Thank the Quakers and Clarks for the Glastonbury Festival

In case you’ve ever wondered who to thank for the Glastonbury Festival, it seems that as well as Michael Eavis and his family, it’s the Quakers to whom you should be grateful.

In the build up to the 2014 event The Guardian ran an article with festival organiser Michael Eavis answering questions from famous people.

Jeremy Deller, who included ‘the Quaker movement’ in his acknowledgments when he won the Turner prize for art in 2004, asked “Has your family’s Quakerism had an effect on the festival?” Earlier in the article Michael had explained that his family was Methodist but he had a Quaker uncle – “he was a big influence.”

But the Quaker connections didn’t end there. “Quakerism also had an influence in that the Clarks [the shoe-making family, from Street in Somerset] are Quakers. My great-grandfather rented a farm from them. The non-conformist, Quaker thing was strong in mid-Somerset, and the Clarks had an influence on the politics and the planning of the neighbourhood.” He added that the festival: “succeeded only because of the support and influence of the Clarks and the Quaker/Methodist non-conformism here.”

The Quaker influence on Michael Eavis was published in The Guardian just a week after columnist Charlie Brooker wrote about his own Quaker upbringing.  He wrote: “I was raised a Quaker, but only in a relaxed don’t-fret-too-much-about-the-God stuff kind of way.” In another column in 2004 he wrote “I’m a Quaker”. Perhaps the latest column suggests that Charlie no longer directly self-identifies as a Quaker.

As well as Jeremy Deller, other contemporary artists with Quaker connections include Wolfgang Tillmans and Martin Creed.

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