Time to give good vibes back to the land, says Glastonbury farmer
Thursday 04 January 1996
Glastonbury, the legendary music and arts festival at which young professionals rub dreadlocks with hard-core hippies to tune in and drop out, will not take place this summer.
Michael Eavis, the farmer who runs it from his Somerset farm, has decided to give the event a miss this year, in the interests of good farming practice.
"We're having a fallow year," he explained yesterday. "Missing a festival every three or four years - the last times were 1991, 1988 and 1982 - has always been Glastonbury practice." Others were dubious about his explanation, as Mr Eavis was recently selected as the Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for Wells, a traditionally true-blue seat.
"One wonders if there has been some involvement by the Labour Party to say 'give it a rest this year in case there's an election'," Peter Gold, the Liberal Democrats' prospective parliamentary candidate, said.
Mr Eavis was shocked by the suggestion. "The festival's too important to muck around with. We see this as a break to stimulate everyone to go for it the following year.
"We've all got proper jobs. Glastonbury's run by doctors, dentists, lawyers, teachers and farmers, but they do it because they love it. It's nothing to do with politics. Most serious punters don't think there'll be an election until 1997 anyway."
Either way, the festival's absence will be a blow for thousands who yearn - often behind their conventional lifestyles - to cast off convention and chill out in the country amid dirt, dope and loud music. And there are more and more of them. In the last 25 years, the festival has grown from 1,500 people watching Marc Bolan at sunset to its present, awesome magnitude. It attracted 120,000 people last year and made a turnover of almost pounds 5m.
Meanwhile, the bands have come and gone, from Elvis Costello and Van Morrison to Oasis, Supergrass and Pulp, and the festival has grown up. From a cheap weekend run by a rock-mad farmer who lost pounds 1,500 for the privilege, it is now a big business, as likely to attract corporate hospitality as New Age travellers.
In the early days, as devotees will attest, the profit motive was non- existent. Entrance was free, along with milk from the farm, lavatories were communal cesspits and free spirits danced naked in the mud. Those were the days when drugs were sold openly and, even when an entrance fee was charged, it was possible to nip under a fence. Now a mini-city springs up on the rutted fields, making fortunes for the stallholders and assorted entrepreneurs.
But it has never matched 1970, Mr Eavis says. "I reckon it's about the best thing that's ever happened here."
- 1 Michelle Rodriguez: Fast & Furious actor apologises after telling 'minorities' to stop taking on 'white' roles
- 2 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face the death penalty
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Michelle Rodriguez: Fast & Furious actor apologises after telling 'minorities' to stop taking on 'white' roles
British are sexually uptight, dirty and drink too much – according to Spanish book
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face the death penalty
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...