Wednesday 23 October 2019

Emily Eavis says male-dominated culture at Glastonbury feels ‘impenetrable’

The festival’s organiser said an ‘old guard’ continues to reign.

Emily Eavis (Ian West/PA)
Emily Eavis (Ian West/PA)

By Alex Green, Press Association Entertainment Reporter

Glastonbury Festival organiser Emily Eavis has described the male-dominated culture at the event as “impenetrable”.

The daughter of festival founder Michael Eavis said she faced an “old guard” of men in charge of building the festival and booking its stages.

Eavis said she had been labelled a “real hassle” by some colleagues but was determined to promote female artists, book female headliners and introduce more women into the team.

I know they are labelling me as a real hassle, and it's such a hassle. ‘Will you just shut up’ and ‘It wasn't like this when your dad was in charge’ Emily Eavis

Speaking at an event organised by BBC Radio 1 host Annie Mac, she said: “Some of them are just a bit old guard. It’s a lot of old guys running things, the old bookers.

“They love a beer with the guys, the agents. They do golf days, they do football trips, and there’s a whole brotherhood which is so tight. It’s impenetrable. It feels like it. I’m like, ‘Come on’.

“I know they are labelling me as a real hassle, and it’s such a hassle. ‘Will you just shut up’ and ‘It wasn’t like this when your dad was in charge’.

“It’s so annoying. But if you want to make progress you just have to do it, and you have to be up for being a bit of an annoyance.

“Unfortunately, you have to make a massive jump the other way to make the tiniest bit of progress.

We're making slow progress but there's a long way to go Emily Eavis

“That means me being really pushy with these people. It’s the tiniest bit of progress. We are nowhere near where we need to be.

“We’re making slow progress but there’s a long way to go.”

Eavis is an ambassador for Keychange, a talent development initiative which aims to empower women to transform the future of the music industry.

She has been striving for a 50/50 gender balance across Glastonbury’s line-up but in January admitted they were “a little way off”.

Eavis added: “The thing about the men who book (our) stages, quite a lot of them are old men. They don’t understand why I am pushing them the whole time.

“When one of them presented a line-up this year, they were like, ‘Right, I’m done, this is it.’

“And I was just like, ‘I’m really sorry but you’re just going to have to take some of those blokes off. Where are the women?’

“There were no girls, where are the women? Come on, for God’s sake.”

Record label bosses, promoters and journalists also spoke at the Annie Mac Presents London Conference Day at the Moth Club in Hackney, east London.

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