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 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?
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.