Monday, June 22, 2009

Glastonbury 2009: Eavis looks to the future

It's one of the traditions of Glastonbury that, as we get nearer and nearer to the event, Michael Eavis pops up with a "I won't be around forever" comment. This year, he's even brought forward the date of his swansong: he's going to step aside in favour of Emily after the 2011 festival.

In his chat with his sponsors at The Guardian, he puts some background on last year's Jay-Z headlining. As often happens with Eavis, the story he was selling at the time turns out to not be the same as the one you get after a period of reflection.

So it was less about bringing in a new audience to the festival, not really anything to do with trying to attract teenagers and shift the median age back down. Oh no:

Eavis said he only agreed to his daughter's pleas to bring Jay-Z to the farm because his preferred act – Radiohead – fell through. "It was either that or cancel the show," he said. "I knew she had sensible ideas so I had to go with that. It was the last throw of the dice for me. We either throw the dice or abandon the festival."

It fell to Eavis to call that rapper's agent. "I had to ask how you pronounce it. 'Is it Jaze? Is it Jacy?'"

Eavis' easy ability to spin a line to the press has been a huge help in managing to take Glastonbury from a music festival to whatever it is now, without losing too much of the goodwill (or, at least, harming the mystique). He will be missed, and it's likely that without him, Glastonbury will start to look more and more like what it actually is. He really will be missed.

Also: with talk of 2010 and 2011, are we to assume that the 'fallow' year - when there is no festival - has been abandoned?


Jim W said...

What about the uncomfortable truth that most kidz under 25 wouldn't be seen dead at 'Glasto'?

Reading & Leeds has taken its place in the youth mind as the place to get off your face and pucker up to some young lady.

Mat said...


I love Mr Eavis's summary of Oasis's career. But Radiohead didn't play in 2008 because he got mixed up with the dates?! It's the last weekend in June every year! Even I know that!

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