Calls for John Peel stage to be renamed at Glastonbury

·2-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

A Glastonbury-goer is calling for the iconic festival’s John Peel stage to be renamed after longstanding claims of sexual abuse against the DJ.

Jack Owens has started a Change petition encouraging festival director Emily Eavis to change the only named stage at Glastonbury, ahead of next year’s festival.

At the time of writing, the petition had reached more than 500 signatures.

“The John Peel stage at Glastonbury is long overdue being renamed, considering the serious sexual abuse he has been accused of and even admitted, against women and children,” Owens wrote.

“It’s a slap in the face to sexual abuse survivors, women, children and decent people to have to stand in a stage with his name on it, which has the sick words, ‘Teenage dreams so hard to beat’ written on the side.”

“Please rename it for the next years [sic] festival. He’s been put up on pedestal for too long.”

Peel, who was a radio DJ for BBC Radio One from the end of the Sixties until the Noughties, died in 2004 at the age of 65.

After his death, Glastonbury’s New Bands Tent became the John Peel stage in his honour.

However, controversy followed Peel throughout his life, in particular his alleged relationships with underage girls.

Peel’s first wife, Shirley Anne Milburn, was 15 when they wed in the US in 1965, though Peel always maintained that she had told him she was 16.

Later in his career, he told the Guardian in 1975 that young women “wanted me to do was abuse them, sexually, which, of course, I was only too happy to do.”

In a following interview with the Sunday Correspondent in 1989, he said: "Girls used to queue up outside. By and large not usually for shagging. Oral sex they were particularly keen on, I remember.

“One of my, er, regular customers, as it were, turned out to be 13, though she looked older."

News of the petition received mixed reviews from Glastonbury fans and festival-goers.

“I’m a regular at Glastonbury and by today’s standards it’s time to move on, and to lose the association with this individual, by renaming the stage,” one signatory wrote.

“We cannot keep building idols out of abusers,” another agreed.

However, one Twitter user was less convinced.

“First of all there’s no proof of this. I think one of the rumours was to do with a young girl he married so she could get into the country. Putting that aside, I think his name does represent something when it comes young up coming artists. The name of the stage is a symbol.”

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