Michael Eavis: ‘Glastonbury will never lose its licence’

Event founder claims festival is too important

Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis claims that the three-day bash will never lose its licence – because it is too important to the local economy.

The event was last refused a licence in 2002 after surrounding villages raised concerns about crime, but the decision was later overturned.

Last year Mendip District Council in Somerset also agreed to grant Eavis a four-year licence, which secured the festival’s future until 2010.

“The local economy gets £100 million a year so there’s no discussion about not allowing the festival a licence any more,” he said. “They’re all on board now because everybody earns some money from it – there are seven farms I have to rent.”

Eavis did reveal that he nearly closed the festival in 2000 because he wanted to retire with his wife Jean. But she died in May 1999.

He told Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs: “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.”