the festival. Are there times now when you wish

you had walked away from the family business and do you think you will one day

pursue a different path?

EE:

I did love teaching, but this was the most natural path for me to take. My

parents had put so much energy into it over my whole life and beyond, that I

thought it should be continued and it feels very right at the moment. I don’t

look at it as a ten year plan or anything, just treat every year with as much

energy as I can, not thinking too much about the future.

GP: You have what seems like a very glamorous job in booking

the main acts! Do you have to deal with unreasonable demands from performers?

EE: It’s not as glamorous as people think! Dealing with agents, there’s a lot

of hustle, hot air and bartering! You don’t deal directly with the bands,

though sometimes that happens. I think one of my dad’s big regrets is not

getting George Harrison; that would have been pretty special.  Most

artists are very reasonable, good people and have the right attitudes.

 GP:

On your Twitter profile, you seem to respond regularly to requests from bands

and young musicians hoping you can help them with their careers and / or book

them for the festival. Do you find yourself overwhelmed with demos and requests

and if so, how do you manage that side of the job?

EE: I try to get back to everyone, but I struggle to keep on top of all the

requests I get. I’m not on email all the time, as there’s a lot going on

outside!

 GP:

When you get time to relax and get out and about in Glastonbury

town, do you ever get out and go to see bands that play locally?

EE: I love Glastonbury

town, and also work from the Northload

Street office from time

to time. I often go to the Bridgewater Reggae Soundsystem nights at the

Riflemans or have lunch at the Mocha Berry and The Blue Note.

GP: 

Finally, what can we expect from this year’s festival?

EE: I can promise it will be a very special year, with a lot of

surprises…..

For more information about Glastonbury Festival visit the official website

Follow Emily on Twitter: @emilyeavis

Follow us on Twitter: @glastonburynews

Photo

courtesy of Emily Eavis

Got your tickets? Seen the line-up and can barely contain your excitement? Tell us if you're going and share your festival experiences!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

Comments

       
  • Profile image for Skootaman

    This year I am proudly stewarding for the second year, having been going to festival for around 30 years (I was VERY young...OK?! ;-)  ).  Im starting to get revved up about this years festival now but I have (regrettebly) started to reach a point where I don't get the long-term excitement like I used to when I started going, but much like we accept the same shift in emotions and 'what we get' from Xmas as adults (which is what I pretend to be), I now have a very different festival experience. 

    For anyone who doesn't know, what happens is that for the hours that me and the people I put in, the Festival pays a local charity (in my case, the Gems Scrap Store which is based in Glastonbury).  As a single parent I have seen (and reaped) the benefits of the Festival's input into this local initiative, along with many others.  My nephew, for example, is at a local school where new play equipment has been funded by the PTA's stewarding activities!

    Around this time, a really small minority forget the disruption that other (much smaller events) like Carnival and the Bath and West Show cause, and try to pour festival related negativity onto the pages of the local press.  This used to really annoy me, but Im glad to say that in recent times (possibly as the festival's positive impact has become more visible?) there has been no shortage of people (including editorial staff) who are willing to shoot them down in flames!  Saves me a job I spose?! :)

    Great interview - personally, I cant wait to see Vampire Weekend again, and Ive always meant to see Corinne Bailey Rae....and STEVIE WONDER??!  Im now officially excited!

    By Skootaman at 11:53 on 26/04/10

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  • Profile image for taramasalata

    I can't wait - the line-up is BRILLIANT this year, want to see Florence, Groove Armada, Reef, Fat Boy, Muse, Shakira, Laura Marling, Adrian Admonson and the Bad Shepherds (hilarious) and Faithless. Woohoooo!!!

    And the food....I will be stuffing my face (again) - but someone PLEASE tell me what the hell has happened to the best foodie place, The Garlic Kitchen!!!

    By taramasalata at 09:36 on 25/04/10

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  • Profile image for jelliebean

    I love Emily, she's so approachable and down to earth, bit like her dad. My parents have known the eavises for years and they are just a normal farming family, you wouldn't think they put on the maddest festival in the world if you didn't know them!

    Can't wait for it to come around again, got my ticket and can't wait, missed last year

    By jelliebean at 07:25 on 23/04/10

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  • Profile image for chronical

    And I thought it was called, 'Worry Farm'.  Silly I.

    By chronical at 20:01 on 19/04/10

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