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Emily Eavis Q&A

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(CNN) -- CNN interviewed Emily Eavis three weeks before the Glastonbury festival opened its doors to the public. Here she tells CNN what she gets up to in the run up to the event. She also explains her late mother's influence on proceedings and how charities benefit from the Glastonbury festival.

CNN: What's been going on at the farm?

Emily Eavis Q&A

Emily Eavis: Well the fence is pretty much up. The stage and the pyramid have gone up. The cover is going on today, the other stage is being built, and the disco tent is going up. A few things are starting to emerge; there are a few bits of building that are going on in different areas. And you can see people starting to hone in on certain things, and things are starting to appear. Its' that time of year, it's good. Only 3 weeks to go now.

CNN: Are you starting to get nervous?

Emily: To be honest I have always felt a sort of responsibility for the festival. Even when I was little and I didn't have any serious responsibility, I always got that pre-festival nerves thing. It's sort of like an adrenaline rush, partly because it's our home and so people are coming onto our land, our farm. You are not just putting a gig on, it's more responsibility and that's why I have always felt that kind of responsibility but this year in particular there is that extra pressure. I have always felt it so it's not a peculiar feeling to me, it's like here we go again.

CNN: How is the new park stage site coming along?

Emily: Well we've got all of our line-ups booked now. We are working on creative stuff. Trying to make it look great and have entertainment on all sorts of levels. Stuff you can look at from afar, and stuff you can engage with and take part in. And stuff which you might just suddenly see, like a magician that will just come up to you. So there are all sorts of levels of entertainment and so that's what we are doing now, creating those levels, because all the solid entertainment is booked. So we're just doing the sort of frilly bits round the outside. It's exciting. It's the best bit. All the hardcore stuff is there and we can just add, add, add and keep making it a bit better.

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We have just found two really good magicians from Bristol who are amazing. They come along and do ridiculous amounts of magic. Unbelievable. They took a ring off my finger and put it in their pocket and then clapped their hands and it was in my pocket. It was really weird. They do really weird magic and it's quite a nice touch if you are just wandering around and someone goes here take a look at this. We're trying to make it more friendly and lots of face-painting and things kids can do and trying to make it interactive.

CNN: What do you think is the essence of Glastonbury?

Emily: Its hard to say why it works or why people like coming. Part of the reason why it works is because it's not part of a 20-year business plan and that everything goes into that year and everyone's energy and excitement. It is our home and I think people respect that and its not a hired air-strip, people respect that it's a working farm the rest of the time. Maybe part of the magic is that we don't know what it is. The amount of people that are involved in it, probably about 40 key area leaders who use their vision as well. It's a shared vision so its not just one person or two people. Its about 40 or 50 key people who really take care of their area and it becomes their pride and joy for a month. Its not controlled by one person, it's the freedom of ideas. The fact that people have been here for a long time now as well, there's a real sort of weight to it and you couldn't just create that now, people's roles are so established.

CNN: What did your mother mean to the festival?

Emily: I think she was the backbone to it all in a way. She was a very maternal figure but also a strong women. So she held it together from the home point of view which was the essential foundation for it all really, cause home is in the middle of it all. She had total faith in him [Michael], it must have seemed like madness at times because it was chaotic and during all the traveler years because it was quite fraught. It's difficult to remember now what it was like but it was difficult at times. And being in the middle of it all, I think she had this unwavering faith and that's what made it work because it was my dad's vision and his motivation but she kept the home together and had faith in him. I don't know how many women would have stuck by their husbands as well as she did really, sticking through some really difficult times.

CNN: Did your mother's death change the festival?

Emily: In a way. I think the festival has just changed naturally as well. I mean from 2000 and the numbers and having to get the fence up, I think the essence is still there that they created. I have certainly taken on that responsibility she used to feel about worrying about people. She used to be really concerned, especially in extreme weather, she was very hands on you know like worrying about kids and taking on the maternal role and I definitely feel that. I think there is an essence which wont change but every year it's different event cause there is a different crowd of people who make it work and essentially they are the ones that create each year.

When I was 19 my mom died. I was young compared to my brothers and sisters and they all had lives, and children and professions. I was at college studying to be a teacher. The natural thing for me to do was leave college and help. When mom was ill I deferred my course and came home. I was at home and looked after her right up until she died. The festival was so near that it became a nice way to mark her, because it was the month after and it was something that they both created. So we threw ourselves into the festival, me and my dad. At the farm, the kitchen is the epicenter of the organization. The phone rings and suddenly you are embroiled in a situation. Suddenly I had all these things going on and all these responsibilities.

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Never in my entire life did it cross my mind that I would be doing this. I just thought that I was going to be a primary school teacher. I was teaching at a school in east London, a really sweet nursery school and I really enjoyed it and really loved it. But I just didn't want to be there when this happened because I had to be here. There wasn't anywhere else I could have been really, so I came down and that's how things have happened since.

CNN: How much will the various charities benefit this year?

Emily: This year it's going to be £2m that goes to charity. It's an enormous amount, just an unbelievable amount. It's been a very long standing relationship with all the charities and the three main charities are Greenpeace, Water Aid and Oxfam and then there's lots of local initiatives and charities, schools and hospitals where money goes to. £2m is everything. It's an amazing side to it and it's the side that makes it all mean something all worthwhile. To me it's the most rewarding side to the whole thing. There are so many opportunities now, within the festival, to make people aware of stuff and to campaign and get people activated. Because people when they are here, they are more open to stuff, they don't feel like they are being brainwashed, they feel like they want to do stuff and be proactive, and it's a really powerful thing.

CNN: You went with Oxfam to South Africa and then went to Mozambique with Water Aid. Can you tell us what you did on the trips?

Emily: Mozambique is where all the water projects are taking place and Water Aid is a relatively small charity compared to the others, and it's amazing the amount of work they are doing with each well and road pump and installing them in villages where they previously had to walk half an hour to get water in the absolutely stifling heat. That was amazing, it's a direct and easy thing to understand and when you see road pumps and wells in villages you suddenly realize what a difference it makes. Water Aid have done that with the money from the festival - amazing really.

We went to see where the money was spent and we were meeting people on the ground who were in charge of channeling the money and where it goes and meeting people on all different levels like government and then meeting villages who were benefiting from the water being so available and clean as well. It was a quick trip but an amazing experience cause when you are there it kind of smacks you in the face of why it's so important and reminds you that it's the most important thing of all - It makes it all worthwhile.

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