Michael Eavis says he's survived 'make or break' festival

Michael Eavis has declared that this year’s Glastonbury was “make or break” for the event, but claims he now has “three or four” headliners in mind for 2009.

Speaking on the final day (June 29) of this year’s bash, the festival boss admitted that, after slow ticket sales and the controversy surrounding the choice of Jay-Z as headliner, the event is now back on track.

“This was a make or break Glastonbury“, he explained. “I think we’ve got another four years in the bank now based on the success of this year, I’m sure we’ll sell out again in a couple of hours next time, I think there’ll be a huge demand. I think we’ll sell the tickets earlier next year so we don’t get beaten by the commercial events again, mentioning no names.”

Eavis admitted that Glastonbury was in fierce competition with other festivals who could afford to pay their headliners much more than he could.

“We can’t pay them millions, the big commerical festivals pay headliners three or four million, we can only pay them £200,000 so why should they do it?” he explained. “The reason is that it’s good for them, their record sales and their image, and it’s good for us and the charities we support. It’s a delicate balance between commercial pressures of headliner acts. It’s a very difficult position, but we’re doing well with what we had.”

Eavis also revealed he had several acts already interested in headlining in 2009.

“I got a lot of ideas for next year,” he said. “We’ve got three or four headliners to choose from, we’re in a much stronger position.”

Revealing that it cost around £22 million to stage the festival, Eavis said they were trying to donate £2 million from this year’s event to charity: “We’ve got a million for charity in the bank, and we’re working on the second million at the moment.”

Eavis also explained he was pleased that the younger audience had returned to the festival after suggestions last year the crowd had become too old.

“It’s a much younger audience this year, that really worked,” he claimed. “I don’t want to turn over all that ground about not wanting middle-aged people – look at my age – but it’s quite nice to have the younger ones. It’s like a Sunday school, you have the younger ones coming in, otherwise you all grow old together.

“We’ve had fantastic weather and a fantastic festival,” Eavis declared. “We’ve got another four years now [after this year’s success], we’re in the safety zone now. There was a danger of losing it last year, particularly with all the mud. We had brilliant headliners last year, which the media didn’t think we had this year, but we’ve proved them wrong, it was absolutely brilliant.”

Keep up with all the action from Glastonbury this weekend (June 27-29) as it happens on NME.COM. For news, pictures and blogs keep checking NME.COM’s Glastonbury Festival page. Plus make sure you get next week’s issue of NME on UK newsstands from July 2 for the ultimate Glastonbury review.