Glastonbury pageant welcomes again crowds amid rail strikes | Glastonbury pageant

Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis has stated she was overcome with emotion as the primary of 200,000 folks flooded into the pageant for the primary time in three years.

Its return has lengthy been anticipated after the pandemic compelled organisers to cancel two years in a row. In celebration of its fiftieth 12 months, Sir Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish and Kendrick Lamar will headline the Pyramid stage, whereas Diana Ross will fill the Sunday teatime legends slot.

Talking as the primary campers hauled large trolleys by the Glastonbury gates on Wednesday morning, Eavis stated there was a “completely distinctive ambiance” and everybody was “so happy to be again”.

She stated: “It was very emotional this morning. I needed to step away [from the gates] … not solely is it really getting folks in right here but additionally the persistence – folks have actually caught by us. They saved their tickets – they rolled them over, they rolled them over. It’s been this unending journey to truly get right here. I used to be like, I’ve to step away now. It’s simply the second we’ve all been ready for.”

The five-day occasion will host about 200,000 guests, with greater than 80 artists attributable to carry out, together with Olivia Rodrigo, Lorde and Noel Gallagher’s Excessive Flying Birds. However festivalgoers have confronted difficulties arriving on the website in Pilton amid main rail strikes within the greatest industrial motion in a era.

People queue for entry on the first day of the festival.
Folks queue for entry on the primary day of the pageant. {Photograph}: Yui Mok/PA

Solely a fifth of trains had been operating on Tuesday as about 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Community Rail and 13 prepare operators walked out in a dispute over pay, jobs and situations.

In a press release, Glastonbury pageant stated that due to the extra site visitors, festival-goers may arrive on the website from 4pm on Tuesday night whereas “site visitors volumes are low”. However gates formally opened at 8am on Wednesday, which is when nearly all of audiences had been anticipated to begin arriving.

Michael Eavis, the 86-year-old Glastonbury founder, posed for selfies as he welcomed campers again to his farm. Emily Eavis, his daughter, stated the employees who had been busy for weeks getting ready the 900-acre website had been all “beaming” and had “devoured” each second when in earlier years they might have felt exhausted by the point the pageant opened.

It was solely previously few months, she stated, that they knew for certain the present would go forward. “There have been many moments the place we had been simply filled with uncertainty. It was solely actually in the previous few months the place we had been certain we had been going to truly make it by. How sure are you able to ever be for the time being? It’s only a miracle that we’ve really made it occur.”

Jon Collins, the chief government of Stay, which represents the UK’s reside music enterprise, stated followers and employees had been going through extreme delays and potential security dangers as they had been compelled to decide on different routes on one of many greatest weekends of the 12 months for reside music.

“Whereas we recognise the legitimacy of this motion, our sector is going through an ideal storm of fragile client confidence, rising prices, inflation, and provide chain points, which means we frankly can not take the influence of additional strikes threatened this autumn,” Collins stated.

UK Music’s chief government, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, stated: “For the hundreds of music followers who’re so eager to get again to festivals and gigs after two years of lockdowns, these strikes threat inflicting chaos.

“The strikes come at a important time for the reside music trade and music companies, that are battling to recuperate post-pandemic. Followers face a large wrestle making an attempt to get to Glastonbury due to the disruption, which can add to site visitors on the roads at a time after we’re striving to enhance sustainability within the music trade.

“We’d like all sides to get across the desk to finish these strikes and ship an important monetary enhance to the trade and a summer time of implausible reside music.”

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The Met Workplace has predicted a mix of sunshine and rain for the pageant. Helen Caughey,its deputy chief meteorologist, stated folks arriving on the website would get pleasure from loads of sunshine and highs of 26C (79F) or 27C on Wednesday and Thursday.

However the forecast from Friday onwards appears muddy. “It’s best to plan for each solar hats and raincoats for this 12 months’s pageant,” Caughey stated. Heavy showers and thunderstorms are anticipated on Friday and Saturday, probably offering a dramatic, if reasonably soggy, backdrop to the headline units of Eilish and McCartney.

The dshowers weren’t anticipated to final lengthy however some floor water may accumulate, Caughey stated. Floor water, at a pageant with 200,000 folks, may nicely imply knee-deep mud baths.

Caughey added: “Sunday is predicted to be largely dry and vivid at first however with showers as soon as once more creating by the morning, a few of which could possibly be heavy, and presumably thundery. The unsettled sample is predicted to proceed to dominate into the beginning of subsequent week.”

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