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European Angus members and guests tune in to tales from Glastonbury founder at AGM

7th April 2014

Farm diversification on an altogether different scale was the theme for this year’s European Angus Cattle Society AGM and lecture with Michael Eavis the founder of the Glastonbury Music Festival the special guest speaker at this year’s event.

Held at the Ballinderry Inn, Moira on Thursday, 3rd of April, Michael took the assembled audience through a potted history of the famous music festival which is now into its 44th year and also outlined how he balances the hosting of some of the world’s top music acts  with the running of a large Dairy farm.

The Eavis family has been associated with farming at Pilton in Somerset since 1864 and Worthy Farm, as it is known, takes in a total of 540 acres.

It takes in the region of 1,200 acres for the staging of the Glastonbury Festival so Michael rents a further 600 plus acres from neighbouring farmers to accommodate the music spectacular.

“I am working with about 22 local farmers in total operating on 10 year deals,” explained Michael.

But the letting of land is not the only extra income being generated for local farmers in the region. Some have got involved with providing specialist accommodation on their farms for ‘high-end’ visitors to the show whilst another local farmer has branched out into stage building – a skill he picked up whilst helping out as a young man at the Glastonbury event.

Michael Eavis’ company employs in the region of  150 people at the moment but that figure will rise to more than 20,000 as the Festival approaches, generating around £100million in income for the region.

“The Festival itself turns over in the region of £32million a year and it costs just over £30million to stage,” added Michael who continues to support a number of what he describes as ‘Worthy’ causes including Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid.

Michael explained that he was something of a reluctant farmer to begin with.
“I went off to sea when I was 15 but returned to run the farm at the age of 19 when my father became ill,” he said.
Whilst admitting to not having milked a cow in some 20 years now at 78 he still remains very much ‘hands-on’ in the running of both businesses.

“I have a great team around me both in relation to the running of the farm and the music side of the business,” continued Michael who intends to keep hold of the reins for another few years yet. “I am hoping to do another six years – that would give me 50 years of running the show, and anyway, what else would I do?
“Sitting in a deckchair doesn’t appeal to me.”

Commenting on the lecture, European Angus Cattle Society secretary, Harry McGaffin said: “It was great to have Michael with us and to be given insight into a farm diversification scheme as interesting as this one.
“On behalf of the European Angus Cattle Society I would like to thank Michael for taking time out of his busy schedule to be with us.”

At the European Angus AGM and lecture are, from left, Paul Turley, Downpatrick, Derek Shaw, Director and Board Member of the North Australian Pastoral Company, guest speaker,  Michael Eavis from Glastonbury Festivals and Harry McGaffin, Secretary of the European Angus Cattle Society.

Pictured at the European Angus Cattle Society AGM and lecture are, from left, David Lester, Armagh, William Dickson and Hugh Dickson, Moneyrea, guest speaker, Michael Eavis, Chris Kelsall and Robert Steenson from Killylea.

A section of the audience at the European Angus AGM and lecture.

Glastonbury founder, Michael Eavis speaking at the European Angus Cattle Society AGM.

Michael Eavis with Ruth Lutton (left) and Joanne McGaffin at the European Angus AGM and lecture.

Kenneth Mathers, (left) from Banbridge and Robert Wilson, Randalstown, pictured with guest speaker, Michael Eavis of Glastonbury Festivals at the European Angus AGM and lecture.

Glastonbury founder, Michael Eavis (centre) with Harry McGaffin, Secretary of the European Angus Cattle Society and Kathy McGaffin at the Society’s recent AGM.

 



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