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Muddy madness expected at Glastonbury
Posted 10 hours 39 minutes ago
Festivalgoers set up their tents in readiness for the music festival. (Getty Images: Matt Cardy)
Glastonbury music festival, one of the world's biggest, opens today with legends such as The Who billed alongside Las Vegas rockers The Killers.
The gates opened earlier this morning and more than 175,000 festival goers are expected to flock to this peaceful, rural venue in southern England set up as a hippy haven in the 1970s.
The event officially kicks off on Friday for three solid days of outdoor music, dance, market stalls, poetry, theatre and circus entertainment, but enthusiastic fans set up camp first.
Headliners include acts such as the Arctic Monkeys, Modest Mouse, Kaiser Chiefs, Manic Street Preachers, Bjork, Bright Eyes and Arcade Fire with classics like Iggy and the Stooges, and newcomers Patrick Wolf and Mr Hudson and the Library.
As well as music and performance, this year revellers can join "The Big Kiss", a bid to break the Guinness World Record for the biggest amount of people kissing at one time.
Event organiser Jason Stockwood says: "We're expecting to trounce the current World Record of more than 6,400 couples, which was set in Hungary earlier this year, by getting 45,000 people to kiss the person next to them."
There is a glittering and varied musical line-up.
Mainstream sensations will play alongside Welsh diva Shirley Bassey.
There is also a rumour that rock stars Pete Doherty and Carl Barat will reunite as The Libertines for the festival.
So as not to disturb the festival's neighbours, people are offered a silent disco where dancers can keep going at high volume all night to music from their own personal stereos.
Glastonbury caters for a vast audience of music lovers, environmentalists, fashionistas and performers.
Baby boomers from the 1970s bring back their kids to relive the experience and there are family tents in quiet fields.
Camp Kerala, a luxury campsite with tents bought from a workshop founded by the Maharajah of Jodhpur will be enjoying its second season.
The tents will each cost 3,000 pounds ($7,077) for the weekend and, as most fans struggle with the mud, exclusive guests can live in luxury with Cloudy Bay wine from New Zealand and hot showers.
Camp Kerala stands tribute to the fact that Glastonbury, once an alternative hippy venue, is now part of the English social calendar.
It has come to be known as the largest, greenfield, music and performing arts festival in the world.
Glamorous celebrities including model Kate Moss and actress Keira Knightley were previous Glastonbury-goers.
Fashion designer Stella McCartney, daughter of legend Sir Paul McCartney, made vests with a psychedelic rainbow to be sold for charity.
Festivalgoers are being encouraged to leave their tents after the event to be donated to charities that provide for nations in need such as Botswana and Sri Lanka.
Ecologically sound toilet rolls are being distributed free.
At the first official festival in 1971, entrance was one pound and milk was free.
There was general consensus as festivalgoers streamed towards the event this year that the spirit of Glastonbury lives on and that the festival has successfully adapted through the decades.
This year all the tickets sold out within hours.
Glastonbury to many devotees means mud and this year's weather forecast nearly guarantees this.
The weather predicted in Glastonbury over the weekend is rainy, which means that the festival is almost certainly going to be another mud bath.
One forecaster at Britain's Met Office has predicted that the weekend will become a "quagmire".
The last Glastonbury Festival in 2005 was one of the wettest and the traditional British high rubber boot - known as Wellingtons or even Wellies - has become de rigueur.
Since then Michael Eavis, the festival organiser - who this year was given an award by THE Queen for his services to music - has spent hundreds of thousands on improving drainage and is "almost looking forward to the rain, in order to see the pipes working after all this investment."