6 Music presenter Matt Everitt speaks to Headliner about all things Glastonbury 2022, shares some unique insights into what the festival looks like from the eyes of a BBC broadcaster and reveals how he (almost) convinced Prince to perform at Worthy Farm…
Matt Everitt has experienced Glastonbury from pretty much every conceivable position. A Worthy Farm regular for over 30 years, he’s attended as a fan, performed the hallowed grounds as drummer with Menswear and The Montrose Avenue, and more recently, has served as an essential cog in the BBC’s unrivalled Glastonbury coverage. The 6 Music presenter can typically be found hopping between stages, chatting to everyone from headline artists to the people who hand paint the bins, about all things Glasto as part of his live broadcasts. With the exception of the Eavis’, there probably aren’t many who can lay claim to a superior knowledge of the festival: a point illustrated by a 2020 appearance on Celebrity Mastermind, in which Glastonbury was his specialist subject (for which he scored a not too shabby eight points). Needless to say, he’s excited to get back to what is arguably the most hotly-anticipated edition of the festival in its history, being the 50th anniversary outing after a two-year Covid-enforced absence.
“I’ve really missed it,” a beaming Everitt says as he joins us over Zoom from his Surrey home. “Without putting the big BBC hat on, it’s brilliant to be doing it as part of the BBC. Because the BBC stuff is so broad, we have a brilliant job to do in bringing the festival into people’s lives and homes. If someone had said to me back when I first started going in the early ‘90s that you could stay at home and watch something from pretty much every stage all day every day, I’d think it was the best thing in the world, and the BBC does an amazing job: the sound is brilliant, the way it is shot is fantastic, the journalists and presenters are great. I cannot wait!
“There is a lot to cynical about in the music industry, but coming off the back of everything the music industry has been through, it’s very difficult to be cynical about Glastonbury. It gives £3 million a year to charity, it’s non-corporate sponsored – it’s Water Aid, Greenpeace and Oxfam – they give so much. It’s the very best of us, the atmosphere, the spirit and the way people look after each other. Is it the onlything I’m not cynical about in the music industry? It might be!”
From the outside, the festival may look like it has grown and evolved dramatically over the past half a century, but according to Everitt, Glastonbury has maintained its unique spirit by protecting the elements that have been there from day one. Yes, the Pyramid Stage is often a star-studded affair adorned with some of the biggest international pop icons on the planet, but their presence simply adds to the festival’s eclecticism, as opposed to diluting its extremities.
“It still feels the same,” Everitt says. “When I first started going there were some pretty lawless corners, but you never felt unsafe. It still feels the same. Part of it is the details. The same person does the signage who’s always done the signage; they still hand paint the litter bins; everybody really looks after each environment you’re in. It’s an organism, and the team behind it work hard. There was a tendency when boutique festivals started to get more popular when they thought, ‘we can just drape some flowers around a pole and hang a couple of flags up and it’ll feel boutique’… and it didn’t work. Whereas Glastonbury would invest and put so much love into every element.
“If you’re a band and you’ve played Glastonbury, you know how special it can be, so you walk on stage carrying that with you. You know what it can be. If you play Glastonbury and you’ve never been there before, you walk out and it hits you, whether you’re Dolly Parton or Lionel Ritchie, or a new, scruffy band, it will hit you in the same way, and it changes the performances. It can bring something out of you that you won’t get at any other event.”