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Music

Why Fleetwood Mac turned down Glastonbury

@josephtaysom

For decades, people have been begging for Fleetwood Mac to make their way to Worthy Farm to perform on the hallowed Glastonbury stage. The green fields of Somerset have been begging for Stevie Nicks and co to make their way down to the iconic festival and, for a while, it seemed to be inevitable. That was until the band had second thoughts.

Glastonbury began as a modest event back in 1970 and carried on from where its predecessors Woodstock and Isle Of Wight left off. Initially, it was a hippie’s utopia and completely different from the institution it’s become today. Back then, tickets were just £1 to attend, and only 1,500 people were willing to pay the fee.

The following year, 12,000 people made the pilgrimage towards Pilton, and the festival began to make a reputation. Every passing festival morphed into a more significant event, and now, it’s an institution that has become a right of passage for both bands and music lovers. Unlike other festivals, Glastonbury doesn’t attempt to make an obscene profit. Most proceeds go to charity, and any leftover money is held in a cash reserve — something which helped save their future during the pandemic.

This summer, the Somerset bash will be celebrating its 50th anniversary, which was supposed to go ahead in 2020, and Paul McCartney is among the names who are confirmed to appear. However, initially, Fleetwood Mac were heavily muted to take part.

It was later revealed that the group refused to accept due to the low fee on offer by the charitable festival. A source close to the Somerset event told The Sun in 2019: “Michael Eavis is a huge fan and really, really wanted to make it work. He knew getting them on board for the 50th anniversary would be extra special and conversations were positive.

“They even hinted at it on stage when they played Wembley in June, joking to fans they still had, ‘a big field to play at a rained-out festival in England next year’.”

The source continued: “But ultimately, while Mick Fleetwood was up for it with the money on offer, other members didn’t feel it was worthwhile.”

Commenting on the rumours in 2019, Fleetwood confirmed his ambitions to play at Worthy Farm, and said, “Of course, we’ve been asked to play and it’s never worked out. I think the legend of Glastonbury and Fleetwood Mac will come true. I think I’ll burn in hell if we don’t do it one day.”

If money has been the stumbling block then it’s a sad state of affairs, which reflects poorly on the group. Emily Eavis from Glastonbury spoke about the fees they pay in 2017 and revealed artists get paid “probably less than 10% of what they’d get from playing any of the other major British festivals. [So] Glastonbury relies completely on goodwill.”

When The Rolling Stones headlined The Pyramid Stage in 2013, they reportedly made a loss on their performance, yet, that didn’t matter in the slightest because they had their moment in the sun on the biggest stage in Britain, which is a feat that looks like it will sail past Fleetwood Mac.