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Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Thursday, 5 August 2010 10:44 UK
Eavis defends singing at Glastonbury with Stevie Wonder

By Rebecca Cafe
BBC Somerset

Singing in front of people is always a daunting experience, so you can hardly blame Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis for being nervous when he sang with Stevie Wonder live on stage.

Michael Eavis with Stevie Wonder
Michael Eavis joined Stevie Wonder sang Happy Birthday live on stage

With merely two hours' notice, Michael joined the soul star for his rendition of Happy Birthday as part of the festival's 40th anniversary celebrations.

Since then, many people have joked about his singing voice, asking him if he can sing in tune.

Michael is adamant he can, saying: "Obviously I was very flattered and I do sing a lot - I'm not afraid of singing - but the techie people didn't give me an ear plug.

"There was millions of people cheering at me which is lovely, and I couldn't hear the tune so I was having to wing it.

"And of course being a singer anyway - we do the chapel thing every Sunday, singing hymns and really enjoying ourselves - and so I can sing in tune but I didn't know what the tune was. So I was just lip reading it and making the best of it."

Stevie Wonder wasn't the first person to ask Michael for a duet either; the previous night's headliners Muse also asked if he would sing John Lennon's Imagine with them.

Said Michael: "But then they changed their minds so I got dropped by Muse and taken on by Stevie Wonder - wasn't that good?!"

Booked headliners

Now that that's cleared up, Michael declared - as he does every year - that this year's festival was the best ever.

The Edge with Matt Bllamy from Muse
The Edge of U2 joined Muse's Matt Bellamy on stage at this year's event

"It was absolutely fantastic, it really was the best we've ever had. People always say that, but the weather was the best we've had for 20 years.

"The other side (Shangri La, Arcadia and Block 9) was fantastic. That's not the main attraction, but those things are gaining strength. It was a huge investment but people love that sort of thing.

"Although it is very good to get headline artists, like Stevie Wonder and Muse, that's not the whole story. There's a lot more going on at Glastonbury and that's why we're so popular."

Talking of headline acts, two of the three main performers have already been booked. Unfortunately he would not give any clues as to who they might be; all he would say was that he was "absolutely thrilled" and that they will top this year's event.

He did confirm that he has asked U2 if they would like to headline the Pyramid Stage on the Friday night, but he is still waiting to see if they are available.

But that's not Michael's main concern at the moment as this weekend sees his other event, Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza, take place.

Musical extravaganza

The event features two nights of music and is seen as a thank you to the town for putting up with the chaos that the main festival brings.

Although Saturday's event with Madness headlining has sold out, Sunday's classical show still has many tickets for sale.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is performing with violinist Nicola Benedetti, someone whom Michael is a fan of.

"She's a great star. We're really lucky to have her."

Despite the classical night historically being difficult to sell tickets for, Michael does not want to drop it and replace it with more well-known acts.

"It is an extra liability for me as we have to sell the tickets to make it work. We have loads of tickets left.

"I thought about dropping it (the classical music night) but I do feel the abbey is suited to the classical music. It has that classical tradition; the first Christian church, King Arthur... that all lends itself to classical music.

"We have to keep it going as I think it's a very valuable evening's entertainment. We can't sell that night out, it would be wonderful if we could but if we sell 5 or 6,000 tickets I'll be happy.

"The Sunday format is tried and test with the water, fireworks, big screens and orchestra. I want people to just turn up on the day, and enjoy themselves."




SEE ALSO
Glastonbury hopes for U2 return
27 Jun 10 |  Entertainment & Arts
Stevie Wonder thrills Glastonbury
28 Jun 10 |  Entertainment & Arts
Audio slideshow: Festival at 40
23 Jun 10 |  People & Places

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