Glastonbury’s Sir Michael Eavis says he thought he would turn down knighthood

Glastonbury Festival founder Sir Michael Eavis has said he thought he would turn down his knighthood.

Speaking to the Glastonbury Free Press as this year’s music event gets underway, he said: “I actually always thought I’d turn it down if I was offered it, because I already liked being me.”

Sir Michael, 88, who was knighted in April, added: “It’s (the festival) all going from strength to strength.

“It’s so important that this festival stands for something.

“That’s the guts of the event, really. It’s why we’ve backed the CND (Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament) since 1981.”

Among the new venues this year at Glastonbury is Terminal 1, described as a “re-purposed airport celebrating migration”.

Sir Michael said it is “dealing with the issue of immigration”.

“They’re taking the approach that we can solve it,” he added.

“We can be friendly to these unfortunate people in the boats.

An immersive art installation mocked up to look like an airport teminal
An airport immersive art installation at the Glastonbury Festival (Ben Birchall/PA)

“It’s demonstrating, the whole festival is, really, that you can get on with your neighbour. And they’re putting all of that into a show. Isn’t that amazing?”

Mostly dry conditions and cooling temperatures are predicted across the weekend, after a drone show and fireworks over the Pyramid Stage announced the opening of the festival in Pilton on Wednesday.

Designed by Celestial, a company from the nearby Somerset village of Norton Saint Philip, the show was a new addition for 2024 festival, featuring 576 drones and inspired by themes of peace and togetherness, according to organisers.

People with camping kit walk through barriers to get into the festival
Revellers arrive from nearby Castle Cary train station (Ben Birchall/PA)

A Met Office spokesman told the PA news agency that fans arriving on Thursday can expect conditions to be “a little cloudy” with the “odd spot of rain” before it turns drier with plenty of sunny spells in the afternoon and some isolated showers.

It is expected to be “a little breezy” with a high of 21C.

The weather across the weekend is expected to stay “mostly dry with plenty of sunny spells” and temperatures about average for June, dropping to 18C on Friday before rising to 19C and 21C on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

The festival comes amid planned industrial action by junior doctors, as NHS Somerset offered tips on how to “stay well” during periods of hot weather to help “ease pressure on health and care”.

Chris Martin and two other members of Coldplay on stage
Coldplay come to Glastonbury on Saturday (Peter Byrne/PA)

“We know that services will be under pressure this week,” Dr Bernie Marden, chief medical officer for NHS Somerset, said.

“With Glastonbury Festival also taking place this week and expected warm weather, we are sharing a few reminders about simple steps people can take to look after themselves, and stay healthy and well.”

The main stages at Worthy Farm will not open until Friday, with pop singer Dua Lipa headlining the Pyramid Stage that evening before rock band Coldplay and soul singer SZA play the stage on Saturday and Sunday.

Canadian country star Shania Twain will play the coveted Legends slot on Sunday afternoon.

Hundreds of acts will perform on Thursday, with various smaller stages across the site hosting acts including singer and DJ Shygirl and electronic musician Joy Orbison, who will both appear on dance stage Levels.

Fellow DJ MJ Cole will perform a set at Stonebridge Bar, while London-based artist Shy One will appear on the Glade stage.

The stage had been set to see Groove Armada on Thursday night, but due to the size of crowds expected, the British electronic music duo have been moved for other DJ slots.

Announcing the news on X, the festival’s official account said: “Instead, we encourage you to take in their sets at the larger capacity Glade on Sunday at 8.30pm and B2B with Eats Everything at Levels on Saturday at 6pm. Thank you for your understanding.”

Sir Michael is expected to give his traditional musical performance, covering a series of classics with his band.

Last year hundreds of fans chanted “Michael” as the veteran organise was wheeled on to The Park Stage in an office chair, as he recovered from an operation on his leg.