Billie Eilish's shocking Glastonbury statement revealed as festival celebrates 50th birthday | The Sun

THE world’s No1 music festival missed out on celebrating its 50th birthday as Covid forced organisers Michael and Emily Eavis to cancel Glastonbury in 2020 then again in 2021.

Last year’s event could only be live-streamed online.

As it returns to Worthy Farm next week with acts including youngest-ever head-liner Billie Eilish and veteran Sir Paul McCartney, the father and daughter reflect on five decades of rock history since the very first event in 1970.

In a BBC2 documentary this Sunday — Glastonbury: 50 Years And Counting — they will join Billie, Ed Sheeran, Jay-Z, Stormzy, Noel Gallagher and others to discuss what makes the event so magical.

As American Billie, 20, is seen in the docu being shown round the site, at the Eavis’s Worthy Farm in Somerset, she asks of the rolling fields: “Is that empty s**t?”

But over the years the hallowed turf has played host to some of the most iconic moments in music — while also often being pummelled within an inch of its life as driving rain and welly-booted fans have turned it into a mudbath.

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After refusing to climb up the famous hill that is Glastonbury Tor, Billie says: “I don’t believe it — it is all empty, dude. There’s nothing there. This is what all the fuss is about?”


But she later says of Glasto: “I ignorantly didn’t know how big of a deal it was. You know, most festivals feel like the same thing — but getting to Glastonbury did not feel like a normal festival.”

Eavis senior recalls an awkward chat, soon after the festival’s launch, with his bank.

He tells the docu: “With just £1 per head to come in, it didn’t even cover the show. My bank manager thought I’d gone mad. They were telling me, ‘Quit now, while you are still OK’.

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“But they did believe in what I was doing, too, and I said, ‘No, I’m not quitting’ and told them I’d carry on taking the risk for a few more years until it worked.”

In its second year, David Bowie played and helped put Glasto on the world map.

In footage unearthed in 2000, Ziggy Stardust himself admits: “I spent the whole night in Worthy Farmhouse, with two singers, both very talented. We got stoned out of our gourds.”

Keen to move with the times, in 2008 the Eavises booked US rapper Jay-Z to headline the Pyramid stage.

The move was led by Emily, and Michael now admits he had no clue who Jay-Z was. Emily says: “I wrote out on the fridge, on a bit of paper, ‘J-Z,-double-E’ — I wanted Michael to be able to pronounce it because he kept saying ‘J-Zed’.”

But she adds: “A promoter who runs   shows all over the world said to me, ‘You have completely f***ed this up.  The crowd will be smaller than . . . it won’t even reach the mixing desk’.”

But Jay-Z turned out to be just what had been needed. Emily says: “It just felt like a change of energy, a change of guard. Jay-Z opened the door for many, many artists that we previously wouldn’t have got.”

Following on from Stormzy, Kanye West and Dave, US rapper Kendrick Lamar will take to the Pyramid stage and close this year’s festival on the Sunday.

Heaping praise on Emily’s decision to break the mould with Jay-Z, Ed Sheeran, who headlined the festival in 2017, said: “If you don’t have someone like Billie Eilish or Stormzy headlining then you are really, really out of touch with what kids actually want.

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“That is what Glastonbury have done well — kept their finger on the pulse and not become a dinosaur festival.”

  • Glastonbury: 50 Years And Counting, BBC2 this Sunday from 9pm.


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