Glastonbury Festival Nearly Faced Shutdown in the 90s, Reveals Organizer

by Patria
Glastonbury Festival

Emily Eavis, co-organizer of the renowned Glastonbury Festival alongside her father, Sir Michael Eavis, has disclosed that the festival was on the brink of closure several times during the 1990s.

In a candid interview on the BBC’s ‘Sidetracked’ podcast, Emily shared that her father, who founded the event on his Somerset farm in 1970, was often ready to call it quits. “My parents were always like, ‘This is the last one,’” she said. “Everyone thought it was some sort of stunt to sell tickets, but it wasn’t. They were genuinely like, ‘Well, we probably won’t do another.'”

The turning point came with the passing of Emily’s mother, Jean, in 1999. Reflecting on that period, Emily noted, “My dad was like, ‘Oh, I think I might need the festival now.’ They had planned to retire and enjoy long cruises, but he decided to keep the festival going. I agreed to help, not imagining I’d still be involved decades later.”

The festival, known for its massive scale and cultural impact, will observe a fallow year in 2026. Emily explained, “The fallow year is important because it gives the land a rest, allows the cows to reclaim their space, and ensures we’re not seen as cashing in.”

This year’s festival marks a significant milestone with Dua Lipa and SZA headlining, making it the first time two female stars have led the event. They will be joined by Coldplay, with Shania Twain set to perform in the coveted Sunday afternoon legends slot.

Emily has been vocal about addressing the gender imbalance in the festival lineup. Following criticism in 2023 over headliners Guns N’ Roses, Arctic Monkeys, and Sir Elton John, while Lizzo performed before Axl Rose and his band, she promised to make changes. “I think everyone knows that we’re trying harder than most to address gender balance,” she told Glamour magazine. “I’m passionate about this issue and have been advocating for gender equality at festivals for a long time. We can only do so much, but I strive to make the festival as fair, equal, and brilliant as possible.”

Glastonbury 2024 will take place from June 26 to June 30 at Worthy Farm, continuing its legacy as one of the world’s premier music festivals.

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