Michael Eavis laments muddiest ever Glastonbury festival

Founder says he hasn’t seen anything like it in the music event’s 46-year history, and says it highlights climate change

Michael Eavis laments muddiest ever Glastonbury festival
Festivalgoers at Glastonbury on Saturday. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Glastonbury has suffered the worst rain and mud since the festival began 46 years ago, consuming the region’s entire supply of woodchip in the process.

Founder Michael Eavis said he will not consider moving the festival to later in the summer to avoid the wet, and blamed the torrential rain that hit the site in the weeks before the gates opened on global warming.

But he said he was amazed at how the 180,000 festivalgoers remained cheery despite the weather. “I drove round the whole site last night. It took right up until 4.30am and the sun was up and there was just thousands of happy people with smiles on their faces despite the adverse conditions. It is extraordinary. I do not know how they do it, but they love it so much,” he said.

“Every single bit of woodchip in the south of England, all of it is here over 1,000 acres. I’ve never seen mud like it in the whole life. This is worse than 1997,” he said, referring to the previously crowned “year of the mud”. “In all 46 years, it hasn’t been as bad as this,” he said.

Michael Eavis laments muddiest ever Glastonbury festival
Michael Eavis arrives on site at Glastonbury 2016. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

The mud was adding 15 minutes or more to journeys between stages, but good humour reigned despite pathways resembling swamps and mud being knee-deep in places.

Among this year’s most surprising guests were Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, who notably distanced himself from the party putsch back in HQ, partying the night away at the silent disco at 3.30am just before getting the first train back to London.

Celebrities spotted included Noel Gallagher, model Cara Delevingne, actor Bradley Cooper and Daisy Lowe.

Eavis promised concerned festival organisers that Glastonbury would remain home of the festival and any move to Longleat safari park in Wiltshire would be temporary, to give Worthy Farm a fallow year to recover.

Talks with Longleat are ongoing, but Eavis said it was not yet a firm plan. “We will be doing something hopefully in 2019, but they [Longleat] came this weekend to look and they are not that impressed,” he said. “This is the home of the festival as far as I’m concerned forever,” he added.

It takes 400 to 500 volunteers to pick up the rubbish, including thousands of miniature laughing gas canisters, out of the grass.

Michael Eavis laments muddiest ever Glastonbury festival
A trolley submerged in mud at Glastonbury 2016. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Eavis said: “All the churn of the ground. Over time it hardens in the sun, then we rotavate the land and pick up more rubbish, including these horrible metal canisters.”

On his wishlist for future festivals is Fleetwood Mac, but they want too much money, he said. “Adele did it for less, Rolling Stones did it for a reasonable rate. We can’t afford to spend £4-5m on people to play. Mick Fleetwood said he would do it himself, but come on. I’d like the rest of the band and they all want to be paid a lot of money,” he said.

Also on his wishlist are Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Roger Waters. Eavis said tabloid reports that the band had been rejected in 2008 before singer Rick Wright died had “nothing to do with reality”. He said he would “work on getting Pink Floyd together again” at Glastonbury.

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