Emily Eavis, daughter of Glastonbury Festival founder Michael, has been helping spearhead Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign since 2002 by encouraging some of the biggest names in rock music to get involved with the charity; the end result being a huge fundraiser that took place last week in London. At a similar event last year, it was Chris Martin and Noel Gallagher who stole the show, this year it was R.E.M and er, Chris Martin again! Who cares, the concert was a sell out and it helped raise tonnes of cash for a worthy cause. Click here for more information on Make Trade Fair.
Virtual Festivals: Did last weekís Make Trade Fair charity event exceed expectations?
EE: Yes, it was such a big thing for us, really great, and a real climax to the Make Trade Fair campaign. Itís going to go even further but there was such an amazing turn out. I was astounded by the amount of people supporting the event.
VF: How important is it for bands like R.E.M to support the cause?
EE: Itís really important for anyone to get involved. Itís people that make things like Make Trade Fair work. But I suppose it was particularly good to have R.E.M on board because they have such a huge fan base in the US and if the message can cross over there then thatís going to help a great deal. Other musicians have already done a lot for the charity, like Coldplay, but R.E.M will be able to make even more of an impact.
VF: How did you get involved?
EE: Back in 2002, Oxfam offered to take me away to Haiti to see where some of the money raised from Glastonbury goes. They also wanted someone high profile, from a band who were playing at the next festival, and someone who was articulate and fairly bright, so I asked Chris Martin.
VF: What impact did that have on you?
EE: It was massive. You can see countless images on television but when you witness it first hand itís so much more extreme. I was working for a TV company and it made me realise how unimportant that was. So I started working for Oxfam and have been there ever since, getting involved in behind the scenes lobbying and pushing the campaign forward. I think weíve done all we can in terms of live gigs where Make Trade Fair is concerned. You donít want to keep pushing it on people because theyíll lose interest but Oxfam has got a new campaign on its way, Make Poverty History, so we might so something next year for that.
VF: So where does Make Trade Fair go from here?
EE: I really want to do more at Glastonbury next year. A lot of people there are really into good causes and are really open minded. Since Make Trade Fair started people have seemed to be really taken by it. You canít bang on about it too much but Glastonburyís a good place to raise awareness. We have a petition currently being circulated called The Big Noise, which is pushing for global trade laws. That was supported really well at Glastonbury and we now have about a million signatures.