Michael Eavis

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Michael Eavis
Eavis in 2005
Born Athelstan Joseph Michael Eavis
(1935-10-17) 17 October 1935 (age 81)
Pilton, Somerset, UK
Occupation Farmer, businessman

Michael Eavis CBE[1] (born Athelstan Joseph Michael Eavis; 17 October 1935) is an English dairy farmer and the founder of the Glastonbury Festival, which takes place at his farm in Pilton, Somerset.

Personal life[edit]

Eavis was born in Pilton, Somerset[2] and grew up at Worthy Farm in the village. His father was a local Methodist preacher, and his mother a school teacher. Eavis was educated at Wells Cathedral School, followed by the Thames Nautical Training College after which he joined the Union-Castle Line, part of the British Merchant Navy, as a trainee Midshipman. His plan was to spend twenty years at sea, and return with a pension to help subsidise the income from the family farm. After his father died in 1954,[3] Eavis inherited the family farm of 150 acres (61 ha) and 60 cows.[4] He worked at Mendip Colliery at Nettlebridge or New Rock colliery at Stratton-on-the-Fosse on the Somerset Coalfield for a couple of years to help supplement the income from the farm.[5][6]

Eavis and his first wife Ruth had three children, (Juliet, Rebecca and Jane) but divorced in 1964.[7] He next married Jean Hayball, with whom he had a son Patrick and a daughter Emily. Jean died of cancer in 1999, and Eavis has since married his third wife, Liz. In common with his parents and second wife, Eavis remains a practising Methodist.

Glastonbury Festival[edit]

Main article: Glastonbury Festival

In 1969, Eavis and his second wife Jean visited the Bath Festival of Blues. Inspired by seeing the performance of Led Zeppelin, Eavis hosted the Pilton Pop Folk & Blues Festival in 1970. The following year a free festival, Glastonbury Fair was organised by Andrew Kerr and associates, which later developed into the Glastonbury Festival.

In 2010, the festival's 40th year, he appeared on the main stage at the Festival, with headline artist Stevie Wonder, to sing the chorus of the latter's "Happy Birthday".

At the Glastonbury Festival 2016, at the age of 80, he accompanied Coldplay on stage in a rendition of "My Way".

Political activity[edit]

After recovering from stomach cancer, Eavis stood as a candidate for the Labour Party in the 1997 General Election in Wells, polling 10,204 votes.[8] In 2004, however, he suggested that disillusioned Labour voters should switch their vote to the Green Party in protest at the Iraq War, though he returned to supporting the Labour Party in 2010.

In 2005, Eavis was quoted in The Guardian as being a supporter of hunting. "I don't hunt myself, but I support the people who want to hunt. With all that's going on in the world, it was outrageous to ban it."[9] In 2006, he was appointed as President of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and Industry.[10]

In 2011, Eavis was quoted as lamenting the decline in political activity associated with the Glastonbury Festival.[11]

Eavis was guest editor of the Western Daily Press newspaper on Glastonbury's 'fallow' weekend, 23 June 2012.[12]

Charitable work[edit]

He has apportioned profits from his Glastonbury Festival to support charitable causes, including local projects such as the restoration of the Tithe Barn, Pilton.[13][14] In November 2008, during an appearance on the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs, Eavis stated that the Festival could never lose its licence due to the contribution it makes to the local economy.[15]

In 2009, Eavis starred in a short film to promote Somerset, commissioned by Inward Investment Agency Into Somerset.[16]

Honours and tributes[edit]

Eavis holds Honorary Degrees from the University of Bath (Doctor of Arts honoris causa, 2004)[17] and the University of Bristol (Master of Arts honoris causa, 2006).[18] Eavis was awarded the CBE in the Queen's 2007 Birthday Honours list.[1][19]

In 2009, Eavis was nominated by Time magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world.[20] In 2012, Eavis was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree from the University for the Creative Arts.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "To be Ordinary Commanders of the Civil Division of the said Most Excellent Order". London Gazette (Supplement No. 1). 16 June 2007. p. 7. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  2. ^ http://www.bandcstaffregister.co.uk/page3334.html
  3. ^ "How Ray Charles and Van Morrison helped Glastonbury's Michael Eavis beat bowel cancer". 
  4. ^ Smith, David (2005-06-19). "Far-out man". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  5. ^ Benson, Richard (22 June 2014). "'Why haven't you booked me for the Pyramid stage?': Michael Eavis answers famous festivalgoers' questions". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Norbury, Suzanne (6 September 2016). "Glastonbury Festival's Michael Eavis joins former coal miners in Radstock". Somerset Live. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  7. ^ Smith, David (2005-06-19). "Far-out man". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  8. ^ "Wells Constituency". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  9. ^ Campbell, Duncan (30 April 2005). "Hunt is on for poll scalps but rural vote has other concerns". The Guardian. 
  10. ^ "Business News — Eavis for President". Mendip Times. 2 (7): 8. December 2006. 
  11. ^ Davis, Rowenna (18 June 2011). "Glastonbury's radical roots will return, says Michael Eavis". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  12. ^ "Michael Eavis: Glastonbury Festival's year off is about rest, regeneration and action". This is Somerset. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Michael Eavis talks". BBC Somerset. BBC. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  14. ^ "12th Century Tithe Barn Restored with the Help of the Festival". Glastonbury Festival. 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  15. ^ "Glastonbury licence 'is assured'". BBC News. 30 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-30. 
  16. ^ "Into Somerset Launches New Online Celebrity Film". Into Somerset. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "Michael Eavis - Honorary Graduates - December 2004". University of Bath. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "Bristol University | Public and Ceremonial Events Office | Honorary degrees". Bristol.ac.uk. 2014-06-05. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  19. ^ "Rushdie and Eavis lead honours". BBC News. 15 June 2007. 
  20. ^ "Time magazine Eavis Listing". Time magazine. 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  21. ^ "UCA - News". 

External links[edit]