Glastonbury King Made A CBE

Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis has been made a Commander Of The British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

"I’m so pleased, not only for myself, but for the hundreds and perhaps thousands of people who have had faith in me and supported my ideas through thick and thin," he told BBC News as the honours list, which cited his services to music, was published within a week of this year’s festival.

"Most of these [people] I call my friends and I have to thank them particularly for making the Glastonbury Festival so successful.

"I’ve spent 37 years running my show and trying to curry favor with the authorities just to make it happen," Eavis said.

The 72-year-old dairy farmer, who has already been awarded honorary arts degrees by the University of Bath and the University of Bristol, now joins a select band of festival organizers given national titles in recognition of how they’ve developed their events.

Former Roskilde Festival chief Leif Skov was given a knighthood by the Danish government. Jan Smeets of Pinkpop – recognised as the world’s oldest festival – was awarded the same honour by the Dutch government.

Since the early days, Glastonbury has grown and grown. This year it will host more than 175,000 festival-goers.

Eavis told Pollstar he hasn’t had much time to think about the award during the last few days leading up to this year’s festival.

He’s played down Met office forecaster Stewart Wortley’s prediction that heavy downpours will turn the site into the "the normal quagmire" by pointing out that any rain will give the event the chance to test its new drainage system.

"We’ve probably spent £100,000 on the drainage and the flood relief stuff and everything," he commented. "We’ve got huge concrete pipes that will take the water from A to B and then on to the river. Then it goes to Burnham-on-Sea, so it’s a great system."

A previously little-known fact to emerge from the publication of the honours list is that Michael’s real first Christian name is Athelstan, taken from the Saxon king who reigned between 935 and 939 and became the first to rule all of England.

"It comes from my grandfather on my mother’s side. When I started school I was a little nervous about it and, when it came to enrolling, my mother chickened out and said my Christian name was Michael."

Eavis, whose full name appears on the list as Athelstan Joseph Michael Eavis, is due to collect his award at Buckingham Palace in October.

This year’s Glastonbury bill June 22-24 includes The Who, Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, The Killers, Arcade Fire, Amy Winehouse, Paolo Nutini, Kasabian, Dame Shirley Bassey, Iggy And The Stooges, The Kooks and Dirty Pretty Things.

Also on this year’s Birthday Honours list was singer Joe Cocker, who said he was surprised to receive the Order Of The British Empire because he has lived in the U.S. for so long.

"I was genuinely very surprised to hear that I would be receiving the OBE – having lived in America for so long I didn’t even think I would ever be considered for this honour.

"I performed at the Queen’s Party at the Palace in 2002 for the Golden Jubilee, and last month my latest album made the U.K. top 10 for the first time in a long time, and I’m looking forward to playing the Tower of London Festival in July, so these are exciting times for me," Cocker said.