Michael Eavis
Athelstan Joseph Michael Eavis, CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (born 17 October 1935), is an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 dairy farmer
A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture, who raises living organisms for food or raw materials, generally including livestock husbandry and growing crops, such as produce and grain...

 and the founder of the Glastonbury Festival
Glastonbury Festival
The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, commonly abbreviated to Glastonbury or even Glasto, is a performing arts festival that takes place near Pilton, Somerset, England, best known for its contemporary music, but also for dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other arts.The...

, which takes place on his farm.

Personal life

His family hails from Dorset
Dorset , is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The county town is Dorchester which is situated in the south. The Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch joined the county with the reorganisation of local government in 1974...

 and, after his great grandfather walked the family dairy herd north, settled at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset
Pilton, Somerset
Pilton is a village and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated on the A361 road in the Mendip district, 3 miles south-west of Shepton Mallet and 6 miles east of Glastonbury. The village has a population of 935...

. His father was a local Methodist preacher
Preacher is a term for someone who preaches sermons or gives homilies. A preacher is distinct from a theologian by focusing on the communication rather than the development of doctrine. Others see preaching and theology as being intertwined...

, while his mother was a school teacher. Eavis was educated at the fee-paying Wells Cathedral School
Wells Cathedral School
Wells Cathedral School is a co-educational independent school located in Wells, Somerset, England. The school is one of the five established musical schools for school-age children in the United Kingdom, along with Chetham's School of Music, the Yehudi Menuhin School, the Purcell School and St....

, followed by the Thames Nautical Training College after which he joined the Union-Castle Line
Union-Castle Line
The Union-Castle Line was a prominent British shipping line that operated a fleet of passenger liners and cargo ships between Europe and Africa from 1900 to 1977. It was formed from the merger of the Union Line and Castle Shipping Line...

, which comprised part of the British Merchant Navy, as a trainee Midshipman
A midshipman is an officer cadet, or a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Kenya...

. His plan was to spend 20 years at sea, returning with a pension to subsidise the income from the farm. After his father died in 1958, Eavis returned to inherit the family farm of 150 acre (0.607029 km²) and 60 cows.


Divorcing his first wife Ruth in 1964, with whom he had three children, in 1969 Eavis and his second wife Jean Hayball visited the Bath Festival of Blues
Bath Festival of Blues 1969
The Bath Festival of Blues was a music festival held at the Bath Pavilion Recreational Ground in Bath, Somerset, England, on Saturday 28th June 1969. It featured a lineup of British blues bands, including Fleetwood Mac , John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Ten Years After, Led Zeppelin, The Nice, Chicken...

. Inspired by seeing the performance of Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

, they hosted a free festival the following year. This developed into the Glastonbury Festival as it is known today. Jean died in 1999; since then their daughter Emily
Emily Eavis
Emily Eavis is co-organiser of the annual Glastonbury Festival. She is the youngest daughter of the festival's founder and organiser Michael Eavis and his second wife Jean....

 has taken a more active role in running the event. In common with his mother and his second wife, Eavis remains a regular Methodist chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

-goer. Eavis has since married his third wife, Liz.

In 2010, the festival's 40th year
Glastonbury Festival 2010
The 2010 Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts took place in Pilton, Somerset, England in June 2010.The festival was headlined by Gorillaz, Muse, and Stevie Wonder. U2 were initially announced as headliners, but withdrew on 25 May 2010 citing Bono's recent back surgery...

, he appeared on the main stage at the Festival, with headline artist Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Stevland Hardaway Morris , better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and activist...

, to sing the chorus of the latter's "Happy Birthday".

Political activity

After recovering from stomach cancer
Stomach cancer
Gastric cancer, commonly referred to as stomach cancer, can develop in any part of the stomach and may spread throughout the stomach and to other organs; particularly the esophagus, lungs, lymph nodes, and the liver...

, Eavis stood as a candidate for the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 in the 1997 General Election
United Kingdom general election, 1997
The United Kingdom general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997, more than five years after the previous election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party ended its 18 years in opposition under the leadership of Tony Blair, and won the general...

 in the Wells Constituency
Wells (UK Parliament constituency)
Wells is a county constituency centred on the city of Wells in Somerset. It elects one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, by the first past the post voting system...

, polling 10,204 votes. In 2004 however, he suggested that disillusioned Labour voters should switch their vote to the Green Party
Green Party of England and Wales
The Green Party of England and Wales is a political party in England and Wales which follows the traditions of Green politics and maintains a strong commitment to social progressivism. It is the largest Green party in the United Kingdom, containing within it various regional divisions including...

 to protest at the Iraq War
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

, though he returned to supporting the Labour Party in 2010.

In November 2006 he was appointed as President of the Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

 Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Chamber of commerce
A chamber of commerce is a form of business network, e.g., a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses. Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community...


In June 2011, Eavis was quoted as lamenting the decline in political activity associated with the Glastonbury Festival. Days later, however, a protest by Art Uncut at the Glastonbury Festival against U2
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...

's alleged hypocrisy on matters of taxation was stopped with force by festival security.

Charitable work

He has apportioned profits from his Glastonbury Festival to support charitable causes, including local projects such as the restoration of the Tithe Barn, Pilton
Tithe Barn, Pilton
The Tithe Barn at Cumhill Farm in Pilton, Somerset, England was built in the 14th century as a tithe barn to hold produce for Glastonbury Abbey...

. In November 2008, during an appearance on the BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 programme Desert Island Discs
Desert Island Discs
Desert Island Discs is a BBC Radio 4 programme first broadcast on 29 January 1942. It is the second longest-running radio programme , and is the longest-running factual programme in the history of radio...

, Eavis stated that the Festival could never lose its licence due to the contribution it makes to the local economy.

In November 2009, Eavis starred in a short film to promote Somerset, commissioned by Inward Investment Agency Into Somerset
Into Somerset
Into Somerset is the inward investment agency for the county of Somerset, England. - Into Somerset website It works with local authorities, other economic agencies and private sector partners, to encourage business relocation to Somerset....


Honours and tributes

Eavis holds Honorary Degrees from the University of Bath
University of Bath
The University of Bath is a campus university located in Bath, United Kingdom. It received its Royal Charter in 1966....

 (Doctor of Arts honoris causa, 2004) and the University of Bristol
University of Bristol
The University of Bristol is a public research university located in Bristol, United Kingdom. One of the so-called "red brick" universities, it received its Royal Charter in 1909, although its predecessor institution, University College, Bristol, had been in existence since 1876.The University is...

 (Master of Arts honoris causa, 2006). Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 awarded Eavis the CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 in the Queen's 2007 Birthday Honours list.

In May 2009, Eavis was nominated by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world.

External links

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