Emily Eavis chats exclusively to eFestivals

Glastonbury Festival organiser interview

By Scott Williams | Published: Tue 23rd Oct 2012

Emily Eavis

Wednesday 26th to Sunday 30th June 2013
Worthy Farm, Pilton, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 4AZ, England MAP
£205 (secured with a £50 deposit) - SOLD OUT
Daily capacity: 177,500
Last updated: Mon 24th Jun 2013

Emily Eavis, the daughter of farmer and Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis is now co-organiser of the annual event alongside her father.

Emily Eavis
Since 2000 Micheal's youngest daughter has taken an increasing role in the organisation of the Festival, whilst doing work with the event's supported charities Oxfam, and WaterAid. In 2007 Emily was given charge of her own stage called The Park. In 2009 Emily married music manager Nick Dewey and in June last year she gave birth to their first child, named George. Since the 2010 festival both Emily and Nick have had a role in booking acts for the festival's main Pyramid Stage.

I get the opportunity to have a quick chat with Emily about how plans for next year are progressing.

Will next year be little George's first experience of Glastonbury Festival?
No, he was born before the festival, so this will be his second Glastonbury. He saw the whole thing last time.

Now he's a toddler will you both be in the kidz field all weekend?
We will definitely be making the most of the kidz field. I've always loved the kidz field so it's great now to have a good excuse to actually hang out there. It's such a great area, it's like a magical kids' paradise.

The Park has been your, and your husband Nick's part of the festival, since it arrived in 2007, do you think it has achieved what you wanted it to?
Yes, absolutely, it's been all we hoped it would be. It's a lovely area, and it's not too all singing and dancing, it's quite laid back. With the position of it on the hill you can oversee the whole site and there's lots of green space. It's everything we had hoped it would be, definitely.

Has it provided you with a good grounding in taking more of the reins of the bigger Festival?
I've certainly learned a lot with The Park, and it's certainly a lot easier to manage than some of the other parts of the Festival, because it's only a little field and we've got a really tight knit group of people who work on it, and everyone is really passionate about it.

You've mentioned that next year you plan to re-design the site, and move some areas around, can you let us know more about that?
Yes, some things are going on at the moment. It's too early to say at the moment specifically what's happening, but there are some changes going on. More because the late night stuff becomes very crowded and I don't think the one way system really works. But, we are in the middle of that at the moment, so it's a bit too early to say.

When do you think you will be saying what's happening?
Probably early next year. That's probably when the first announcements will go out, and the actual details of what's going to be happening. At the moment it's just at the idea stage, and we're meeting everyone and hearing all about the contracts, and plans, and ideas. I think because of the year off, there's lots of people who are really, really fired up about it, and there's so many brilliant ideas going around at the moment. I think, from here until springtime, often you look back and think "gosh it's totally changed from what we thought it would be." You can't guarantee that all the things we are talking about at the moment will happen. But, it's certainly looking really good and there's lots of changes, and lots of exciting and different ideas, a lot of new additions, and definitely improvements on the flow of some of those areas, and trying to make it as decongested as possible.

You mentioned new additions, does that mean whole new areas?
Not a whole new area as such, more new additions within areas. Like for instance with the Dance Area. I think that's going to have a whole new idea behind it. We're in the middle of all that at the moment. But, it's all good, and we're definitely in a good place and everyone is really fired up about it.

You must be delighted that so many people want to come and experience it with tickets selling out so quickly.
Yes, we're really delighted. You couldn't really ask for it to sell out much quicker, but the problem is always the people who don't get tickets because there's always some, and you feel terrible about it. It's one of those things that there's so much demand this year, and it's really impossible to have everybody there. The idea was to make it as fast as possible, so that people waste less time trying to get tickets. Obviously there's some problems within that, with the booking page. But, for most people it went quickly, and most of the messages we get about it are positive messages. Even if people didn't get them, they are grateful that they didn't have to wait all day. 10 years ago they would have had to wait all day, not even 10 years ago, a couple of years ago it was still four hours.

You mentioned that there are plans to look at the late night areas, will you still have late night areas in The Park?
It has got quite busy now. I think particularly last year with people not being able to get into the South East corner. I think The Park is a great late night area, and there are venues, but it's obviously nowhere near the same late night capacity as that area. The Rabbit Hole is a massively popular venue that brings people in. Then, there's the Silent Disco, The Bimble Inn and a few other things.

The ticket price has increased by about the same amount as if you were buying tickets for a headlining act, which makes it very good value for money. But, with the costs of running Glastonbury Festival rising each year does this mean there's less money being made for good causes?
We aim to give the same, which is between £1.5 and £2 million every year for charity, and including the same costs we are aiming to do the same, even with the costs going up. We're in the same situation as everyone else, we are trying to get as much good entertainment as we possibly can afford and we're doing our best to make it as good a show as possible.

You're not quite in the same situation as everyone else, as you build in that figure for charity, I don't think any other Festivals have that intention, and make that pledge from the outset.
That's true, there is that. Are there not other events that do that? I'm not sure to be honest, that make a charity donation. It's really important to us, and it's integral to the whole festival, to be honest. It's a big motivating factor for us, and for everyone who works here, and we try to get everyone applying that.

The Lock Gate constructed Campo Pequeno, what's it used for now?
It's just been packed down, it will be back up again.

Oh I see, I thought it was a permanent structures used by the cows, or something. Is there plans for the Glastonbury emerging bands competition to run again next year?
That's going to be announced, probably in November, but we're all set to go with that again. I think with emerging talent it's a really good way to give all those new bands an opportunity.

You've said that there won't be any big name surprises at The Park next year, will you still have surprise guest slots?
There will be surprises, but I think a surprise should be a surprise, and then when it's revealed and it's a spoilt surprise then it turns into a massive gig. It was an amazing show but I think in terms of surprises it's better to keep them under the radar, and if it's a special guest, then it's nothing something that you schedule in, so people start speculating, because suddenly there's a level of hysteria that's hard to control. It was quite dangerous, there were stampedes.

The Olympics referenced Glastonbury, with the opening and closing ceremonies, what did you think of the tribute?
It was amazing, and it was amazing to see. I think all the pieces have been sold through a public auction.

As a Deadhead, we've never had the Grateful Dead at Somerset, what are the chances of having Dark Star Orchestra (the tribute act) with their full show?
The Grateful Dead were obviously the band that Michael never got and which he always wanted, but we haven't had any conversations about acts, we're kind of focused on headliners at the moment.

Are they all signed up yet?
We're in the middle of it now, it's all coming together nicely. I can't give any responses to names because I don't want to give anything away. But, also if I say anything, it's seen as a clue. So please, don't bother.

My last question is, as you have a large dairy herd, where do you stand on the badger cull?
We haven't really had an open stance on this. I feel that it's not been a problem for us personally. I can only say that. I don't know the ins and outs and we have stayed out of the debate. Just because I think that unless you are actually affected by it then it's hard to judge. I think North Somerset is really affected by it, around Burnham.

Glastonbury Festival takes place from Wednesday 26th June until Monday 1st July 2013 across over a 1,000 acres of beautiful countryside at Worthy Farm, Somerset and, as ever, includes a free programme. Once again, the Festival will be raising funds for Oxfam, Wateraid, Greenpeace and a host of local charities and causes (in 2011, more than £2m was raised).

Tickets for Glastonbury Festival 2013 have sold out. The resale of cancelled/refunded tickets is expected in Spring next year.

Anyone aged 13 or over (when the Festival starts) who wishes to buy a ticket must be registered. Registration involves providing contact details, a valid e-mail address, and a passport standard photo.

Online registration can be carried out by clicking here.

For more detailed registration and ticket information click here.

As well as standard Festival tickets (priced at £205 + £5 booking fee), there will be a number of Combined Coach and Festival Tickets on sale. These tickets include either single or return coach tickets from a range of locations around the UK.

interview by: Scott Williams

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