As news of the 2008 Glastonbury Festival’s lineup leaked earlier this week, helmer Michael Eavis shared with Billboard.com his enthusiasm to continue leading the annual event, saying he has the energy to remain on as maestro for another decade.
The man behind Britain’s most famous music event says he has no immediate plans to relinquish responsibilities for Glastonbury to his second-in-command, daughter Emily.
“I’m 72, coming up to 73. I certainly hope I’ll be able to go another 10 years,” says the farmer, who in 1970 turned his hand at organizing music festivals on his grounds in southwest England.
“I feel so incredibly fit, I just cannot believe it,” he says. “And I’m so lucky to have the best job in the world.”
Eavis spoke with Billboard.com ahead of publication today (May 1) of the Glastonbury lineup, a list which has become the music industry’s worst-kept secret thanks to the media leak earlier in the week.
As expected, Jay-Z, the Verve, Kings of Leon, Hot Chip and Leonard Cohen are among the hundreds of acts confirmed to perform at the June 27-29 festival at Worthy Farm, Somerset.
The unfurling of Glastonbury’s lineup always reveals some names bound to raise eyebrows and this year is no different, with the likes of ’80s hitmaker Shakin’ Stevens and pop singer James Blunt among the more unusual choices on the bill.
“We’ve got a fantastic lineup and the most amazing things happening on all the stages,” boasts Eavis, “especially the Pyramid Stage.”
To create more breathing room for the expected 170,000-plus guests, Eavis and his team have reconfigured the grounds for the 2008 edition, which should free up 40-50 acres.
“We’re pushing the fence up so people will be able to sit on the hill, and there will be a feeling of a lot more space,” he says. “It will be like an enormous balcony, a veranda where you’ll be able to see the whole site. We’ve never done that before. It’ll look amazing. For me, that’s the most important change to the layout of the site.”
Glastonbury’s lethargic ticket sales this year are well-documented, with observers blaming a number of factors including poor weather at previous editions, competition from other festivals, and Jay-Z’s booking as a headliner. Following today’s announcement, the Glastonbury Web site’s homepage continued to instruct people on how to register and buy tickets for Glastonbury 2008.
“I just think Michael’s been a bit unlucky with the weather recently and punters are becoming more choosy about what they want,” comments John Giddings, managing director of London-based Solo Promoters and organizer of the Isle of Wight festival.
“It’ll bounce back,” he continues. “Glastonbury is an institution. They’ve got 150,000 tickets — that’s three times as many as we have. It still sold 100,000 in a day. I wish I could do that.”