On COVID-19 and the possibility of Glastonbury 2021: “The testing is going so well now, there could be massive testing arrangements…”
Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis sat down for a conversation with Chris Salmon to discuss everything from his inspiration for the very first edition of the Festival in 1970 and what it was like running the event in the early ’80s, to stories of Marc Bolan, Johnny Cash and Jay-Z.
Taking part in an in-person event earlier this evening at Wells Cathedral School (October 21) – hosted by Wells Festival of Literature and live-streamed by Crowdcast – Eavis spoke about the acclaimed ‘Glastonbury 50‘ book, written in celebration of what would have been the Festival’s golden anniversary – while also touching on possible arrangements for Glastonbury 2021 and his hopes & wishes of Fleetwood Mac finally playing the Festival one day.
— Andy Payne (@PercyBlakeney63) October 21, 2020
Addressing questions from the audience, Eavis was asked if he could invite just one act back to play Glastonbury, who would it be – to which Eavis replied: “I would like to get Fleetwood Mac to come actually […] So that’s my one wish I would say.”
Adding that they [Glastonbury] “talk to them [Fleetwood Mac] every year but it’s never quite right, or the money’s not right…” – while jokingly admitting that he is “probably a bit of a farmer when it comes to paying the fees”.
Looking ahead to next year and the challenges that the Festival faces with COVID-19, Eavis sounded optimistic, saying: “… The testing is going so well now, there could be massive testing arrangements…” – while going on to ponder: “Do we want to test 200,000 people, 3 times – when they leave their home, when they’re halfway here, and when they get to the [Festival] gate – so that we’re clear of COVID?”
Michael Eavis then added that the Mendip district of Somerset is one of the safest places in the country according to government coronavirus statistics, which he suggested: “might help him a bit”.
Watch Michael Eavis’ full conversation with Chris Salmon here.
‘Glastonbury 50‘ marks five momentous decades in the life of the world’s most famous outdoor music and arts festival on the planet. While previously becoming the highest new non-fiction entry book, Glastonbury 50 shot straight into 3rd place in the Sunday Times Bestseller List for hardback books, while also being named by The Times newspaper as one of the ‘Books of the Year’ for 2019 – The official book of the behind-the-scenes, inside story of the legendary Festival – composed by organisers Michael and Emily Eavis – was also placed 10th in Amazon’s own chart among all non-fiction books.
Glastonbury Festival was set to celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer down on Worthy Farm – with headliners in Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and Paul McCartney – but was forced to cancel this year’s installment due to the coronavirus outbreak just a week after the lineup was announced back in March.
In a message from organisers, announcing the Festival’s cancellation, Michael and Emily Eavis explained that cancelling this year’s event was their “only viable option” following “new government measures” to prevent the spread of the pandemic – saying: “We’re so sorry that this decision has been made. It was not through choice. But we look forward to welcoming you back to these fields next year and until then, we send our love and support to all of you.”
The news of the cancellation was followed by a joint announcement from Glastonbury Festival and the BBC informing fans they could expect a celebratory run of programming across the Glasto-weekend – titled ‘The Glastonbury Experience’ – which eventually surpassed 10 million streams of content on BBC iPlayer, with thousands more having watched past sets broadcast on TV.
At the time of writing these lines, Glastonbury is currently set to go ahead. Speaking to ITV News West Country earlier this year (August 4), Glastonbury boss Michael Eavis said he is “still hoping, fighting and working at it all the time to make sure it happens next year ”.
In looking ahead to next year’s event – set to take place at its natural home in Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, from Wednesday23th to Sunday 27th June – here is everything we know about Glastonbury Festival 2021 thus far.