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The Smiths

Smiths Glasto controversy

Eavis family claim their debut was as controversial as Jay-Z
22 June 2009 - Glastonbury Festival organisers Michael and Emily Eavis claim that The Smiths debut in 1984 was as controversial as Jay-Z's headlining performance last year.

The rapper's appearance in 2008 kicked off a war of words with Noel Gallagher who said it was "wrong" to have a hip-hop headliner.

But the Eavis's argue that The Smiths' arrival at the bash was just as heated with the Glastonbury fans.

"We think that Jay Z was controversial but The Smiths was so controversial on the same level in 1984," admitted Emily Eavis.

"A lot of people who expected Hawkwind every year really wanted it and fought for that. They didn’t believe that The Smiths should be playing."

"People were also going what’s happened to Santana then?" added Michael Eavis.

"I said this is not Santana this is The Smiths. They didn’t like it."

Eavis also argued that their appearance changed the face of the festival.

You can hear Michael, Emily Eavis and Johnny Marr talking about the performance on The Music Week
"When they started playing people started rushing towards the stage," he recalled.

"Morrissey was actually beckoning them up onstage and when I saw that, I knew then the whole thing (Glastonbury) had changed into something else.

"There was no place for the Santana audience any longer, we'd gone into pop."
"We just had this full on crazy stage invasion."
Johnny Marr on The Smiths' Glastonbury debut

Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, who is currently working with The Cribs, also said their entrance had a big impact on the festival.

"This kid was climbing to get on the stage and I pulled him up," he explained. 

"Then the stage crew got hold of me and a little bit of a scuffle ensued and we started pulling people up on stage.

"Then we just had this full crazy stage invasion which I think may have been a first for Glastonbury."

Meanwhile, Michael Eavis has announced that he will be retiring to make way for his daughter to take over in 2011.

He added: "I still feel I have an important role to play. Even if I go I'll worry about the drains, the rubbish, the recycling.

"There will be a gradual process of Emily and her (fiance) Nick (Dewey) taking it over."

Damian Jones

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