JW: You’ve got a book out…the definitive history of Glastonbury. The photographs in that are absolutely beautiful, so many artists have been at Glastonbury. Tell us about the book for starters.
Emily Eavis: It’s taken years to be persuaded to do a book because it’s so hard to capture 50 years of anything! Even just one person’s life would be impossible. It’s like you know, picking six pictures from each year and putting them in and I’m sure we’ve missed out key elements and it’s released today.
Jo Whiley: There has been such an evolution with Glastonbury, it feels like you’re very keen to do that. What was your vision when you decided to take the job eventually? How did you want to progress it?
EE: Well, I think gradual little shifts, nothing really dramatic. I wanted it to retain everything, all the energy it’s had. I wanted it to be the special place that it was for so many people and not to come in with a bulldozing attitude of change, I wanted to protect that.
JW: When you’re doing the line-up when does that all begin? What’s the set for who you’ve got in place for next year? For the big five-o?
EE: We’ve got two out of our three Pyramid headliners.
JW: And they are?
EE: Erm…(laughter) I almost told you!
JW: So close…
EE: We have got our Other Stage headliners which is amazing, I think particularly as it the 50th we’ve got the likes of Pyramid level headliners on the Other Stage next year.
JW: You must have bands pretty much begging you to play those slots? There’ll be people who are desperate to play, to headline the Pyramid stage. It must be so difficult
EE: Exactly! It’s an amazing privilege to be able to book who we want to book in many cases. It’s not quite as easy as everyone thinks in terms of like, you know, people saying “can’t you just get Led Zeppelin” or “why haven’t you asked Pink Floyd?”. Those kinds of things are just obviously never going to happen. It’s amazing after 50 years to kind of choose who you want and in a way interestingly, the two that we’ve booked have not done the festival before. I don’t know if now that creates and absolutely, oh god I hope not, I hope you narrow it down!
JW: What kind of reaction do you think they’re going to get when it’s announced who’s playing? What are you anticipating?
EE: I always anticipate outrage because that’s quite often what we get. But I think hopefully really happy because I think it’s something to be very proud of what we’ve got for next year. It’s looking SO good and we’ve also got bands that are […] proper Glastonbury, kind of I want to say Glastonbury-goers because they’re the kind of people who come to the festival as well as play there. It’s a good mix.
JW: When people come to a party, it’s often polite to say thank you and send thank you letters. Have you had some great thank yous in the past from artists who go and play there? There must be some who go “wow, thank you”.
EE: Lionel Richie said thank you. The amazing thing about him is that he is so friendly. His production manager said before he went on, “listen, Lionel will speak to everyone on his way to the stage so you need to clear the walkway”. He said he wanted to walk around the village. He was just walking through Bread Street, which is in Pilton and there were a couple of old ladies who were sat on the street and he was just talking to everyone. He really got into it. He just wouldn’t leave. He was walking through the village for ages and then he was like, “what’s this?!” – he discovered moss. In LA obviously, they don’t have moss and not many places have such a damp environment for moss to grow.
JW: Will ABBA be playing next year?
JW: Spice Girls?
EE: Don’t! I’ve already said too much.
Let us know your thoughts on the line up that has been released so far for Glasto’s 50th Birthday at @CelebMix!