Emily Eavis fights “old guard” in bid for gender equality at Glastonbury

Emily spoke out about Glastonbury's "male dominated" culture at an event in London today

Emily Eavis has spoken out about a lack of gender equality at Glastonbury Festival, describing the “old guard” of the male-dominated festival organisers as “impenetrable.”

Speaking at an event for Industry Day as part of Annie Mac Presents festival at The Moth Club in London, Eavis said she had been described as a “real hassle” by some of her colleagues but added that she was determined to ensure there was greater diversity on the line up.

“It’s a lot of old guys running things, the old bookers,” Eavis said. “They love a beer with the guys, the agents. They do golf days, they do football trips, and there’s a whole brotherhood which is so tight.”


She continued: “It’s impenetrable…I know they are labelling me as a real hassle, and it’s such a hassle. ‘Will you just shut up’ and ‘it wasn’t like this when your dad was in charge’. It’s so annoying.

“But if you want to make progress you just have to do it, and you have to be up for being a bit of an annoyance. Unfortunately, you have to make a massive jump the other way to make the tiniest bit of progress.”

Glastonbury’s Emily and Michael Eavis

An ambassador for Keychange, an initiative which aims to transform the future of women in the music industry, Eavis has been a strong advocate of promoting gender equality at Glastonbury.

She went on: “[It] means being really pushy with [the bookers]. It’s the tiniest bit of progress. We are nowhere near where we need to be. We’re making slow progress but there’s a long way to go.”

The panel also featured NME Editor, Charlotte Gunn who spoke out of her experiences of gender imbalance in the music industry: “I’ve been told I’m not ‘tough’ enough to be editor. Not ‘ballsy’ enough. But there’s not just one way to lead. Roles that have traditionally been held by men have often been run in one way, but women can bring something different to the table.”


Earlier this month, it was revealed that Stormzy, The Killers and The Cure would headline Glastonbury this summer.

Despite the male-dominated headliners, 42% of the acts on the line-up were female, reflecting the festival’s push to offer a more gender-balanced line-up. Adele was the last female to top the Pyramid Stage when she played in 2016. Eavis also spoke about the need to propel women to that ‘headline’ status because the pool of potential female headliners is still really small.

Female acts announced to play the festival this year include Kylie, Janele Monae and Janet Jackson, who recently pushed herself up the festival bill by altering the festival’s line-up poster.