Interview With Emily Eavis On Lead Up To Glastonbury Festival
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.
Festival Organiser Emily Eavis
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
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?
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?
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.
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
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
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
For more information about Glastonbury Festival visit the official website
Follow Emily on Twitter: @emilyeavis
Follow us on Twitter: @glastonburynews
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!