IN CONVERSATION WITH GLASTONBURY’S MICHAEL EAVIS

STUDENT EXPERIENCE

Loved by millions and held in high regard by countless musicians, Michael Eavis will forever be remembered for bringing love, happiness, and music to so many.

Glastonbury Festival’s founding father recently spoke at a very special BIMM Manchester Masterclass, ahead of this year’s event. Here’s what happened…

Walking out to The Kinks’ hit single ‘Lola’, Michael Eavis received a hero’s welcome before sitting down with Damian Morgan, BIMM Manchester’s Head of Careers & Industry.

The song – which he sings to his cows each morning – actually has a special connection to Michael. When The Kinks were No.1 with ‘Lola’, they had been booked to play the then ‘mini festival’ but pulled out. Luckily he managed to rake in Marc Bolan of T.Rex, only for his velvet car to not fit down the narrow road leading to the festival. He paid the band the princely sum of £500 to perform.

“It was £1 entry, and there was free milk,” he said, referring to the first-ever Glastonbury – much to the amazement of our students. Held on September 19th, 1970, the Pilton festival attracted 1500 people – a stark contrast to the 200,000 or so people who attended this year.

“Not many people turned up, so I made a loss and had to sort a payment plan for the band – the cows pretty much paid for T.Rex. But that was the only festival I ever made a loss on. Now there are 3 million people across the world pre-registered,” he told the audience.

It’s just one of many entertaining anecdotes from a man who has spent a significant proportion of his life overseeing one of the world’s biggest and best loved festivals. Stories aside, Michael also filled the audience in on the running of the festival and the sense of community it brings.

He spoke of how he has since taken more of a backseat, and how he has now left much of the operation to his daughter, Emily and 12 bookers. “It took years to choose those people, but I trust them, and they are good at what they do,” he remarked.

The masterclass was a fantastic opportunity to hear Michael first-hand about the festival, from its early beginnings and popularity among hippies, to the Britpop days – including the 1995 line-up, which saw Oasis, Coldplay and Radiohead all headlining.

On his daughter, Emily’s decision to include Jay-Z on the line-up – and the controversy it brought – Michael spoke of Jay-Z being a great thing for the festival, regarding diversity. “Beyoncé loved it, so she came the year after Jay Z,” he quipped.

Of course, the question on most of our students’ minds concerned Michael’s favourite lineup. “I would say maybe John Martyn in 79 was the best moment for me, personally,” he sided, after much deliberation.

Michael later offered some advice to BIMM’s many bands and musicians about getting picked to play the festival through the Glastonbury’s annual competition. The masterclass ended as it started, with a deafening round of applause from our inspired audience.

“It was nice to hear about the sense of community that Michael experiences himself; I have been to Glastonbury with my family for years and feel that strong sense of community that he reflected on,” said Ewan Kelly Shore (BA2 Guitar).

“What a fantastic masterclass. He was so lovely – and it was so interesting to hear about his journey from the beginning,” added his fellow BIMM student Sam Broadbent (BA2 Music Business).

Highly entertaining and full of laughs, Michael’s masterclass was a welcomed treat for all of our BIMM Manchester students, some of whom were lucky enough to bag tickets or work experience as part of our Glastonbury BIMM Showcase – you can read about it all here!

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