Michael Eavis on this year's 'ultimate Glastonbury'
After days trying to track down the world's most famous festival founder around his Worthy Farm estate, VF finally caught up with Michael Eavis - and found out he reckons he's harder than Rolf Harris
This is probably the busiest week of your year. How’s it all going?
Our preparations are going really well actually, although we are expecting some rain tomorrow, so our priority is getting as much gravel and woodchip stockpiled so that the 30,000 odd cars we’re expecting don’t get bogged down. The site’s looking absolutely superb and the final stage was put up this morning.
There are a lot of disappointed people out there who didn’t manage to get tickets. Is this an unsolvable problem?
There are just so many people who want to come to the festival nowadays. I suppose in a way we’ve oversold ourselves. We might devise a lottery scheme next year, but then that’s not exactly fair, as there will be people applying for tickets who are not really that fussed about Glastonbury . It will attract those who are only half interested and they might sell their tickets on. However, we would never consider having two festivals as it would just wreck the farm. We’ve been farming it since the 1880s and that will never change. We will probably rest the land again in a couple of years.
Are you confident this year’s policy of personalising tickets has succeeded in keeping the touts out of business?
I’m very pleased with it. There are hardly any tickets being sold on by touts as far as we know. The scheme has created a lot of hard work for the ticket company. Individual names have had to be printed on each ticket and the postage has increased because people can only order two tickets at a time, which has caused delays in people getting their tickets. But the end result is that it has helped stop touting, which is the main thing. Hopefully no one is now paying above the odds. Saying that, I had a phone call recently from someone who paid £250 for a ticket on eBay and it never arrived in the post. I just thought, well what am I supposed to do about that?
And will people actually get refused entry if their ID doesn’t match?
Well, we can’t check everyone. We’ll just have to do as much as we can physically deal with and see how it works. I’m sure almost everyone will prove to be genuine buyers but those we do identify as having broken the rules will be removed from the site, yes.
What’s the buzz on-site like at the moment?
We’re all very excited and I am lucky enough to have a great team of dedicated people working here to make it another resounding success. The quality of people is second to none. Just this morning I went round to our permaculture garden, an old garden planted by hippies, and I was simply blown away by the involvement of so many people, just for the love of it. There were people hacking away at weeds and making the garden look amazing. I was wandering around, stunned by what they were doing. And that’s just a tiny fraction of what’s going on. When you try to look at the whole picture it’s staggering.
Do you ever tap into the online community, which has developed around the festival? Many of our message board members have asked us to express their thanks to you.
Well that’s very nice of them. But I must admit that I have never looked at one of those in my life. However, the office girls print the messages out for me. I’m a bit old fashioned in many respects, a real ludite. I don’t use answer machines and prefer to deal with old systems of filing. I’m more of a note writer than a computer user. But the girls come across all these questions and answers from people with funny names and I read them on paper.