From near bankruptcy to the world's most famous festival - Glastonbury in Michael Eavis' own words

  • Hear about the story of Glastonbury Festival from its founder Michael Eavis

After the first-ever Glastonbury Festival, organiser Michael Eavis said he was not sure if he would ever put it on again.

The dairy farmer hosted the first festival in 1970 in a bid to make a bit of money while putting on a show.

"Farming is such a dead loss," he said at the time. "We've got to look at other ways of making money."

"It's fun," he said. "Milking cows is fine - getting up in the morning and milking cows but it's not the whole thing in life - you've got to do more than just that."

Glastonbury Festival almost left the Eavis family bankrupt

So in 1970 Michael and his wife Jean charged just £1 a ticket for Worthy Farm's first festival. Punters were offered free milk from the farm as they enjoyed music from Marc Bolan, Keith Christmas and Stackridge.

The duo did it all themselves, with Michael acting as part-farmer, part-security guard, going from setting up the stages to taking money on the gates.

But in the first few years, the event make a loss.

"At the start I thought I'd make some money - but I don't think I will now," Michael told ITV at the time.

The third event in 1979 - which was then known as Glastonbury Fayre - made such a bad loss, the couple almost went bankrupt.

When asked if he'd do it again, he replied "I don't know really".

In an interview with ITV News West Country in 2020, he spoke about the decision to stick it out.

"There was a dream and it was that something I really wanted to do on a whim - and a prayer," he said.

"I thought I'm serious, I'm going to stick this out because this is the moment."

An early version of the Pyramid Stage - built by Michael Eavis himself using telegraph poles

But by the year 2000 the couple were looking forward to retiring in a bid to live a slightly quieter life.

"The local press was pretty hostile at the time," Michael Eavis said. "I could take that at the time but she found it hard."

Sadly Jean died in 1999.

"I thought 'I haven't got a wife, but I've got a festival' so I carried on with it," Michael said in an interview with ITV News after Jean's death.

"I'm not really keen on retiring on my own to be honest with you and the festival is still quite fun.

Now Michael Eavis runs the festival alongside his daughter, Emily.

"She's half my age, but we do get on exceedingly well together," he says.

"There are issues that we disagree on from time to time - not music, it's more functional stuff."