Glastonbury’s future has been thrown into doubt because a fall-out between Longleat’s aristocrats means it probably won’t be shifted to the country estate.
Festival founder Michael Eavis is reluctantly looking at relocating the 45-year-old music calendar highlight in 2019 because land ownership issues are making it impossible to keep staging it at Worthy Farm.
It seemed he might have found a new home for Glasto on the Longleat estate with his childhood friend the Marquess of Bath, but now that the aristocrat’s son Ceawlin has vetoed the plan, arrangements are back in turmoil.
According to the Daily Mail columnist Sebastian Shakespeare, Michael said: “Longleat probably won’t happen any more. Lord Bath is really keen. I went to him because I knew him when he was a boy.
“But he and his son aren’t agreeing, and they don’t speak very much, so it’s hard to make decisions. I haven’t been able to sit down with all of them at the same time.”
Lord Bath and Ceawlin’s stormy relationship was documented in BBC programme All Change At Longleat last year, with the eccentric 84 year old and his son, who has the title Viscount Weymouth, arguing over issues such as the younger man wanting to bin a number of garish murals his father had painted for him and his sister when they were children.
Michael, 80, enjoys a much more harmonious relationship with his own daughter Emily, who co-runs the festival with him, but it seems their plans to move have hit a stumbling block.
He continued that the viscount and his wife had visited Glastonbury this year, but had an issue with one crucial part of the experience: “Ceawlin and Emma don’t like the mud. They saw the mud at its worst. They were supposed to come and see it all cleaned up on September 1, but they didn’t turn up.
“They let me down gently about their decision. I went round to their house and we had a very long discussion. They said to clean up all that mud they’d have to restrict the whole of the operations at Longleat for about three months, and it’s too expensive.”
Lord Bath, despite still being married to Ceawlin’s mother Anna, is nicknamed The Loins Of Longleat for having had 75 “wifelets”, or mistresses, over the course of his life, and keeps portraits he has painted of 71 of them on a staircase in the house.