Glastonbury festival kicks off with megastars, music but no mud

Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:30am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - Glastonbury, the world's largest music festival known for megastars and mud, opened its gates on 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, lightning and become known as the origin of "mud-surfing" but this year the outlook for the festival which ends on Sunday looks fair.

"The good news is that the weather looks set to be kind to festival goers," 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.

For the resources needed at Glastonbury are staggering.   Continued...