PILTON England (Reuters) - Kaiser Chiefs kicked off three days of music at the Glastonbury Festival on Friday, with lead singer Ricky Wilson singing “I predict a riot” to a good natured crowd made even more amenable by a halt in the rain.
The British band were the surprise opener at the event at Worthy Farm in rural southwest England, which is as famous for its mud as for its line up.
“Glastonbury we are honored to kick off your weekend of fun,” Wilson told revelers.
The festival started in 1970, when hippies paid one pound to see acts including Marc Bolan, with free milk from the farm thrown in.
This year, more than 120,000 tickets priced at 215 pounds ($370) sold out in hours to people keen to hear live music from hundreds of bands and experience the other entertainment, including comedy, theater and circus acts.
More than 125,000 people were on the site by Friday lunchtime, festival organizers said.
Blondie, the U.S. band that has been going for 40 years, almost as long as the festival, attracted a huge crowd on the Other Stage on Friday afternoon to hear hits like “Atomic” and “Hanging on the Telephone”.
“Glastonbury, nothing like it in the world,” lead singer Debbie Harry told fans, adding the almost obligatory reference to the weather: “It’s my wet dream.”
The appearance of the sun from behind storm clouds was greeted as enthusiastically as Blondie’s most popular songs by the rubber boot-shod audience.
Heavy rain fell earlier on Friday, and further showers were forecast for the remainder of the day and Saturday.
Other acts appearing at Britain’s biggest music festival on Friday included singers Lily Allen and Paolo Nutini, U.S electronic musician Skrillex, and Manchester band Elbow, which is sure to lead a mass singalong to “One Day Like This”, an anthem used by British television as the backing track for sporting montages.
Topping the bill is Canada’s Arcade Fire, while Saturday’s headliner Metallica has generated controversy among some fans who say heavy metal has no place at Glastonbury.
The festival’s 78-year-old founder, Michael Eavis, has defended the choice, telling the BBC that he is really looking forward to seeing them.($1 = 0.5880 British Pounds)
Editing by Robin Pomeroy