Glastonbury gates open to music revellers

24th June 2015, Comments 0 comments

Glastonbury, one of the world's biggest music festivals, opened its doors to the public on Wednesday, with thousands streaming through the gates to grab the best camping spots.

The green fields of Worthy Farm in Somerset, southwest England, were rapidly turning into a sea of tents, as revellers got to grips with guy ropes and tent poles two days before the main programme starts.

Organisers expected around 90 percent of the 135,000 paying ticket holders would set up camp on Wednesday.

Campers in rubber boots and elaborate hats streamed onto the site, some wearing outlandish sunglasses and umbrella hats to keep the sun off.

Others brought in wheelbarrows of bottled water, while others dragged in cases of beer or took a rest in the shade.

Revellers can spend Wednesday and Thursday indulging in the 900-acre (four square kilometre) site's weird and wonderful attractions.

For many people, Glastonbury is about more than just the music, with areas devoted to everything from circus to cabaret and even a "free university".

"There will be enlightenments, awakenings, surreal happenings, Damascene epiphanies and people doing the strangest things in public," the organisers promise.

Florence and the Machine headlines Friday's programme on the main Pyramid Stage, moving up after the Foo Fighters pulled out due to frontman Dave Grohl breaking his leg during a concert in Sweden.

US rapper Kanye West headlines on Saturday -- a billing that has triggered outrage among the festival's traditionally rock-oriented audience.

Nearly 135,000 people signed an online petition urging organisers to boot him off the bill.

The petition against West -- who has sold more than 100 million downloads and albums worldwide and won 21 Grammy Awards, but is often criticised for self-aggrandising comments -- calls him "an insult to music fans all over the world".

Veteran British hard rockers The Who close the festival on Sunday.

Other big names due to perform are Motorhead, Mary J Blige, Pharrell Williams, Paloma Faith, Paul Weller, Lionel Ritchie, The Chemical Brothers, Suede and Franz Ferdinand and Sparks.

Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot will be holding a discussion event, while youngsters will be treated to a special guest appearance by physicist and mathematician Stephen Hawking in the Kidz Field area.

The tickets cost £225 ($360, 315 euros) -- a big increase from the £1 fee when the festival started in 1970, when admission included free milk from the farm.

© 2015 AFP

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