Glastonbury still has kernel of original spirit, says The Waterboys’ Mike Scott

Mike Scott has praised co-organisers Michael and Emily Eavis for keeping the kernel of the original Glastonbury festival spirit alive – on their 50th anniversary year.

The Waterboys frontman played at the festival’s Acoustic Stage on Saturday, adding to his many Glastonbury appearances.

Scott told the PA news agency: “I think this is my 11th Glastonbury but in 2007 I think I played three times, in 1994 I played twice so its about 14 or 15 performances in total.

Fleadh 2001 Mike Scott
Mike Scott from the band The Waterboys performing on stage in 2001 (James Arnold/PA)

“The Pyramid Stage is a bit more high pressure, I don’t get nervous playing the Acoustic tent.

“I think the Pyramid Stage has a different energy than the other stages, there is a sense of you’re at a moment of British history when you’re watching something on the Pyramid Stage, especially if it is someone like Sir Paul McCartney and David Bowie.

“In 1984 we were the first band on the Pyramid Stage with a huge audience, the biggest audience we had ever faced, it was a big learning curve.

“I stayed for the whole next day at the festival, just hanging out staying up all night with our drummer, it was brilliant.

“Glastonbury has it’s own spirit. It has got a very strong countercultural alternative presence and it still has the kernel of the original Glastonbury spirit, that has never changed.

Electric Picnic festival
Mike Scott performing on the main stage at the Electric Picnic Festival in 2010 (Niall Carson/PA)

“I think that is because the people who run the festival have made sure of that, they’ve kept the same spirit.

“They never sold it, it hasn’t gone corporate, it hasn’t become a brand, it still means the same thing. An alternative British festival.

“What I’m really looking forward too is getting out into the festival, to experience it a bit more.”

The band performed song Glastonbury Fayre during their Saturday set which was inspired by the place that has a “strong position in the spiritual life and historical life of Britain”, Scott said.

Scottish musician Scott is the only original member of the folk rock band, who have seen more than 80 members over their four decades of music – “more than any other band”, he said.

“When I started The Waterboys that was the plan, it wasn’t going to be a fixed band, it was going to be me and whoever was with me.

“Some people stayed for 20 years and some for three months.

“The band keeps changing, it keeps it fresh. Next year will be the 40th anniversary of our first record.

“I’m not so big on the anniversaries, I think there are so many anniversaries as rock and roll gets older.”