Michael Eavis believes Metallica deserve their headline spot at Glastonbury, as no other band has ever been as "keen" to play the music festival.

Opposition to the band's appearance has been growing due to claims their heavy metal sound does not fit the "hippy" vibe of the festival and their frontman's associations with bear-hunting.

But Mr Eavis, speaking underneath a giant furry bear at Glastonbury's site office, said he was looking forward to watching the band headline, alongside Arcade Fire and Kasabian.

I am looking forward to seeing them. We have been going for so long that people don't expect us to put on a heavy metal band. We had Rage Against The Machine and we have had lots of fairly heavy metal bands in the past but this is not a typical headline. We usually have bands like Radiohead, Coldplay and U2, the Rolling Stones, but I am really looking forward to them. There's no other band in the whole history of the festival that has been so keen to play, they will do the best set of their lives here.

Mr Eavis said the polar bear - leftover from the Greenpeace Area last year - was placed on the site's entrance after it emerged Metallica lead singer James Hetfield had been involved in a bear hunting programme.

There was this hoo-ha about the lead singer of Metallica going bear hunting. He said they were only killing bears that were dangerous to life, I don't know the truth behind that whole saga but one of the team put it there after that. It wasn't me.

Glastonbury Festival opens its gates on Wednesday June 25, with the main bands playing from Friday June 27.