Music fans brave rain for Glastonbury

Last updated at 09:11 24 June 2004

Music fans were today facing a muddy start to the Glastonbury Festival with one inch of rain already soaking the ground and more wet weather predicted for the weekend.

The first revellers, wearing waterproofs and wellies, passed through the festival gates in Pilton, Somerset, at 10am and the first tent was erected five minutes later.

But with the ground already damp and muddy, organisers are hoping it will not be a repeat of the scenes of 1998 which saw festival-goers covered from head to toe in mud after a weekend of downpours.

A spokesman for PA WeatherCentre said those arriving at the site today were battling to put up their tents in winds up to 45mph and facing showers throughout the afternoon.

But while tomorrow and Saturday are likely to see more rain, revellers should enjoy sunnier weather on Friday and Sunday, he added.

Organisers said thousands of people had already passed through the gates, with the rest of the 115,000 ticket holders expected to arrive tomorrow and Friday in time for the first night of the festival.

With children, performers and workers on site, numbers are expected to reach 150,000 over the weekend.

Spokesman Crispin Aubrey said the weather had deterred many from heading to the site early.

"It has been a relatively quiet start," he said.

"I think people have been slightly put off by the weather but the fields are already covered with a light sprinkling of tents.

"People are generally coming earlier and earlier and really making the weekend more like a holiday."

He said the rain had caused some problems with mud, but mainly on the tracks used by vehicles.

"The tracks are a bit muddy, and the edge of the grass. But the rest of the fields are still green. The rain seems to be seeping away partly because we had such a dry spell before this downpour."

He added that there was little risk of a repeat of 1998.

"The roads around the site are much better and we have better drainage. But it would be nicer for everyone if it was sunny."

Tickets for the festival, which cost £112, sold out in just 24 hours when they went on sale in April.

The final line-up includes Oasis, Sir Paul McCartney, Morrissey, PJ Harvey, the Black Eyed Peas, Nelly Furtado, James Brown and the English National Opera.

Organisers have also announced they will be showing England's Euro 2004 football match against Portugal tomorrow night to prevent festival-goers leaving the site to watch it in local pubs.

The RAC is warning motorists to expect long delays on major routes approaching the site.

Peak times for travelling are noon to midnight tomorrow and on the return journey, Sunday evening and all day Monday.

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