Friday 19 July 2019

Music fans set up camp as Glastonbury Festival opens gates

Campers were greeted by cloudy and damp weather when the gates opened at 8am.

People arrive on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset (Aaron Chown/PA)
People arrive on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset (Aaron Chown/PA)

By Claire Hayhurst, Press Association

Michael Eavis has opened the gates to this year’s Glastonbury Festival – telling queuing campers “welcome to Worthy Farm”.

Thousands of music fans have travelled to the site in Pilton, Somerset, carrying large backpacks of tents and belongings, or dragging laden trolleys behind them.

Many began their journey days before, with some choosing to sleep in their cars overnight to be among the first inside.

Campers were greeted by cloudy and damp weather when the gates opened at 8am, though sunshine and temperatures of up to 23C (73F) were expected later in the day.

As he opened the gates, Mr Eavis told those waiting: “It has never been better. It has never been as good as this one.

“The weather looks great – marvellous. Thank you for coming. Welcome to Worthy Farm.”

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People arrive on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival (Yui Mok/PA)

The five-day event, the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world, will be headlined by Stormzy, The Killers and The Cure.

Standard tickets for Glastonbury 2019 sold out in just 36 minutes.

Hannah Martin, 27, spent just five minutes travelling to the festival as she lives nearby in Castle Cary.

She is a seasoned festival-goer, having been to Glastonbury around eight or nine times before this year.

Her advice to those attending was to “take it easy” and not try to do everything on the sprawling site.

“It is the best place on earth, it’s my favourite place in the world,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to The Killers – I crowd-surfed out of their first set a few years ago so I want to see a full set this time.”

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Many people wore colourful outfits (Yui Mok/PA)

Niamh Birch, 22, from Devon, has been to Glastonbury on five previous occasions.

“It is the best festival around. I’m most looking forward to Lauryn Hill,” she said.

“I haven’t seen her before – I’m dying to see her. She will be amazing.”

Paul Leeson, 39, from Leicestershire, last came to the festival in 2009 and is looking forward to a “great weekend”.

“The line-up isn’t what we would hope if I’m honest but in true Glastonbury style, there’s always something to see,” the father of two said.

Tom Weir and Alfie Bourne, both 22 and from Staines, caught a coach from Heathrow at 3am on Wednesday and made it through the gates at about 9am.

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There were large queues (Yui Mok/PA)

“We know what a normal festival is like but the sheer size of this – I don’t think we can comprehend it at the moment,” Mr Bourne said.

Nathan Davies, 20, travelled to the site with friends on a packed 50-seater coach from Liverpool.

They set off at 11.30pm on Tuesday night and were among the first to go through the gates.

“It’s our first time here and the first time we’ve tried to get tickets so we got really lucky,” he said.

Music does not officially begin until Friday but a number of performances are taking place on Wednesday and Thursday.

Lollie Montshiwa played at the opening of The White Ribbon Alliance’s Parlay Parlour in The Park area of the festival.

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Emily Eavis, centre, opening the new Parlay Parlour in The Park (Tom Leese/PA)

The tent, which will host daily debates on issues including the environment, sexual and reproductive rights and inclusion, was opened by Emily Eavis on Wednesday afternoon.

Michael Eavis will be at Cineramageddon with Julien Temple and Fatboy Slim to introduce their film, Ibiza: The Silent Movie, on Wednesday evening.

The Cineramageddon area of the festival features 60 mutated vintage cars, repurposed funfair rides and a Learjet in which fans sit to watch films.

Speaking about the film, Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) said: “It’s a Julien Temple documentary about Ibiza but without any talking in it, so the story is told by the music, which I was lucky enough to be musical director for.

“It’s been a labour of love for about three years.”

He will DJ a silent disco following the showing, which is the world premiere of the film.

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A man pulls a trolley load of festival essentials (Aaron Chown/PA)

Climate change and the environment is at the centre of this year’s festival, with several talks and debates planned across the site.

In the festival guide, Emily Eavis writes: “This is our first year of not selling single-use plastic bottles on-site, so we are asking people to bring re-usable bottles and make good use of our WaterAid kiosks and refill stations across the site.

“There are 60 of these in total, so you shouldn’t have to look too far to find somewhere to fill up.

“We are having a climate ‘call to action’ moment on the Park Stage at 4pm on Thursday, which will culminate in an extinction march from the Park, along the railway track and up to the King’s Meadow.”

As the procession reaches the King’s Meadow, people will attempt to create the largest human sculpture of an hourglass to symbolise extinction.

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The music officially begins on Friday (Yui Mok/PA)

Music fans will be able to watch acts including Stormzy, George Ezra and Lauryn Hill on the famous Pyramid Stage on Friday.

On Saturday, The Killers, Liam Gallagher, Janet Jackson and Hozier will take to the Pyramid Stage, while The Cure, Vampire Weekend and Miley Cyrus will perform there on Sunday.

The festival takes place from June 26 to 30.

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