Emily Eavis reveals Glastonbury could have closed in the 90s

In the second Glastonbury special of Sidetracked, Annie Macmanus and Nick Grimshaw sit down with festival organiser Emily Eavis in front of the Pyramid Stage.

In the in-depth interview ahead of the festival, they discuss everything from the weirdest thing found in lost property and how they predict the weather, to why the festival nearly closed, the next fallow year and Emily’s dream Glastonbury headliner.

Discussing how it nearly came to an end in the 90s, Emily says: “Do you know what, the festival was always going to end ‘that year’. In the 90s, my parents were like; ‘this is the last one’. And it wasn’t some stunt to sell tickets, they genuinely were like we probably won’t do another.

“So that was lovely because it kind of felt like there was this fresh, amazing appreciation of each year, because it’ll probably end. And then we used to decide at the beginning of every year and go on sale in April, and book all the bands.

“I mean it was all so condensed into this couple of months. And then it was only really when my mum died in 1999 that I came back to help. I was at Goldsmiths studying to be a teacher and I came back to help my dad then. And then he was like, I think I might need the festival now. Because they were going to retire and go on long cruises, but my dad was like listen, let’s keep it going for a couple more years.”

Emily agreed to help but didn’t think she’d still be doing it decades on but is glad it worked out that way because it changed their mindset, and it has been a lifeline for them.

She says that she has a good idea as to who will headline next year, and they may have a fallow year in 2026.

“We are due a fallow year. The fallow year is important because it gives the land a rest, it gives the cows a chance to be out for longer and reclaim their land. And I think it’s important it just gives everybody a little time to just switch off. And the public as well. I know we’re in the middle of it, but it is a lot isn’t it. And they you go away for a bit, and it feels lovely when you come back.”

As for her dream headliner, Emily reveals she would love it to be Kate Bush and has already put it out there to see what happens.

Sidetracked with Annie and Nick is available every Thursday on BBC Sounds. There is also a series of Glastonbury-themed bonus episodes called Sidetracked by Glastonbury available every Monday on BBC Sounds and in vision on BBC iPlayer.

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