Glastonbury Festival to open gates to campers for 49th year

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People arriving for the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in 2017 (Ben Birchall/PA)

The gates to Glastonbury Festival will officially open on Wednesday, transforming a Somerset farm into a city of more than 200,000 people.

Many ticket-holders began their journey to the site in Pilton on Tuesday, with many choosing to sleep in their cars overnight to be among the first inside.

Campers are due to be greeted by cloudy but dry weather when the gates open at 8am, with sunshine and temperatures of up to 23 degrees from mid-afternoon.

Organisers have urged those attending to bring their own reusable water bottles to the 900-acre site, as 2019 marks the first year that single-use plastic bottles have been banned.

The five-day event, the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world, will be headlined by Stormzy, The Killers and The Cure.

Standard tickets for Glastonbury 2019 sold out in just 36 minutes.

Festival stalwart Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, has played at Glastonbury since 1996 and will be performing three DJ sets this year.

“Glastonbury is a town the size of Colchester, populated by a bunch of lunatics escaping from reality and escaping from convention,” he told the Press Association.

“For four days we get to live a fantasy, Utopian existence.”

Forecasters warned there could be severe storms during the latter part of the festival, with thunderstorms and potential flooding.

The Met Office has also urged those attending to take extra precautions such as sunscreen and to seek shelter from the sunshine due to high UV levels.

In 2017, the Wednesday of Glastonbury Festival was the hottest day in the event’s history, with temperatures hitting 31C and leading to dozen of people being treated by paramedics.

However, only eight years of the festival – including the first Glastonbury in 1970 – have not seen any rain.

Fans watch Ed Sheeran perform on the Pyramid Stage in 2017 (Ben Birchall/PA)
Fans watch Ed Sheeran perform on the Pyramid Stage in 2017 (Ben Birchall/PA)

Climate change and the environment is at the centre of this year’s festival, with several talks and debates planned across the site.

On Thursday, there will be an Extinction Rebellion procession with hundreds of people expected to walk from the Park Stage to the Stone Circle within the Green Fields area.

Those present will then attempt to create the largest human sculpture of an hourglass to symbolise extinction.

Speaking about the event, co-organiser Emily Eavis said: “This is a chance for everybody at the festival who feels passionately about protecting our planet and future generations to be part of a collective moment, before the main stages open up on the Friday.”

Eavis has urged festival-goers to consider taking public transport and to bring tents they will use for a “lifetime” of camping, rather than dumping at the end of the festival.

Attendees will also be among the first to trial the next-generation 5G network technology, with mobile operator EE erecting five temporary masts.

EE expects data consumption to increase to more than 70TB over the event, with a surge in demand due to social media posts and videos.

Music fans will be able to watch acts including Stormzy, George Ezra and Lauryn Hill on the iconic Pyramid Stage on Friday.

On Saturday, The Killers, Liam Gallagher, Janet Jackson and Hozier will take to the Pyramid Stage, while The Cure, Vampire Weekend and Miley Cyrus will perform there on Sunday.

The festival takes place from June 26-30.

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