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Billie Eilish’s shocking Glastonbury statement revealed as festival celebrates 50th anniversary

THE world’s No. 1 music festival missed celebrating its 50th birthday as Covid forced organizers Michael and Emily Eavis to cancel Glastonbury in 2020 and then again in 2021.

Last year’s event could only be streamed live online.

Billie Eilish this year becomes the youngest artist ever to headline Glastonbury

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Billie Eilish this year becomes the youngest artist ever to headline GlastonburyPhoto credit: Getty
Jay-Z proved to be just what it needed when he headlined in 2008

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Jay-Z proved to be just what it needed when he headlined in 2008Photo credit: Rex
Covid forced organizers Michael and Emily Eavis to cancel Glastonbury in 2020 and then again in 2021

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Covid forced organizers Michael and Emily Eavis to cancel Glastonbury in 2020 and then again in 2021Photo credit: Getty

When it returns to Worthy Farm next week with acts like recent headliner Billie Eilish and veteran Sir Paul McCartney, the father and daughter will reflect on five decades of rock history since the very first event in 1970.

In a BBC2 documentary this Sunday – Glastonbury: 50 Years And Counting – they will join Billie, Ed Sheeran, Jay-Z, Stormzy, Noel Gallagher and more to discuss what makes the event so magical.

When American Billie, 20, is seen in the documentary being shown on the grounds at Eavis’s Worthy Farm in Somerset, she asks the rolling fields: “Is that empty?”

But over the years, the hallowed turf has hosted some of music’s most iconic moments – while often being beaten by just an inch of its life as torrential rain and wellington boot fans turned it into a mud bath.

After refusing to climb the famous Glastonbury Tor hill, Billie says: “I don’t believe it – it’s all empty dude. There is nothing. Is that what all the fuss is about?”

ZIGGY STARDUST

But she later says of Glasto: “I didn’t know how big the business was out of ignorance. You know, most festivals feel like the same thing – but coming to Glastonbury didn’t feel like a normal festival.”

Eavis senior recalls an awkward chat with his bank just after the festival kicked off.

He tells the doc: “At just £1 a head, the show didn’t even get covered. My bank manager thought I had gone insane. They told me: “Stop while you’re still fine”.

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“But they also believed in what I was doing, and I said, ‘No, I’m not quitting,’ and told them I’d take the risk for a few more years until it worked.”

In his sophomore year, David played Bowie and helped put Glasto on the world map.

In footage unearthed in 2000, Ziggy Stardust himself admits: “I spent the whole night at the Worthy Farmhouse with two singers, both very talented. We got stoned from our pumpkins.”

To keep up with the times, the Eavises booked US rapper Jay-Z to headline the Pyramid stage in 2008.

The move was spearheaded by Emily and Michael now admits he had no idea who Jay-Z was. Emily says, “I wrote ‘JZ,-double-E’ on a piece of paper on the fridge — I wanted Michael to be able to pronounce it because he kept saying ‘J-Zed’.”

But she adds: “One promoter who does shows all over the world said to me, ‘You completely screwed that up. The amount will be less than . . . it won’t even reach the mixer.

But Jay-Z proved to be exactly what was needed. Emily says, “It just felt like a shift in energy, a changing of the guard. Jay-Z has opened the door to many, many artists that we wouldn’t have had before.”

After Stormzy, Kanye West and Dave, US rapper Kendrick Lamar will take the Pyramid stage and close this year’s festival on Sunday.

Ed Sheeran, who headlined the festival in 2017, praised Emily’s decision to break new ground with Jay-Z, saying, “Unless you’ve got somebody like Billie Eilish or Stormzy headlining, then you’re really, really not in touch with what children really want.

“That’s what Glastonbury has done well – staying on the cutting edge and not becoming a dinosaur festival.”

  • Glastonbury: 50 Years And Counting, BBC2 this Sunday from 9pm.
A pyramid stage was used for the first time at the Glastonbury Festival in 1971

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A pyramid stage was used for the first time at the Glastonbury Festival in 1971Photo credit: Getty
50 years later the festival looks very different

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50 years later the festival looks very differentPhoto credit: Getty
In his sophomore year, David played Bowie and helped put Glasto on the world map

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In his sophomore year, David played Bowie and helped put Glasto on the world mapPhoto credit: Getty
In 2000 he performed again

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In 2000 he performed againPhoto credit: Getty

https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/5554830/billie-eilish-glastonbury-birthday/ Billie Eilish’s shocking Glastonbury statement revealed as festival celebrates 50th anniversary

Aila Slisco

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