Posted by | Apr 09,2010 |
EXCLUSIVE: Emily Eavis interview part two: The King is Dead?
Â With the environmental initiatives Glastonbury stands for, do you see it as a being a bit hypocritical that the carbon footprint the festival leaves is huge? Â â€œWe do everything we can to limit the impact the festival has on the environment: we encourage people to lift share and use public transport as much as possible, and we keep a lot of the site in storage here at Worthy farm until the next festival, so that manages to reduce a lot of carbon emissions that most festivals have in transporting rigging and stages every year.â€ Â Thereâ€™s no doubt that Emily Eavis has the environment at heart, but thatâ€™s not really news when discussing a festival that, born from a desire for one man and his wife to pay off their mortgage (and failing impressively, initially), grew to raising millions every year for a wide range of charities, the most prominent of which are tackling the impact of climate change in the very poorest regions of the world. Â What about practicing what they preach â€“ would it be possible for Glastonbury to ever be carbon neutral? â€œThat would be a dream,â€ says Emily when the question comes up, â€œbut it isnâ€™t really possible is it? Â â€œWe do have the green fields that do run themselves, but it would be impossible to run the bigger stages like that.â€ Â And itâ€™s that size and prominence that has made Glastonbury the behemoth it is today. From a farmer and his wife offering free milk with every one of the 1,500 tickets in 1970, the festival grew to its biggest size ever in 1999, when 250,000 people showed up. It was a year marred with tragedy on the farm too, when Emilyâ€™s mother Jean died of cancer aged 60, just two months before that yearâ€™s festival got underway. Â â€œShe was the soul of the festival, the one who kept it together,â€ remembers Emily, â€œwhen she died it was just before the festival and I was in London. I wanted to go straight back and help my dad. It was a hard time, but we made the festival a tribute to her.â€ Â It was also a time that was inconvenient to the Eavisâ€™ plans of retirement, as Michael and Jean had decided to retire the festival after the 2000 event. Does Emily feel her mum would be cursing her for keeping her dad going? She chuckles down the dodgy phone connection we have: â€œI think sheâ€™d be really proud of what weâ€™ve done,â€ she surmises. Â But where does the festival go from here? Emily, the heir to a festival she grew up in but never imagined running, probably knows but isnâ€™t telling. Â â€œWe take each year as it comes really. It wonâ€™t go on forever and will finish at some point. All I know is that Iâ€™m really excited for this year.â€ Â And so are the rest of us. Glastonbury might be in its 40th year, but given it was supposed to be ending after 30 years, thereâ€™s life in the old dog yet. Â CLICK HERE TO READ THE FIRST PART OF OUR INTERVIEW