Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis says best thing for environment would be not to run the festival


Michael Eavis has spoken about the environmental impact of Glastonbury Festival. (AFP via Getty Images)

Glastonbury Festival’s founder Michael Eavis has admitted that the best thing for the environment would be for him not to run the event at all.

Speaking during BBC Two documentary Glastonbury: 50 Years and Counting on Sunday, Eavis, 86, said that despite spending decades easing festival goers to consider their environmental impact, he recognised that his own event could add to the impact of climate change.

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However, Glastonbury makes large donations to partner charities Oxfam, Greenpeace and Water Aid, and farmer Eavis said he had to “sup with the devil” to continue to support them.

GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 24: Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily attend a photocall at Worthy Farm in Pilton on the eve of the first day of the 2014 Glastonbury Festival on June 24, 2014 in Glastonbury, England.  Gates opened today at the Somerset dairy farm that plays host to one of the largest music festivals in the world.  Tickets to the event, which is now in its 44th year, sold out in minutes even before any of the headline acts had been confirmed.  The festival, which started in 1970 when several hundred hippies paid £1, now attracts more than 175,000 people.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Father and daughter Michael and Emily Eavis support charities and educate on the environment through the festival. (Getty Images)

He said: “The best thing for the environment, obviously, is not to run the festival at all, isn’t it?

“To enjoy yourselves at a major event like this which pleases so many people around the world, there has to be some wear and tear with that.

“Trying to make £2million a year in order to keep all the charities going, and we seem to have to sup with the devil a bit.”

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He has run Glastonbury Festival from Worthy Farm in Somerset since 1970 and now co-organises it with daughter Emily Eavis, 42, with the pair putting a strong emphasis on environmental education and even making the entire plastic free festival in recent years.

GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 26: Collected rubbish and litter is processed at the Glastonbury Festival's purpose built Recycling Center as festival goers leave the Glastonbury Festival site at Worthy Farm in Pilton on June 26, 2017 near Glastonbury, England.  Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts is the largest greenfield festival in the world.  It was started by Michael Eavis in 1970 when several hundred hippies paid just £1, and now attracts more than 175,000 people (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Glastonbury has a purpose-built recycling center for the clear-up festival. (Getty Images)

Emily said: “We hope that the greater good outweighs the negative output, which I think it does, I think people come here and they find out new ways of being, of existing, of consuming.

“They discover new politics, they discover new green ideas, it fires people up.

She added: “I hope that’s come back, the politics, and I hope people are more aware of the environment they’re living in from being here, because it’s a great way to demonstrate that you are responsible for the space that you live in , but we’ve got a long way to go.”

GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 30: Sir David Attenborough appears on the Pyramid stage during day five of Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 30, 2019 in Glastonbury, England.  The festival, founded by farmer Michael Eavis in 1970, is the largest greenfield music and arts performing festival in the world.  Tickets for the festival sold out in just 36 minutes as it returns following a fallow year.  (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Sir David Attenborough spoke on the festival’s Pyramid Stage in 2019. (Getty Images)

Glastonbury regularly features speakers and demonstrations about caring for the environment and combatting climate change, with Sir David Attenborough having taken to the stage in 2019.

The BBC Two documentary, which included many of the festival’s previous performers talking about their experiences there, showed The Cure’s Robert Smith explaining how it could be a force for good.

He said: “Glastonbury does have a history of being more than just a music festival. You’ve got vast numbers of young people, if you’re not going to engage them and get them to do something…”

Glastonbury Festival 2022 takes place from 22 to 26 June.

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