Glastonbury was “due to close” in the ’90s

Emily Eavis has revealed that her father nearly closed the gates on Glastonbury for good in the 1990s.

Glastonbury returns to Worthy Farm, Somerset this year from June 26-30, with Dua LipaColdplay, and SZA headlining the Pyramid Stage. Other major acts on the bill include Shania TwainLCD SoundsystemLittle SimzThe NationalAvril LavigneThe Last Dinner PartyJungleJusticeBloc PartyFontaines D.C.Yard ActArlo Parks and Gossip.

The festival’s principal organiser Emily Eavis has been discussing this year’s event in an appearance on the BBC’s Sidetracked podcast, where she spoke about some of the hard times that nearly forced them to close the festival down.

She said that her father, the festival’s founder Michael Eavis, had planned to bring the festival to a permanent end when he reached retirement age in the late ‘90s.

Michael and Emily Eavis Glastonbury
Michael Eavis and Emily Eavis at the NME Awards 2020. CREDIT: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

She said: “My parents were always like, ‘This is the last one’. Everyone thought it was some sort of stunt to sell tickets but it wasn’t. They were genuinely like, ‘Well, we probably won’t do another.’”

But when Eavis’ wife Jean died in 1999, he vowed to carry on.


Emily Eavis added: “My dad was like, ‘Oh, I think I might need the festival now’. Because they were going to retire and go on long cruises and things like that. My dad was like, ‘Listen, let’s keep it going.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll help you’. Never did I think I’d still be here a few decades on.”

Michael Eavis himself also spoke in 2008 about the decision to continue the festival.

He said at the time: “We’d agreed we were going to retire. And unfortunately Jean never made it. So I was more determined to carry it on because I didn’t have a girlfriend or anything. And of course all the kids were very keen on it. So it was like my new lady friend in a way, the festival.”

Elsewhere in the new interview, Emily Eavis revealed that her dream headliner for the future would be Kate Bush, despite the fact that she has not performed live since 2014.


She also confirmed that Glastonbury is likely to take a year off in 2026. “We are due a fallow year,” she said. “The fallow year is important because it gives the land a rest, and it gives the cows a chance to stay out for longer and reclaim their land.”

Glastonbury last took a fallow year in 2018, although no festival was held in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it’s important, I think it gives everybody time to just switch off and the public as well,” Eavis continued. “Then you kind of go away for a bit and it feels lovely when you come back. And I think it’s quite good not to be seen to be cashing in.”

With the festival now just a few weeks away, the full day splits and set times have been revealed – you can plan your whole weekend here. For those not lucky enough to secure a ticket, the BBC have also outlined their coverage for television, radio and online, which you can explore here.

There also remain a few tantalising ‘TBA’ slots on the line-up, which appear to represent secret sets. One such slot is on the Woodsies Stage at 6pm on Saturday, and earlier this week, bookie William Hill suspended betting on that slot being filled by Kasabian, who have been heavily tipped.