Glastonbury’s Sheelagh Allen Retires
Sheelagh Allen worked her last day as personal assistant to Glastonbury Festival chief Michael Eavis Sept. 26. She’d worked at the festival office at Worthy Farm in Somerset for 32 years, where on her last day staff held a tea party in her honour.
Visitors to the site were often surprised to find the world’s most famous music festival was run from a ramshackle lean-to built onto the farmhouse, which has its back door in what was Allen’s office.
“I thought I was coming down to answer the phones, but like Topsy it grew and grew. Everything was done from the farmhouse then, so I started doing paperwork for the market traders, then I took on the VAT returns, and eventually I was full time, handling all the phone calls and enquiries,” she told the Western Daily Press. “I had no training for anything like that, no secretarial skills, just commons sense. I became the last port of call before Michael.
“It’s a tiny office, very basic, but I’ve never wanted to move. Even in the late eighties any faxes from agents for the bands used to go to an office in Shepton Mallet and they’d post them on. When we finally got a fax machine here, the very first one we received said: ‘Congratulations, welcome to the real world.’”
Eavis told the tea party gathering, “Sheelagh’s marathon of 30 years and more has seen the festival change from a damaged collection of political refugees of the eighties to what it is now. “Somehow we miraculously survived those years intact. Sheelagh was always there coping with the front desk – filtering phone calls and being as loyal and discreet as anyone could possibly be.”
He told Allen she’d been “such an anchor and such a key part of the fabric of the festival and the farm – and always will be.”