Glastonbury Festival 2022: Emily Eavis says Stormzy’s 2019 main performance was ‘a bit late’

Glastonbury Festival co-organizer Emily Eavis said Stormzy’s famous 2019 performance on the Pyramid Stage was “a bit late” and should have come sooner. The grime artist and rapper played a single in 2019, becoming the first black solo British headliner in the festival’s history.

Speaking in a new BBC Two documentary, celebrating 50 years of the festival at Worthy Farm, Ms Eavis, the daughter of Festival founder Michael Eavis, said: “He represented the black community at a predominantly white and obviously it’s a really important moment for us, but maybe it’s also a bit late. We probably should have done it before.”

During the performance, Stormzy, 28, thanked a number of black rappers and MCs (masters of ceremonies) who had inspired him during his career. Reflecting on that powerful moment, Eavis said: “For me, a truly amazing moment was when he stood in the audience and recited all the names of the other MCs in Britain.

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“At that time, it felt like it was kind of opening the doors to the future, it was like, when he did that, it opened the doors for the kids watching at home, or people who would actually think it wasn’t a festival for me, but maybe it’s now.”

Speaking about his performance in the documentary, Stormzy said: “There was a lot of pressure and there was a lot of pressure on it… (it’s going to) be the first time a lot of people have watched an hour and a half of a young man black with something to say.” The documentary’s director and producer, Francis Whately, spoke of Eavis’ influence on the festival, which his father Michael founded in 1970, saying she “brought him in in the 21st century”.

“I think Emily has a really tough job, don’t you, because she has a dad named Eavis, who is a strong, strong, strong character, so Emily has a tough act to follow , but she does it incredibly well,” he said. “She’s so modest that, like her dad, she gets by and you don’t really know what she does but she does everything behind the scenes.

Stormzy performs in the headliner on the Pyramid Stage on day three of the 2019 Glastonbury Festival

“She’s such a soft sole, just like Nick (Dewy), that they kind of underpin what the festival has become.” Eavis is responsible for booking a number of influential artists to the festival over the past two decades, including Jay Z and Billie Eilish.

Of Eavis becoming co-organizer of the festival and following in her father’s footsteps, Whately said: ‘She accepted the job of this great man. And she did it incredibly well. And Jay Z’s decision was very brave and she walked out and then Kanye and Stormzy.

The director, who is also responsible for the acclaimed David Bowie Five Years documentary trilogy, spoke of the changes in society that Glastonbury has reflected in recent years. He said: “I think it’s always reflected that, and I think what’s come out recently is that they’ve sort of caught up to their time.

“So whether it’s with Stormzy or a 50/50 gender split… They’ve always tried to reflect what’s going on in society and in the music industry. And I think they did. to a greater or lesser extent, and sometimes they’re successful and sometimes they’re slightly behind, and often they’re slightly ahead, so I think that’s a really good barometer of what’s going on in the bigger music scene .

Eavis said: “All the time it’s changing and evolving, and it’s never the same. And so, people are right when they say ‘It’s changed, it’s not like before’. Because that’s not what it used to be. »

Jan G. Gilbert