Michael Eavis on this year's 'ultimate Glastonbury'
What was the real story behind your tabloid documented spat with The Darkness?
The Darkness played last year and we all thought they were brilliant. One of my best talent spotters, Rodney, suggested we book them. So I took his word for it and they were terrific. But we didn’t want them this year, as we never book the same bands on consecutive years. Then their singer, Justin Hawkins, claimed I’d come out and said they wanted £1 million to play, but I never said any such thing. What I said was that because they are so popular they could go and earn £1 million playing somewhere else, so why would they want to come here and play for £200? It would’ve been daft for us and daft for them.
How much do you pay artists?
I can’t really go into it, but it’s very cheap. Our minimum is £150 and the first band on first usually do it for just that, as The Darkness did last year. It’s still a commercially great spot for bands because it gives them a huge amount of publicity and exposure, as well as the prestige of opening the festival. Doing that spot probably made The Darkness, and I’m sure it will help this year’s openers, Kasabian.
You personally choose all the headliners. Who are you eyeing up for next year?
There are still bands out there, which haven’t played yet. I’d like to get U2 headlining for next year and I’ll be making a phone call to them. I know they like to do their own thing but, then again, so does Paul McCartney, and they don’t come much bigger than him. I might try Prince again. We approached him for this year and he seemed interested but in the end he couldn’t do it. I think musically, this year will prove to be the best. It’s a shame there’s no Radiohead but we’ve had them three times already. New bands like The 20-20s and Keane should prove a big hit, mixed with old favourites like Christie Moore. Every year it gets a little better, but this year promises to be the ultimate Glastonbury.
How does it make you feel, knowing you help give so many people such a good time?
It’s great. I’m enjoying it even now, just the feeling of it all building up. Everyone here is so attractive and full of confidence. It’s such a joy just driving round the farm in the morning watching everyone getting stuck in. I have no idea what the secret is behind the festival’s success. All I know is that everyone who works here absolutely loves being involved. I suppose it’s just special, it’s romantic, full of legend and mystique. We can’t go wrong.
Finally, who would win in a wrestling match between you and Rolf Harris - perhaps the only man to rival you for the Glastonbury crown?
Oh, I’d beat him! Haven’t you seen my muscles? I’m actually pretty strong. I have always been a worker and very hands on. I keep fit while I’m working and go cycling every day. Yes, I think I’d actually deck Rolf in about four minutes!