News / Arts & Entertainment

    Glastonbury Kicks Off With Mud, Megastars

    Flash mob participants imitate dance steps of Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger, Glastonbury Music Festival at Worthy Farm, Somerset, England, June 26, 2013.
    Flash mob participants imitate dance steps of Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger, Glastonbury Music Festival at Worthy Farm, Somerset, England, June 26, 2013.
    Reuters
    Britain's largest music festival got off to a traditionally muddy start on Thursday as thousands of campers arrived at Glastonbury in pouring rain for three days of music headlined by veteran rockers the Rolling Stones.
     
    The event that started as a retreat for about 1,500 hippies on a dairy farm in rural Somerset in 1970 has grown into the world's largest music festival, featuring about 2,000 acts on 58 stages and attended by more than 135,000 people.
     
    Gates opened early Wednesday and by late Thursday nearly 120,000 people had flooded into the 900-acre site about 130 miles southwest of London, turning the working farm of festival founder Michael Eavis into a tent city.
     
    But while Glastonbury is known for megastars performing alongside eclectic acts, it also has a reputation for falling afoul of Britain's fickle summer weather, and this year was no exception, despite forecasts for dry weather.
     
    By mid-afternoon on Thursday the rain was falling heavily, continuing into the night, with revelers in raincoats and rubber boots — known as wellies — negotiating muddy tracks.
     
    "The forecast was fine so I am glad I did bring clothes for all weather," said Grace Murphy, 23, an Irish social work student, dressed in a bright pink raincoat and black wellies. "We'll still have fun. It's a great atmosphere and there's no other festival as awesome as Glastonbury."
     
    Meteorologists from Britain's national weather service, the Met Office, had forecast largely dry weather, but even in the rain the music fans descending on Glastonbury were determined to have fun, having paid 205 pounds ($315) each for tickets.
     
    "You've got to expect some rain at Glastonbury. It's part of the experience," said Amanda Delve, a retailer aged in her 40's, browsing some of the 350 food stalls on the site.
     
    'Glamping' in the mud

    The resources needed at Glastonbury are staggering, with 13 miles (20 km) of fences ringing the site where there are about 198 pubs and bars, and 4,500 toilets. The festival was not held in 2012 as the London Olympics needed so much of the equipment.
     
    An army of workers spends weeks preparing the site where the Rolling Stones play on Saturday, their first performance at Glastonbury, marking their 50 years in the music business.
     
    The headline act on Friday is Britain's Arctic Monkeys and on Sunday it is British folk band Mumford & Sons who confirmed this week that bassist Ted Dwane was well enough to perform after undergoing surgery for a blood clot on the brain.
     
    While the big names grab the spotlight, Eavis has ensured the event stays true to its alternative roots with music of all genres as well as dance, circus, and workshops in meditation, willow sculptures, and shamanic drum-making.
     
    On Thursday the Gyuto Monks, a group of Tibetan monks, chanted from a stage in the pouring rain. The Grammy-nominated group live in Dharamsala, north India, with the Dalai Lama who they followed when he fled Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.
     
    Over the years the festival has not only grown in size but it has also started to attract a different crowd, with research showing the average age of revelers at Glastonbury is now 36 — and it does not have to be too rough an experience.
     
    Campers can opt for a more glamorous stay known as "glamping" with companies offering ready-pitched tents, golf carts to get around, champagne, private toilets and showers.
     
    "The type of people here this year are totally different from when I first came in 1995, much older, but I guess at 205 pounds a ticket that's to be expected," said Mark Bignell, 45.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.

    New in Music Alley

    Beyond Category: Arturo Sandovali
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    February 02, 2016 3:53 PM
    Cuban-born trumpeter Arturo Sandoval is one of the most exciting musicians in jazz. The multi-Grammy winner takes the Blues Alley stage to perform, and sits down with Beyond Category host Eric Felten to talk about his life in music.

    Cuban-born trumpeter Arturo Sandoval is one of the most exciting musicians in jazz. The multi-Grammy winner takes the Blues Alley stage to perform, and sits down with Beyond Category host Eric Felten to talk about his life in music.