- The five-day festival in Pilton, Somerset, began today as thousands of music fans flocked through the gates
- Around 150,000 people are expected to attend and see acts including The Rolling Stones and Mumford & Sons
- There was no festival last year because the Olympics meant there was a shortage of police officers and Portaloos
- Despite Glastonbury often suffering bad weather, the forecast for this year’s festival is good: warm and (mostly) dry
The stages are built, the cows have been moved further afield, and today, the wait is finally over for Glastonbury festival-goers. Thousands of people, laden down with rucksacks, tents and crates of beer, were arriving at Britain’s biggest music festival today, looking forward to a line-up including the Rolling Stones, Mumford & Sons, and Rita Ora. This year’s Glastonbury has been two years in the coming – last year’s event was cancelled because organiser Michael Eavis feared the Olympics meant there would not be enough policemen or Portaloos to go round.
As the gates opened at 8am, many music fans had chosen to sleep in their cars near the Somerset festival overnight, giving them the best chance at securing a good camping spot. The main performances at the event, which had a fallow year in 2012 to coincide with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, will not start until Friday – when Arctic Monkeys will top the bill, followed by The Rolling Stones on Saturday night and Mumford & Sons closing the festival on Sunday.
But that does not matter to those setting up camp, with many of the 135,000 ticket holders expected to turn up today. Despite the muggy grey clouds hovering over the Glastonbury gates this morning, the weather is expected to be warm and mostly dry, quashing fears of another Worthy Farm washout. According to the Met Office five-day forecast, rain will hold off for the whole five days, apart from some showers tomorrow from about 4pm.
Forecaster Tony Gray said: ‘It will be dry and generally good conditions for Glastonbury with the exception of some rain tomorrow afternoon and evening.’ Today will be sunny and dry, tomorrow cloudy with sunny intervals until 4pm, Friday should be warm and cloudy, and more of the same on Saturday and Sunday. Glastonbury organiser Mr Eavis said he believes the weather, combined with the line-up, means this year’s festival will be ‘unusually good’.
‘The whole thing is fantastic,’ the 77-year-old farmer said. ‘There are 1,000 acres of creativity on a massive scale and to a very, very high standard. You won’t see anything else like this in the whole world.’ There is even the promise of the best-ever Glastonbury loos, with a new system that sees waste go straight into the ground, designed to beat the infamous smell. MR Eavis has even said that, 43 years since the first Glastonbury, they have finally found ‘the perfect loo’.
To mark the resurrection of the festival after a year off, a giant phoenix has been installed on top of the Pyramid stage, designed by Joe Rush, who was behind many of the mechanical vehicles and props used at the Paralympics closing ceremony. Indeed one of them – a steamship on which singer Rihanna performed – can be found at the festival this year.
Tickets for this year’s festival, which cost £205 each, sold out in a record one hour and 40 minutes. Other highlights fans can expect are appearances from Primal Scream, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Smashing Pumpkins, Elvis Costello, The xx, Public Enemy, Professor Green and Dizzee Rascal. As ever, the festival is also offering some more unusual acts alongside the chart toppers – with Sir Bruce Forsyth playing on the Avalon Stage on Sunday, country star Kenny Rogers taking to the Pyramid Stage the same day, and the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan monks also making an appearance.
Celebrities including Kate Moss are set to be among the festival goers, with Sir Mick Jagger even staying in Somerset to enjoy the weekend’s festivities.