Life

Radio review: Emily Eavis's Glastonbury childhood

Nuala McCann

Desert Island Discs Emily Eavis Radio 4

How do you pin down a life lived to such a musical backtrack?

It was a captivating story – with highs and lows.

Emily Eavis was born into Glastonbury.

Her parents – Jean and Michael - ran it from their Somerset dairy farm and, indeed, 1979, the year she was born, was the festival's “Year of the Child”.

At five, she appeared on the world famous Pyramid stage playing Twinkle, Twinkle on her violin.

In Desert Island Discs, she shared memories of growing up in the 1980, listening to Astral Weeks.

She remembers going off in the car with her parents, to pick Van up from the train station - yes, that's Van Morrison.

She remembers them discussing the set list with him and she'd be sitting in the back of the car chipping in.

But she didn't think throwing a huge festival at your house was so wonderful back then.

She'd look at all the kids at school and think: “You don't have this thing of just inviting all these people into your garden once a year.”

In the 1980s, the festival was not always popular locally. Eavis said she got used to having people shouting at them as they drove through the village.

Her music choices were beautiful

She chose Bob Dylan's: “You're gonna make me lonesome when you go” for her mother who died from cancer in 1999.

It was a month before the festival when she died. Her parents had been planning to retire in 2000.

She has a store of sad and funny festival moments – like driving around in the rain and the squelching mud trying to persuade people to stay.

Another magical Dylan song - Winterlude – was her first dance with her husband at their wedding.

Glastonbury is about giving back too - £3m went to charity in 2017 alone.

Her ultimate Glastonbury moment? That would be David Bowie in 2000 of course.

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