Glastonbury gates open to music revelers
Glastonbury, UK – Agence France-Presse
AFP photoGlastonbury, one of the world’s biggest music festivals, opened its doors to the public on June 24, with thousands streaming through the gates to grab the best camping spots.
The green fields of Worthy Farm in Somerset, southwest England, rapidly turned into a sea of tents, as revelers got to grips with guy ropes and tent poles two days before the main program begins.
Organizers expected around 90 percent of the 135,000 paying ticket holders to set up camp on June 24.
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.
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 organizers promise.
Florence and the Machine headlines its June 26 program on the main Pyramid Stage, after the Foo Fighters pulled out due to front man Dave Grohl breaking his leg during a concert in Sweden.
U.S. rapper Kanye West headlines on June 27, a billing that has triggered outrage among the festival’s traditionally rock-oriented audience.
Nearly 135,000 people signed an online petition urging organizers to boot him off the bill.
The petition against West, who has sold more than 100 million downloads and albums worldwide, won 21 Grammy Awards and is often criticized for self-aggrandizing comments, calls him “an insult to music fans all over the world.”
Veteran British hard rockers The Who close the festival on June 28.
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 & Sparks.
Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot will be holding a discussion event, while children (and interested adults) will be treated to a special guest appearance by physicist and mathematician Stephen Hawking in the Kidz Field area.
The tickets cost 225 pounds ($360), a huge increase from the festival’s first 1 pound ticket in 1970, when admission included free milk from the farm.