“My first Glastonbury was 35 years ago,” says actor Simon Pegg, speaking to NME on a sunny Saturday (June 25) at Worthy Farm. “That was 1987 –and my biggest achievement was not taking a shit for three days.”
The Hollywood megastar has achieved some more noteworthy things since – appearing in some of Britain’s biggest ever movies and becoming Tom Cruise’s fave sidekick in Mission: Impossible – but perhaps his most honourable work is as an ambassador for environmental charity Greenpeace.
We caught up with Pegg in the Greenpeace Field at Glasto to hear why eco-consciousness has become so integral to the Pilton party.
Hey Simon, how are you enjoying Glastonbury?
“Hello, I’m very well! We had a ladies day yesterday: Wet Leg, Wolf Alice, Phoebe Bridgers – and then we saw Billie Eilish. I’m here with my 13-year-old daughter who has great music taste and she’s been showing me some stuff.”
Sounds great! We’re here in the Greenpeace Field, and you’re an ambassador for Greenpeace. Tell me what’s going on…
“Well, this is basically Greenpeace’s centre of operations at Glastonbury. It’s a place where you can come and learn what they do and participate in the cause. I think Glastonbury is, in many respects, entirely about what Greenpeace believes in. It’s about activism and understanding that the personal is political, that you can actually make a difference. One of the big things here at the moment is that there’s no single-use plastic bottles, which makes a massive difference cos you just don’t see them on the floor anymore.”
And, of course, Power Ballad Yoga…
“Power Ballad Yoga. Haven’t heard of it. Wanna do it.”
Have you tried to get Tom Cruise down to Worthy Farm?
“He would have to wear a heavy disguise because people are obviously always pleased to see him. It would be a tough challenge for him, although I’m sure he would deal with it.”
How would he cope with the long-drop toilets?
“He’d bring his own toilet.”
Your daughter has actually headlined Glastonbury, hasn’t she?
“She did! On her first Glastonbury she sang backing vocals with Coldplay. Chris Martin is an old, old friend and [my daughter] Tilly’s godfather. He invited her up on stage with his kids and their friend to sing the backing vocals on ‘Up&Up’ [in 2016]. I was an incredibly proud dad that day.”
You were side of stage with Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Gwyneth Paltrow…
“All my friends.”
Did you get to chat to them?
“Not really. I did go to Disneyland with Jay-Z recently. I don’t know him that well but he’s friends with Chris [Martin] and we’ve met a couple of times. He’s a really sweet guy. He’s a dad too. We were all being told to go on the rollercoasters by our kids who are braver than we are.”
Who’s the most fun celeb you’ve spent Glasto with?
“I have been able to go backstage a few times here with Coldplay through knowing Chris. But it is more fun to be out and enjoying the festival. You get a weird detached version of the festival [when you’re backstage]. Having said that, I’m not camping, I’m staying in a hotel nearby. I’m 52 and I shouldn’t have to sleep on a plastic sheet. That doesn’t happen until I’m 70! Even glamping I can’t do. I want room service and clean sheets every day.”
And you don’t want to be accosted by fans in the shower queue while you’re in your towel…
“Exactly, although that still happens with my family.”
This interview has been edited for clarity