Ever since Michael Eavis brought in his youngest child, Emily, to help him organise the festival back in 2000, Glastonbury has been a family affair.
And this year the father-and-daughter team increased the event’s cross-generational appeal further by pulling off one of their greatest coups – persuading septuagenarian dad-rock favourites the Rolling Stones to headline the Pyramid Stage tonight.
Walking the site, it wasn’t difficult to find bright young things who were planning to spend the weekend partying with their parents.
“I’m definitely going to the Stones with dad – and we’re taking all the kids,” says Stevie Robinson, 25, from Brighton. She attended the 1987 festival while still in the womb and has been coming on and off ever since. She’s camping with her dad, Jude Edgington, 44, who came to his first festival at 14, being dropped off at the gates by his parents. They have the whole family in tow: Jude’s partner Emma Maxwell, 43, and their five-year-old son, Isaac. Stevie’s here with her 28-year-old boyfriend Harry Letton, their two-year-old son Cassius-Leroy, and her 13-year-old half-sister, Vegas Honey Proudfoot.
“They never used to want to camp with Emma and I,” Jude says. “Now they’ve got a kid that’s all changed –and there’s probably a very calculated reason for it.” After the Rolling Stones, Harry and Stevie have agreed to take the children back to the campsite to give Jude and Emma a night off, in return for babysitting on Friday night.
Jude has fond memories of seeing his children grow up at Glastonbury. When he brought Stevie’s mum to the festival while seven months pregnant, he drove them there in his Mini, parking up right next to the Pyramid Stage, in the days when cars were allowed on-site. He says he remembers visiting Stevie and her friends’ campsite four years ago to be met by some sniggers from the teenagers. But then, he says: “They just kept giving me drinks. It was really good fun, the energy reminded me of what it was like here when I was younger.”
For Stevie, dad-dancing is the only problem: “He always dances as if it’s ska or reggae, whatever the tempo or genre.”
The introduction to Glastonbury came the other way around for Steve Bowen, 65, and his wife, Barbara, 62. Their children, Anna, 29, and David, 31, took them to their first one five years ago. “They’d retired and weren’t doing much,” explains Anna. “We’d been going for a few years and thought it was just their cup of tea: they’re old hippies and they love camping.”
Despite initial trepidation, she says they ended up loving it more than she and her brother do. They camp in the same spot every year, along with Anna’s university friends, sometimes in a group of up to 20. They’ve built up many traditions: a meeting point, visits to the cider bus, and a 5am family meal followed by watching the sunrise at the stone circle.
Far from feeling inhibited by her parents’ presence, Anna says she’s often trying to keep up with her dad’s pace. “Most men have mid-life crises and get a car. Instead, he got really into trance music.”
One of the family-friendly draws of Glastonbury is that its extensive line-up caters to every music taste. Something that Emma Richardson, 39, and father Robert Gribbin, 69, take full advantage of. Other than the Rolling Stones, she says: “Nick Cave is a big must – and Simian Mobile Disco.”
Glastonbury holds special significance for Emma and her husband, Scott, who’s here with them. He proposed to her at the stone circle in 2008. “I held his cider while he went off to ask dad for my hand in marriage. Luckily he said ‘yes’.”
They have many other memories, such as Emma’s particularly nasty nosebleed at Funboy Three at the 1983 festival. She says quite a bit has changed since that first visit: “I remember you couldn’t move for naked men!”
At 78, Michael Eavis has a decade on 69-year-old Mick Jagger, and Emily’s involvement looks set to increase. On today’s showing, they can rest assured that Glastonbury will be well-loved for generations ahead.
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