Emily Eavis describes ‘lovely moment’ as her father takes to Glastonbury stage

Festival co-founder Michael Eavis was wheeled onto The Park Stage in an office chair before singing a selection of classics.

Edd Dracott
Thursday 22 June 2023 20:50 BST
Michael Eavis played covers of My Way and Suspicious Minds (Yui Mok/PA)
Michael Eavis played covers of My Way and Suspicious Minds (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Glastonbury co-founder Michael Eavis has performed onstage at the festival in what his daughter Emily described as a “lovely moment” to “kick off the festival”.

Hundreds chanted “Michael” as the 87-year-old was wheeled on to The Park Stage on an office chair to perform a collection of classics at the festival in Somerset, as he recovers from an operation on his leg.

Speaking to the PA news agency after her father’s performance, Emily Eavis said: “It was brilliant, wasn’t it? That was such a lovely moment.

“It’s really nice to see him here just to kick off the festival.”

Michael greeted the crowd by saying: “Hello there – are you ready for this?

“It’s a warm up for the show, it’s not the real thing.”

Michael played covers of My Way and Suspicious Minds.

His first song was Frank Sinatra’s Love’s Been Good To Me, but Michael changed the words from “there was a girl in Portland” to “there was a girl in Pilton”, in reference to the nearest village to Worthy Farm, where the festival has been hosted since 1970.

Michael laughed as those gathered sang: “There’s only one Michael Eavis.”

One member of the crowd received a warm response when he shouted: “The true king of England.”

With his foot bandaged, Michael was transported back to a Land Rover after leaving the stage in a wheelchair, but Emily offered reassurance that her father was “on great form”.

Asked whose idea it was to use an office chair to help her father reach the stage, she said: “We just cobbled (it) together, it was all a bit last minute – I was like ‘anyone got a chair?’”

Reflecting on his passion for singing, Emily added: “I love seeing him on stage. Singing has always been something that he’s loved doing.

“He recorded an album when he was, I think, 16 or 17-years-old, so he’s always loved singing.”

Emily added that she felt the festival at Worthy Farm was going “beautifully well” so far, after opening its doors on Wednesday.

“What perfect weather – so far, so great, so good”, she added.

The festival will see world-class music stars play across the 900-acre festival, which will run until Sunday, as well as speeches by politicians, film screenings, theatre and circus performances and more.

Arctic Monkeys are due to top the bill on Friday night on the Pyramid Stage, but their slot was thrown into question after the rock band had to cancel their Wednesday show in Dublin at the last minute due to frontman Alex Turner suffering from acute laryngitis.

Saturday night will see US rockers Guns N’ Roses headline, after the original line-up of Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan reunited in 2015.

Sir Elton John, 76, will close the festival on Sunday night for what has been billed as the final UK show of his mammoth farewell tour.

Emily revealed that the veteran singer finally performing at the festival for the first time in his career is the moment she is really looking forward to this year, saying: “I think that’s going to be a very special moment for everybody”.

Asked what she was excited for this upcoming weekend, Emily said: “I can’t choose one thing. I think probably Elton coming after such a long time, a lifetime waiting essentially.

“And there’s a lot of significance to this show being his last and being Sunday night and the closing point of the festival.

“So I think that’s going to be really, really spectacular and a very special moment for everybody.

“Sunday night’s always an emotional night. Remember Beyonce or Blur, we’ve had some really incredibly epic sets on Sunday night and I think this is going to be incredible.”

Earlier on Thursday, Sir Elton’s husband David Furnish revealed the singer will bring on four special guests during his headline show.

Emily confessed she could not reveal any surprise collaborators as she herself did not know, adding: “Best kept secret that one.”

Festival-goers basked in the sun on the second day of the festival as the mixed conditions of Wednesday cleared and welcomed in highs of around 25.2C, recorded in Yeovilton, a site near Glastonbury, the Met Office has said.

Friday is set see a “good deal of dry, sunny weather” with temperatures likely to peak at around 25C.

The forecast for Saturday is “predominantly dry and warm” with “hazy sunshine” and temperatures set to climb to 26C.

Sunday is due to see some “warm sunshine”, but a few showers are possible through the afternoon – though these will be “hit and miss”, the Met Office added.

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