Glastonbury founder reveals secret radio listening as school launches Eavis Hall

The founder of the Glastonbury Festival has revealed that he was once reprimanded for listening to Radio Luxembourg while at boarding school.

As a nine-year-old boy, Michael Eavis would secretly tune his crystal set into the station and listen under his pillow in the school dormitory - until he was rumbled.

Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis
Michael Eavis (Barry Batchelor/PA)

"It was late at night and one night the housemaster caught me and I was punished but I was crazy about popular music. I still am crazy about it," said Eavis.

The 80-year-old was a boarder at Wells Cathedral School in Wells, Somerset, during the Second World War.

After leaving school, he planned a career in the merchant navy but gave it up when he inherited the family farm.

In 1970 he founded the Pilton Pop, Folk and Blues Festival, which has since grown into the Glastonbury Festival.

Glastonbury Festival
The Glastonbury Festival ticket sale has begun (Ben Birchall PA Wire/PA Images)

Eavis revealed how he used to listen to Radio Luxembourg during a visit to his former school to officially open a new state-of-the-art music venue, which has been named in his honour.

It is a new £9.4 million performing arts centre, with Eavis Hall, a 350-seat auditorium, at its heart. It has a suspended roof, with two-storey glass windows, and is finished in corten steel.

Eavis attended the opening concert in The Eavis Hall with daughter Emily, who is also a former pupil.

"The first time I was given a tour of the new hall with the architect there was a single boy playing the xylophone," said Eavis.

"I found it very touching and it almost brought a tear to my eye to think that I have had something to do with this.

"The whole family is exceedingly grateful for the school naming this hall after us."

School principal Elizabeth Cairncross said she was delighted to be able to "make amends" to the famous farmer.

"It's only right that Mr Eavis, one of the school's best-known and much-admired former students, officially opens our new music building," Cairncross said.

"He has done so much for music in the county, in the country and internationally. Michael has been one of our greatest supporters throughout this project and is an excellent champion for the school.

"We may have reprimanded him for listening to Radio Luxembourg but we truly appreciate his contribution to music."

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