In 1970, inspired by a recent open-air Led Zeppelin concert, Michael Eavis CBE founded and hosted the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival, on his Somerset dairy farm. The next year it became the Glastonbury Festival. Today the annual festival is still organised by Michael in partnership with his daughter, Emily Eavis.
Glastonbury at Worthy Farm has evolved from a small event attracting around 1,500 people to the largest Greenfield festival in the world, attended by around 175,000 each year. Glastonbury hosts a range of contemporary performing arts and aims to raise around £2million per year supporting WaterAid, Oxfam and Greenpeace as well as hundreds of local causes.
In addition to their charitable endeavours, Michael and Emily have been active figures in political issues. Michael stood as a candidate for the Labour Party in 1997. Emily has worked with Oxfam as part of their ‘Make Trade Fair’ campaign, publicising the negative impact of trade practices on coffee farmers.
Michael Eavis was born in 1935 in Pilton, Somerset, and educated at Wells Cathedral School and the Thames Nautical Training College, before joining the Union-Castle Line as a trainee midshipman. In 1954 he had a change of career after inheriting his parents’ 150-acre farm and 60 cows.
In 1996 he was named recipient of NME magazine’s Godlike Genius Award. In 2007 Michael was awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, and in 2009 nominated by Time magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world.
Born in 1979, Emily Eavis also attended Wells Cathedral School before beginning a teacher training course at Goldsmiths. Following her mother's death in 1999, Emily left her studies to join Michael in running Glastonbury. Emily and her husband Nick are now responsible for booking Glastonbury’s main stages.