PILTON England (Reuters) - Revelers at Glastonbury Festival were gearing up for a rockier line-up on the Pyramid Stage on Saturday, culminating in Metallica’s appearance as the first heavy metal band to top the bill at Britain’s biggest music festival.
The U.S. band follow performances by Robert Plant and Jack White on the main stage, a change in tempo from Friday when indie groups Elbow and Arcade Fire attracted huge audiences.
The choice of Metallica, who have sold more than 120 million records, has been controversial. Some of the 135,000 festival goers have complained that their music does not fit into Glastonbury’s hippy ethos, while others oppose their politics, after front man James Hetfield narrated a TV show about bear hunting.
Michael Eavis, the 78-year old founder of the event held on his farm in south west England, has defended the bill toppers.
“There’s no other band in the whole history of the festival that has been so keen to play, they will do the best set of their lives here,” he told the BBC earlier this month.
The criticism echoes the reaction when rapper Jay-Z was announced as a Glastonbury headliner in 2008, not least from Oasis’ Noel Gallagher.
But the hip-hop superstar won over the crowd with a blistering performance that was not without humorous touches; he opened by singing Oasis song Wonderwall.
Alan Lamb from Cambridge was planning to see Metallica, along with his daughter Kitty, a fan. He said they would deliver a “very slick, very professional performance”.
“A lot of people will go along thinking they’ll hate it, and they’ll go away thinking ‘They weren’t bad, those guys’,” he said.
There were welcome periods of sunshine on Saturday, turning the mud on the 900-acre site to a less slippery cream-cheese consistency, for acts like American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey.
A thunderstorm on Friday afternoon caused the closure of all stages for a brief period after lightening hit the ground.
In the interim, revelers created their own entertainment. The crown in the Acoustic tent broke into a spontaneous rendition of the Beach Boys song ‘Sloop John B’, Lamb said.
Reporting by Paul Sandle