Michael Eavis was presented with the MIDEM Green World award in Cannes, in recognition of the environmental achievements at the annual music festival.
Eavis has organized Glastonbury since its launch in 1970 on his 500-acres dairy farm in Somerset. The festival draws 177,000 fans and site workers.
Each year, Glastonbury aims to raise a £2 million ($2.89 million) charity donation to various projects, including some benefiting the environment.
In 2008, Eavis provided 1 million biodegradable tent pegs on the site, while 50% of rubbish is recycled and food waste is turned into compost. Beer cups and plates are also biodegradable and solar power is used to provide electricity. Around 25% of people attending use public transport.
Eavis also arranged for more than 8 tonnes of Wellington boots, discarded on the site, to be sent to Senegal for re-use.
“The farm is still the most important thing, to care about the fields and hedgerows,” said Eavis. “It’s a beautiful farm that is full of green life.”
He said festival-goers were also “very aware of the environmental issues,” adding that the hippies who attended the first festival were “40 years ahead of their time” on the green agenda.
Eavis tells Billboard.biz that 90% of tickets for the festival in June 2009 are either sold, or customers had used the new deposit option to reserve a ticket for later purchase. “We will sell out very soon,” he says.
During the press conference at the MIDEM international music market and conference in Cannes, he declined to be drawn on who the headline artists would be, in order to protect sales for the acts’ other summer shows.
“They get proper money from their commercial concerts and festivals, they play for us for very little money, so it’s only fair that they should earn their money first,” he explained. “So I can’t spoil their ticket sales by announcing it.”
He did reveal that he already had two U.S. acts and two U.K. acts in the frame for three headline slots, so would have to lose one. “You’ll be amazed by some of the headline acts we’ve got this year,” said Eavis.
Despite the non-commercial approach to the festival, operational guidance has been provided for several years by Melvyn Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, which is majority-owned by Live Nation.
“I pay him a fee, that’s been agreed with the Live Nation people,” Eavis tells Billboard.biz. “As long as Melvyn wants to work with us, that’s marvelous.”
However, he stressed that Glastonbury would not become an event controlled by a corporation. “I’m not for sale,” says Eavis.