Muse, Kylie take the stage at sweltering Glastonbury

26th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Glastonbury Festival sweltered in soaring temperatures Saturday with a headline show due from local boys and rock superstars Muse and a brief appearance by pop princess Kylie.

With temperatures touching 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), the site in Somerset in south west England was hotter than both Mexico and Rio de Janeiro but it was a welcome change from the usual pouring rain.

Over the 40 years since it was first staged, the world-famous festival has developed a reputation for downpours and fields of mud, but in this anniversary year the biggest irritant was the giant dust cloud which hung over the site.

Not that more than 170,000 revellers seemed to care, with singer/songwriter Kate Nash, electro-dance duo Pet Shop Boys and funk pioneer George Clinton all on hand to entertain the huge crowds.

After Friday's storming headline set by Gorillaz, which was littered with guest stars including rocker Lou Reed and rapper Snoop Dogg, the big excitement Saturday was a surprise appearance by Kylie Minogue with the Scissor Sisters.

The Australian pulled out of the festival in 2005 after being diagnosed with breast cancer, but confirmed on a British talkshow that she would make a brief cameo with the camp American outfit on the main stage on Saturday night.

They were due after Latino superstar Shakira and before Muse's headline act.

The second full day of music kicked off with a set by I Blame Coco, fronted by Coco Sumner, daughter of Police superstar Sting.

"I think it's a brilliant festival," the 19-year-old Sumner told AFP after her set on the Park Stage. "This is my third Glastonbury and it's a great day, I've been looking forward to it for a long time."

At the other end of the spectrum was London-based photographer Max Whitaker who was at the second ever Glastonbury festival in 1971, when the headliners were Traffic and David Bowie.

"It was very shambolic and there were no facilities, there were just trenches for going to the loo," Whitaker recalled. "Nobody had tents, there were just sleeping bags, but I slept in my car.

"You couldn't even find the place, but we'd just had Woodstock and the Isle of Wight festival, it was the spirit of the time."

He added: "I came back five years ago and it nearly killed me, I was terrified. It's very commercialised but I was very impressed and still think it retains its communal spirit."

This year there were 700 meters (2,300 feet) of urinals on site and storage capacity for 1.8 million gallons of human waste -- over 10 litres per person -- highlighting the unrecognisable transformation the festival has undergone.

The event generates over 82 million pounds (124 million dollars, 100 million euros) for the national economy and donates over two million pounds a year to charities including Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid.

Within the site different areas cater for a multitude of philosophies.

The Greenfields area was the place to find the original 1960s drop outs while the Fields of Avalon recreated the traditional carnival with a Wall of Death, insect circus and Big Top circus tent.

At the far end of the site were Shangri-La and Arcadia, visions of derelict towns created by artists, which provided entertainment through the night after the official music stopped.

And for the foodies, it seemed there was no corner of the globe not represented among the plethora of stalls offering everything from Jamaican jerk chicken to Eritrean curries and traditional English fare.

Unsurprisingly though, it was the smoothies stall which had the longest queues as the party-goers combatted the unrelenting but welcome sunshine.

© 2010 AFP

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