Glastonbury festival kicks off with megastars, music but no mud

Festival-goers walk through rubbish close to The Pyramid Stage as they leave following the Glastonbury festival near Glastonbury, Somerset, on June 27, 2011. Photo credit: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
The five-day festival can get a bit messy, as it takes place on a working farm and hosts more than 100,000 attendees.
Credit: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Glastonbury, the world’s largest music festival known for megastars and mud, opened its gates Wednesday to 135,000 fans with the Rolling Stones and more than 2,000 other acts set to perform at the sprawling, five-day event.

Now in its fifth decade, Glastonbury has grown from a gathering of 1,500 hippies on a dairy farm in 1970, each paying one pound and receiving free milk, to a family-friendly festival costing 205 pounds ($315) a ticket with an average age of 36.

Campers reluctant to rough it can opt for a more glamorous stay known as “glamping” with accommodation companies offering ready-pitched tents, golf buggies to navigate the 900-acre site, champagne on ice, and private toilets and hot showers.

A major talking point ahead of Glastonbury is Britain’s fickle summer weather with photographs of mud-covered revelers coming to typify the event held on a working farm in southwest England that turns into a huge tented city.

Over the years the event has survived floods and lightning, becoming known as the origin of “mud-surfing,” but this year the outlook for the festival is fair.

“The good news is that the weather looks set to be kind to festivalgoers,” said a spokeswoman for Britain’s national weather service, the Met Office.

Early Wednesday the site opened to music fans who missed out last year when Glastonbury skipped a year as control barriers and portable toilets were needed at the London Olympics.

The resources needed at Glastonbury are staggering.

Thirteen miles of fence is installed around the site, where there are about 350 food stalls, 198 pubs and bars, and up to 1,000 stalls selling everything from blankets to new-age gadgets, with 4,500 toilets and an army of 34,000 workers.

Record ticket sales

This year’s major act at Glastonbury is the Rolling Stones on Saturday, who celebrated 50 years in music last year and are performing at a list of U.S. and British venues this year.

Festival founder Michael Eavis, who runs the event with his daughter Emily, has publicly expressed his delight in bringing the Stones’ lineup of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood to Glastonbury.

“There’s always a wishlist, and only the best bands are on it — about 20 of ‘em. And we’ve been ticking ‘em off and ticking ‘em off. The Rolling Stones were the only ones that were left,” Eavis told magazine the Radio Times this week.

Other headline acts are Britain’s Arctic Monkeys on Friday and British folk band Mumford & Sons on Sunday, who confirmed Tuesday that bassist Ted Dwane is well enough to perform after undergoing surgery this month for a blood clot on the brain.

Pop pundits have singled out acts including rapper Dizzee Rascal, indie rock quartet Alt-J, Malian musician Rokia Traore and hip-hop artist Nas as ones to watch across the 58 stages alongside more eclectic acts such as a group of exiled Tibetan monks.

Despite the draw of the Rolling Stones, the festival was sold out before the veteran rockers were even added to the lineup, snapped up in a record one hour and 40 minutes.

Although Glastonbury is part of an increasingly crowded live music calendar in Britain, its popularity remains strong while poor ticket sales have forced other festivals to cancel.

British performance rights group PRS for Music estimated there were a record 157 music festivals in the UK in 2012 with ticket sales worth around 180 million pounds.

Research by website MSN found music festivals are no longer just a rite of passage for students, with an average age at Glastonbury now 36 and festivalgoers spending 425 pounds each.

“The festival experience has become a very different affair than it was 10 years ago,” said James McCoy from market research firm YouGov, which conducted a survey on festivalgoers’ spending.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

iPhone is a security risk, says Chinese state…

Chinese state media branded Apple Inc's iPhone a threat to national security because of the smartphone's ability to track and time-stamp user locations. A report…

National

Tracy Morgan sues Wal-mart over deadly crash

Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan has sued Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in a New Jersey federal court, alleging the retailer was negligent in connection with the…

International

Israel adds missile interceptor to counter rocket fire,…

Israel rushed an eighth missile interceptor battery into service on Saturday to counter stronger-than-expected rocket fire from Gaza as the military pounded positions in the…

National

Tommy Ramone, last original member of punk pioneers…

Tommy Ramone, the drummer and last surviving original member of punk band the Ramones, whose aggressive and fast-driving songs spearheaded the punk-rock movement, has died…

Gossip

Facebook users upset Steven Spielberg killed a dinosaur

Some Facebook users were up in arms over a photo from the set of the 1993 film "Jurassic Park" showing director Steven Spielberg smiling in…

Music

Tommy Ramone, last original member of punk pioneers…

Tommy Ramone, the drummer and last surviving original member of punk band the Ramones, whose aggressive and fast-driving songs spearheaded the punk-rock movement, has died…

Gossip

PHOTOS: Topless Cara Delevingne advocates for 'Free the…

Supermodel Cara Delevingne is never one to shy away from the gaze of social media. Yesterday, she chose to advocate for the 'Free the Nipple' campaign via Instagram, where she…

Gossip

PHOTOS: Axelle Despiegelaere AKA "most beautiful" fan gets…

Axelle Despiegelaere, the "most beautiful" soccer supporter of this year's World Cup, was fired by L'Oreal for a hunting photo on her Facebook account.

NBA

GIF: LeBron James returns to Cleveland so deal…

To anyone out there who is upset about his decision, this .GIF is for you. Enjoy.

World Cup

A game of two popes: Vatican plays down…

By Philip PullellaVATICAN CITY (Reuters) - With Argentina meeting Germany in the World Cup final, the Vatican on Friday brushed aside talk of soccer rivalry…

NFL

Which Jets player has the best odds at…

Metro New York asked Bovada.LV to rank the top three contenders for the NFL MVP on the Jets.

World Cup

Argentina prevails in penalties, advances to final

The drama never seems to subside as the World Cup finally has its final two.

Wellbeing

Fart gas might prevent cancer

You might not like the smell, but fart gas might help prevent cancer.

Tech

Mesh sheds light on top 10 dating deal…

What are New Yorkers' top 10 dating deal breakers? Find out here.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Sexual headaches can be…

Sexual headaches: an under-discussed health issue Location: U.S. Results: If getting frisky brings on a headache, you’re not alone. Headaches associated with sexual activity represent a…

Food

Head to FiDi for free Chia Pods from…

They may have been last summer's darlings, but chia seeds have definitely not gone out of style. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, they…