This article was originally published on Noisey UK A shooting star twinkling through the night’s sky; the sight of an Amur leopard tentatively scaling a spruce in the Siberian wilderness; predators chasing the great sardine run off the coast of South Africa—there are stirring phenomena so rare in nature, they leave one speechless. Yet these pale in comparison to nature’s greatest and most revered sighting: Michael Eavis, the founder of Glastonbury Festival, wandering through his natural habitat for one weekend each June.
Eavis is respected and adored by millions for being Britain's most mighty and prolific merrymaker (and a pretty masterful dairy farmer), but he’s also a notoriously difficult and rare creature to find—I guess that’s what happens when the country’s largest cultural event happens in your back garden. But despite visiting Glastonbury countless times, I’ve never ran into an Eavis in the wild. In some ways, he seems to be an apparition; a being that appears twice yearly in a BBC News segment about “the best festival ever," before creeping home to hibernate in a cowshed.
Not this year though, because at Glastonbury 2016 I would be embarking on a reconnaissance mission. Like the Bigfoot hunters in Texas, or those weird-ass people in the Californian desert who believe in UFOs, I decided to dedicate an unhealthy proportion of my time to seeking out this rare, mythical creature: the Michael Eavis.
The thing is: where on earth does the man go? Socially, he is stratospheres above simple VIP status, and you just can't imagine him hanging out side of stage at Bastille with Caroline Flack and James Corden. He probably has his own toilets, right? And his own tractor, to ride around on? Maybe he can teleport? Teleporting wouldn’t be out of the question. A high-percentage of mythical folklore beings can teleport.
I needed to know. Like Indiana Jones, but in a field full of ket and sick, it was my destiny to delve into the unknown and come back with some evidence. So, I strapped on some comfortable socks and started traipsing around the eight miles perimeter site in search of the ‘Eavis.’
After a couple of wasted hours spent looking through some bushes, I eventually catch up with what looks to be Michael. He’s moving swiftly and is heading in the direction of the Pyramid Stage. It’s easy to see how he manages to traverse Worthy Farm so effectively. He weaves in-and-out of crowds like a crab on heat, high fiving people as he goes. I simply can’t keep up with him. Meandering somewhere between a maze of flags, I lose him. Damn it! God damn it.
Starving, I get fed up chasing this red herring and head toward a row of food stalls. And then… I rub my eyes—who is that balding chap ordering himself a Yorkshire pudding? Extra cheese with a tickle of radish and a bottle of Lilt? Is it…? Blinded by hunger and delirium I can't be sure, but he certainly looks happy.
I reach into my pocket to get out my notepad and begin taking observations, but as soon as I look back up, this is all that remains. The fork is muddied, but still steaming. He can’t be far.
A little further down the road, I spot some mythic scribes. Like the scratchings on Machu Picchu, or the incisions on the side of the M4 that lead toward a road-side McDonalds, perhaps these trails in the dirt would lead me toward my target. I study them for a little while and scratch my head. Then my chin. Then the back of my earlobes. Yes, I decide. Perhaps Michael Eavis is backstage.
When I arrive though, there is no one to be found. I shout "Where is Michael" in the general direction of this vajazzled soul, but they had no answers. Despite taking up temporary residence in his home, it seems that no one knew where the overlord could be found. So I step back out into the wildnerness.
I’d been going back-and-forth for a while between the Healing Fields and the Avalon searching for Michael, but it turns out he is into stuff that’s far heavier. Pulsating, a man from a similar breed clutches onto the wooden rails and zones out to thumping beats of the Glade. After a few minutes, I try to tap him on the shoulder but he simply puts a middle finger up to me. So I turn around to pick a beer out of my bag and offer it to him, but he’s disappeared off into the bushes. How on earth does he have the stamina?
Eureka! For the first time today, I’m onto Eavis like a rash. Now we play the waiting game, Michael. This isn’t going to take the whole day. I follow him out of the toilet, and he’s off to watch a spot of punk on the John Peel. Splendid. But as we stride off, I notice he’s wearing a pair of leather boots and he turns around to face me and—of course—it’s not him at all. He'd slipped right through my hands, like a python at a jelly wrestling contest. God damn it.
Suddenly, I hit on some luck. Though it’s nowhere to be seen in the guide, Eavis is nailed down for a confirmed slot. I’m giddy. He will be here, answering questions from the Glastonbury public, tucked away in the Speakers’ Forum at 2pm. The atmosphere is expectant, and sludging wellies from all four corners of Worthy Farm have come treading in. This is my moment of reckoning. The apex of my investigative career. The peak of my legendary cryptozoological search. I will have my own Channel Five series by Monday.
Faced with questions by a purple-caped self-proclaimed “rainbow warrior” and an old hippy attacking him over the lack of wood chips in her field, Eavis is surprisingly terse in his natural environment. Replying to someone calling for Abba to play with a dumbfounded look and an “I don’t think so,” and revealing the precise fee Fleetwood Mac are asking for, he’s sort of like the left's Jeremy Clarkson. We’re all caught with butterflies in our stomach and, as if in a trance, I don’t even notice him slip out of the tent and into his van.
Having caught sight of the vehicle he's in, I gallop through mud for about 15 or 20 minutes, cramping on every lunge, and arrive pouring in sweat at the Greenpeace Stage. Yet by the time I arrive, the kissing of babies and shaking of hands is done, and Michael is already leaving. For fuck’s sake. I guess this is how it felt to be a music fan in the 1990s, but with a much higher chance of cardiac arrest. Then…
Michael’s 4x4 screeches round the corner. So, I give chase. I jump over the fence and take a short cut, cutting him off on the railroad. I am intent on completing my mission and simple obstacles like wood cannot stop an adventurer like me. Success: it shall be mine at last.
“Michael, Michael!” I cry. “I’ve been trying to catch up with you all day, and now I know your ways. You move like a gazelle, Michael. It’s a joy to behold. Thank you, so much.” “Can you please stop following me?” Michael replies. “Yes, that’s absolutely fine.”
And so I did.
You can find Oobah Butler on Twitter