Eavis Sheds Light On Awards

A man who may one day get an award for collecting the most music industry awards ever will need to make space for another, as Virtual Festivals.com is honouring Michael Eavis for his “special contribution” to the U.K. outdoor scene.

Eavis, who founded Glastonbury Festival under its original name of Pilton Festival in 1970, has been “a true pioneer of the outdoor music industry and been a leading light to most of the innovators we see today,” the award citation says.

Eavis reckons he and the festival have dozens of awards between them, such as the CBE the Queen handed him in 2007 as well as various festival awards including a hat-trick of Pollstar’s Best International Festival prizes in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Some might assume he keeps these trophies in a cupboard under the stairs of his farmhouse home, maybe neatly wrapped in the hundreds of pages of newspaper stories about when he’s going to retire, but he says they’re all “in a shed on the lawn.”

“The shed was a playroom for the kids when they were growing up, but now I use it to display the awards and so anyone who wants to see them can go and take a look,” Eavis explained.

He was due to receive the latest gong at Virtual Festivals’ awards bash at IndigO2 – part of London’s O2 Arena complex – Oct. 30.

It’s the first time the Web site has staged a conference the same day as the ceremony. At a time when London is busy with a string of music business gatherings, Virtual founder Steve Jenner opted for a cautious start and the 100-capacity panels sold out days in advance.

The conference is at at the Gibson Showrooms in Rathbone Place. Panelists include Bojan Boškovic from Serbia’s Exit Festival, which won Virtual’s inaugural best European festival award in 2007, and Linnea Svensson from Norway’s Oya Festival.

Virtual is taking a step toward logging every festival that takes place in the world by teaming with Yourope, the European festivals’ organization, and launching a site that will feature thousands of festivals in 45 countries.

The site will be Eu.virtualfestivals.com and launch in time for next year’s outdoor season. Yourope chairman Christof Huber, who also programmes Switzerland’s Open Air St. Galen Festival, spoke on a panel about festivals adopting environmentally friendlier agendas.

London music industry lawyer Ben Challis, who heads the U.K.’s A Greener Festival organization, is on the same panel.