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Michael Eavis at Glastonbury 2005 at the charity launch
Athelstan Joseph Michael Eavis, CBE (born October 17 1935), is an Englishmarker dairy farmer and the founder of the Glastonbury Festivalmarker on his farm.

His family originated from Devonmarker, and after his great grandfather walked the family dairy herd north, settled at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somersetmarker. His father was a Methodist local preacher, while his mother was a school teacher. Eavis was educated at the fee paying Wells Cathedral Schoolmarker, followed by the Thames Nautical Training College after which he joined the Union-Castle Line as a trainee midshipman, part of the British Merchant Navy. His plan was to spend 20 years at sea, returning with a pension to subsidise his income as a farmer. After his father died in 1958, Eavis returned to inherit the family farm of and 60 cows.

Divorcing from his first wife Ruth in 1964 with whom he had three children, in 1969 Eavis and his second wife Jean Hayball visited the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music 1970. Inspired by seeing the performance of Led Zeppelin, they hosted a free festival the following year. This developed into the Glastonbury Festival as it is known today. Jean died in 1999, since then their daughter Emily has taken a more active role in running the event. In common with his mother and his third wife, Eavis remains a committed Methodist chapel-goer.

After recovering from stomach cancer, Eavis stood as a candidate for the Labour Party in the 1997 General Election in the Wells Constituency, polling 10,204 votes. In 2004 however, he suggested that disillusioned Labour voters should switch their vote to the Green Party to protest at the Iraq War.

In November 2006 he was appointed as the president of the Somersetmarker Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Eavis holds honorary degrees from the University of Bathmarker (Doctor of Arts honoris causa, 2004) and the University of Bristolmarker (Master of Arts honoris causa, 2006). Eavis was awarded a CBE in the Queen's 2007 Birthday Honours list.

He has used the profits from the festival to support charitable causes including local projects such as the restoration of the Tithe Barn, Piltonmarker. In November 2008, during an appearance on the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs, Eavis stated that the festival would never lose its licence due to the contribution it makes to the local economy.

In May 2009, Eavis was nominated by Time magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world.

In November 2009, Eavis starred in a short film to promote Somerset, commissioned by inward investment agency Into Somerset.

References

  1. University of Bath - Public Relations - Internal news
  2. Bristol University - Mr Michael Eavis
  3. Rushdie and Eavis lead honours, BBC News, 15 June, 2007
  4. Somerset - where you and your business can grow - Into Somerset website


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