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Metallica 'keenest' for Glastonbury

Michael Eavis believes Metallica deserve their headline spot at Glastonbury, as no other band has ever been as "keen" to play the music festival.

Opposition to the band's appearance has been growing due to claims their heavy metal sound does not fit the "hippy" vibe of the festival and their frontman's associations with bear-hunting.

But Mr Eavis, speaking underneath a giant furry bear at Glastonbury's site office, said he was looking forward to watching the band headline, alongside Arcade Fire and Kasabian.

"I am looking forward to seeing them," the 78-year-old said. "We have been going for so long that people don't expect us to put on a heavy metal band.

"We had Rage Against The Machine and we have had lots of fairly heavy metal bands in the past but this is not a typical headline.

"We usually have bands like Radiohead, Coldplay and U2, the Rolling Stones, but I am really looking forward to them.

"There's no other band in the whole history of the festival that has been so keen to play, they will do the best set of their lives here."

Mr Eavis said the polar bear - leftover from the Greenpeace Area last year - was placed on the site's entrance after it emerged Metallica lead singer James Hetfield had been involved in a bear hunting programme.

"There was this hoo-ha about the lead singer of Metallica going bear hunting," he said.

"He said they were only killing bears that were dangerous to life, I don't know the truth behind that whole saga but one of the team put it there after that. It wasn't me."

Glastonbury fans will experience improvements to the festival site, including a bespoke 4G network and app with features such as live streams of BBC coverage, both powered by festival technology partner EE.

"We are trying to make things better all the time. Things change every year according to the band," Mr Eavis added.

Mr Eavis, who likes to graze his 400-strong dairy herd for 100 days a year on his pastures, barely sleeps through the festival.

Organisers across the country spend 12 months planning the rural Somerset event, which welcomes 135,000 music fans.

During the festival, Mr Eavis walks 12 hours every day around the 1,200-acre site to soak up as much as possible, including his favourite haunts.

"At 2.30 in the morning the Bullring, which is built from old lock gates from Devizes, is a lively place to be," he said.

"I have never seen anything like it. There's a gardening and herb area run by proper gardeners and that is particularly lovely at 4.30am.

"I don't camp, I'm on my legs the whole time. Setting up takes a whole year so when it happens I can't miss anything, I have to see every small thing."

In the run up to the festival, Mr Eavis is a constant fixture on the site, greeting volunteers with a friendly wave and shouts of recognition.

"Some people have been coming here since they were 12 and they are now in their 60s," he said.

"They wouldn't miss it for the world. They drop everything to be here just for a few weeks. It is the best place in the world.

"I do recognise them but I can't say I know all of the names."

Mr Eavis, who first hosted the event in 1970, is still cautious of its longevity at Worthy Farm.

"The main thing is that it has been going for 44 years and it is still going," he said. "I always approach the festival as if it is the last one, there are so many things that could happen.

"Cattle disease or other diseases - all these things could actually prevent us from carrying on, but I have said that for the last 44 years.

"I have a degree of optimism but I am realistic to know that things could go wrong at any time."

Glastonbury Festival opens its gates on Wednesday June 25, with the main bands playing from Friday June 27.


From Belfast Telegraph