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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

Avery Sunshine is known for her irresistible combination of soul, jazz and gospel influences. She’s traveled the world entertaining audiences with her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and infectious spirit. She joins host Shawna Renee on "The Soul Lounge" to perform and share the stories behind her new album, "The Sun Room."