Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis will receive a Knighthood in the New Year Honours list, it has been confirmed.
The 88-year-old, who transformed the Somerset event into one of the most widely celebrated music festivals in the world, has been recognised for services to music and charity. In an official announcement, Eavis was hailed for creating “one of the greatest British artistic and philanthropic success stories of all time”.
In an official Q&A on Glastonbury’s website, Eavis said: “I have had a good life and managed to keep the Festival going for 53 years. It’s all gone so well in the end. It took 25 years for the public to catch on. We started with 500 people in 1970 and we’ve finished up with millions wanting to come every year now. That’s quite extraordinary isn’t it?”
When asked why he believed he had received the award, Eavis said: “I’ve done quite a lot of stuff in my life and I’ve always been fairly sure that I was doing the right thing.”
From humble beginnings on Eavis’ dairy farm in 1970, Glastonbury has grown to become one of the largest and most celebrated events in the world, creating more than £175m every year and attracting headline sets from some of the biggest artists in the world. This year, Elton John performed his last ever UK touring show at Glastonbury, while Madonna is among the names rumoured for next year’s event.
In an official listing, Buckingham Palace hailed Glastonbury for contributing “more than £2m to charities and good causes each festival year. As well as the endless list of causes he has supported are practical initiatives such as the provision of more than 50 social houses in Glastonbury Festival’s home village of Pilton, providing affordable accommodation to local people at government-controlled rents, and never to be sold.”
Asked about his commitment to social housing, Eavis replied: “I’ve been in the village all my life and I’ve seen all the council houses sold off, so there were no houses left to rent for working people. And private renting can be a nightmare. I think it’s so important to have a permanent stock of houses to rent at an affordable price. So that was the most important thing for me to do in this village really.”
For now though, Eavis is looking forward to his day out at Buckingham Palace.
“Last time I met King Charles, I got a suit especially,” Eavis said.
“And he said, ‘Why aren’t you wearing your shorts?’! But I think William might do the ceremony. He’s made a few mentions of wanting to come to the Festival. So I’ll probably take a couple of tickets in my pocket!”
Other notable recipients in the New Year’s Honours include Sir Ridley Scott, who has now received the highest honour possible in the Knight Grand Cross.