That's more like it! Downpour turns Glastonbury into muddy mire once more... and there's more showers on the way
Last updated at 5:03 PM on 27th June 2008
By Richard Simpson
The Glastonbury Festival began this morning with some tickets left unsold for the first time in years and the first signs of mud after heavy rain overnight.
With more showers forecast for today, music fans were preparing themselves to slog through the mire.
Festival organiser Michael Eavis said there were only a few hundred tickets left as the last of the 137,000 revellers set up their tents in the overnight rain.
Opening the three-day event, Eavis shrugged off forecasts of more showers over the weekend, telling the crowds: 'We don't need welly boots this year.
Let the festivities begin: Two girls enjoy a brief respite from the downpours
'This is going to be a vintage Glastonbury. We have the best line-up we have ever had and the valley is full of really beautiful people.'
Torrential rain turned the site at Worthy Farm in Somerset into a mudbath last year, while in 2005 storms washed away dozens of tents.
Jay-Z, a Grammy Award-winner who is married to singer Beyonce, will play the main stage on Saturday. Critics have blamed him for slow ticket sales. A weekend pass costs £155.
It is the first time the festival has not sold out ahead of time in 15 years, according to media reports.
Prepare for the worst: Raincoats, wellies and mud .... Wet weather arrives at the Glastonbury Festival
Fun for some: Tuesday Scott, 2, from London walks through a puddle as the weather changes at Glastonbury
Noel Gallagher of Oasis said hip hop at Glastonbury was "wrong", while traditionalists in Internet chatrooms said they would have preferred a band like Radiohead.
Organisers defended their choice, saying the festival that started in 1970 must move with the times.
Eavis said he would be at the front of the stage to welcome the rapper, wearing some "lovely bling".
"There will be diamonds and gold and everything," he added.
Today's acts include U.S. rock band Kings of Leon, Scottish band The Fratellis, reggae veteran Jimmy Cliff and Irish singer Sinead O'Connor.
Pairs of girls struggle through the mud after the downpours
Soul singer Amy Winehouse is due to play on Saturday after receiving treatment for a lung condition which her father said was caused by smoking crack cocaine.
Elsewhere, poets, fire-eaters and mime artists will entertain the crowds. Religious services will be held at a church tent, while pagans will meet up in the Healing Fields.
Avon and Somerset Police said there had been 31 arrests by Thursday evening, compared to 42 at the same stage last year.
Officers said there had been a rise in thefts from the sea of tents pitched across acres of farmland.
Extraordinary aerial images show just some of the tents and caravans that 180,000 revellers and artists will call their home over the next three days as the world’s largest music festival kicked off at a 900 acre site at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset.
What a line-up! Festival goers show off their brightly coloured wellies packed for just such an occasion
Centre stage: An aerial view of the camping fields in front of the main Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton
The rest of the line-up includes Neil Diamond, Amy Winehouse, The Verve, James Blunt, Katie Melua, King Of Leon, Massive Attack, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Pete Doherty, Dizzie Rascal, Fatboy Slim,Crowded House and Leonard Cohen.
Avon and Somerset Police said crime has remained low.
Superintendent Adrian Coombs, head of planning for the festival, said: "Overall, we are happy with the way the people have come onto the site.
"There have been relatively few reported offences, but I would still remind people not to bring valuables onto the site and ensure their cars are left secure.
"If you have brought valuables don't leave them in your tent during the day and keep them close to you at night, rather than leaving them loose at the foot of the tent."
There were also early problems last night when a fire at a nearby scrap yard force organisers to shut one of the main entrances. Which caused long tailbacks along the site.
A number of people living nearby were told to leave but the festival site itself was not evacuated.
Dressed for comfort: Music fans keep out the chill this morning
Light relief: A pit-stop on the way to see the bands
Laura Smith, 25, from Thundersley, Essex, said: "The fire looks pretty massive. You can see thick black clouds of smoke from across the site. "People were worried it was their cars."
Eavis, whose daughter Emily now helps him to organise the festival he started in 1970, added: 'It's a schoolboy's dream come true this is.
'When it works like this, we've got the best, fantastic show.'
A forecaster said: 'It's not going to stay totally dry. Clouds will increase through the afternoon, with spells of rain moving across the Glastonbury region this evening.
'But it shouldn't be too heavy or persistent.'
Ms Vince said tomorrow would be dryer but a possibility of light showers still remained.
She said brisk south-westerly winds would shake the festival - making it a struggle to put up tents. Temperatures should hang around the 19C to 20C mark.
Traffic has been building around the site as rush-hour traffic came to a standstill in nearby Shepton Mallet this morning.