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Emily Eavis: Having two female Glastonbury headliners has been a passion project

Emily Eavis opened the gates on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset (Yui Mok/PA)
Emily Eavis opened the gates on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset (Yui Mok/PA)

Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis has said securing two female headliners for this year’s festival has been a “passion project” for her.

The daughter of the festival’s founder, Sir Michael Eavis, opened the gates of Worthy Farm to thousands of excited revellers on Wednesday morning as a brass band played and the sun shone down upon the fields.

Speaking to broadcaster Lauren Laverne for BBC Radio 6 Music afterwards, Eavis said: “Isn’t it lovely, it’s just so magic. These conditions for gate opening is just so perfect.”

Eavis revealed she always finds the opening moments “very moving” after preparing for the festival throughout the year.

She added: “So much anticipation and it’s such a journey to get to this point.

“All of the tickets in the autumn and then the build up and the excitement and the outrage, and all of the things it takes to get to here in the year, and then everything that we’ve worked towards… I love it.

“It’s always one of my favourite moments letting people in and just seeing everyone flood the site and just put their tents up so quickly.”

This year’s event will see headline performances from global stars including pop singer Dua Lipa, British rock band Coldplay and American soul singer SZA, while Canadian country star Shania Twain will play the coveted Legends slot.

Eavis said every year of the festival has “such a different identity”.

“This one has been, I suppose, it’s the first we’ve got two female headliners, which is something that has been a bit of a passion project for me. So that’s a big one.

“And I think also, it’s about peace. We’ve got loads of different peace moments. We’ve got a peace procession on Friday.

“We’ve got a peace moment tomorrow morning to kick off the The Green Fields.”

The festival will also feature a call for peace, led by performance artist Marina Abramovic, on the festival’s main stage on Friday.

Eavis’s father, Sir Michael, founded the festival on his Somerset farm in 1970 and is still involved, but his daughter and her husband Nick Dewey take on the majority of the organisation.

The 44-year-old admitted that when she was younger she could not have been bribed to take on the festival as she found it “terrifying” but she now feels like she has grown with event.

She said: “What was a completely out of control wild ride in the 80s is now a beast, but it’s a beast that we understand and we know how to manage and we’ve got teams of people that work here all year.

“In those days, everybody who worked here had a full-time job, and they just came for the weekend. There wasn’t any full-time employment in terms of having an office, everything was run through the kitchen.”

Eavis praised her “amazing team” who have worked all year to make the festival a reality, saying: “Everyone is important, every single person.”

Festivalgoers can expect “mostly warm, dry and settled” weather for the next five days but scattered showers could begin from day one and last until the end of the weekend, according to the Met Office.

Dua Lipa at the Brits
Dua Lipa will headline Friday night (James Manning/PA)

Other attractions at the festival, which runs from Wednesday until Sunday, include speeches, film screenings and Q&As, circus performances, comedy sets and more.

Rock band Squeeze will open the Pyramid Stage on Friday at midday, followed by rising star Olivia Dean, K-pop group Seventeen and singer Paul Heaton.

Later on, PJ Harvey and LCD Soundsystem will warm up for Dua Lipa as she headlines the main stage on Friday night – her Pyramid Stage debut.

The 28-year-old pop star is expected to treat revellers to a selection of her hit songs, including Houdini and Training Season from her third studio album, Radical Optimism, released earlier this year.

Rapper SZA in a posh frock
SZA will close out the festival on Sunday (Ian West/PA)

On Saturday, the main stage will welcome Nigerian stars Femi Kuti and Ayra Starr, followed by US ’80s chart-topper Cyndi Lauper and rock band Keane.

Mercury Prize winner Michael Kiwanuka and British rapper Little Simz will also play on the Pyramid Stage in the evening before Coldplay top the bill.

It will mark the rock band’s first Pyramid Stage appearance since 2016 and will make them the first act to headline Glastonbury five times.

The main stage on the final day will open with a performance by Interlinked Ballet, with Seasick Steve and Paloma Faith set to play in the afternoon.

Shania Twain wearing a yellow dress
Canadian country star Shania Twain will play the coveted Legends slot (Ian West/PA)

They will be followed by Twain, who is expected to play her hits including Man! I Feel Like A Woman!, You’re Still The One and That Don’t Impress Me Much in the prestigious Legends slot.

US singer and actress Janelle Monae and Nigerian singer Burna Boy will take over for the evening session before SZA closes out the Pyramid Stage with her hits including Saturn and Kill Bill.

The US singer, real name Solana Imani Rowe, who was named international artist of the year at the Brit Awards in March, will be making her debut at the festival this year.

Coldplay singer Chris Martin dancing on stage
Coldplay will headline the festival for the fifth time (Peter Byrne/PA)

A number of slots across the schedule have been left as “TBA”, including a space at 6pm on Saturday on the Woodsies stage.

In previous years, acts such as the Foo Fighters, The Killers and Radiohead have surprised festival-goers in these secret slots.

The festival will also pay tribute to DJ Annie Nightingale, the first female presenter on BBC Radio 1, who died in January at the age of 83.

Her life will be celebrated with a special event across two stages at the Somerset festival on June 27, including a daytime celebration on The Glade stage, featuring King Of The Beats and Paper Dragon, before moving to the BBC Introducing stage for the evening festivities.

– The 2024 event runs from June 26 to 30 at the 900-acre Worthy Farm in Somerset.