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Festival site opens for campers


Glastonbury is braced for a fresh invasion of music lovers

Glastonbury is braced for a fresh invasion of music lovers

Glastonbury is braced for a fresh invasion of music lovers

The Somerset farm which hosts the world-famous Glastonbury Festival is quickly transforming in to a small city after opening its gates to campers today.

Many ticket-holders began their journey to the festival in the early hours of the morning and by 8am when the festival officially opened huge queues has already formed.

Warm sunshine reaching 22 degrees was welcomed by the welly-clad campers who carried their tents and bags through the so-far mud-free site.

A sea of tents has washed over the 1,000-acre site, usually home to festival founder Michael Eavis' prize-winning herd of cows.

Organisers expect about 90% of the 135,000 ticket-holders will have set up their tents by the end of the day, in a bid to get the best camping spots.

James John Harrington, 49, left his home town of Liverpool at 4.30pm yesterday to start queuing in order to secure one of the most coveted spots at the festival - a front row pitch overlooking the main Pyramid stage.

"I got here about 10pm and queued all night long until the gates opened at 8am and ran straight here," he said.

"It was great fun in the queue - everybody was buzzing and excited for it to start. It was a brilliant atmosphere.

"People think you're mad but it's part of the experience and we have the best view. It's unreal - people would pay for it."

A neighbour further along the front row described securing their favourite spot as a "military operation".

Bert Burrell, 28, from Bournemouth, who has been attending the festival since he was a teenager, said: "Our friends left at 1am from Bournemouth to lay the ground sheets for all our tents and we followed up on the coach later with more stuff.

"It's been a long time in the planning between us all - it's a military operation. It's an amazing spot, to be woken up by the main stage every morning."

For five days the festival site will host a population larger than Bath, Reading and Oxford, with staff and ticketholders adding up to 175,000 people.

This year music fans will watch headliners Florence + The Machine on Friday, Kanye West on Saturday and The Who on Sunday on the famous Pyramid stage.

Other musical highlights at the festival include Chemical Brothers, Rudimental, George Ezra, Motorhead, Lionel Richie, Alt J, and Paloma Faith.

While the live music does not start until Friday, the festival spirit was in full flow from early morning.

The Glastonbury organisers have urged ticket-holders to "take care" over their alcohol consumption, while it has strongly campaigned against legal highs and warned campers that nitrous oxide or laughing gas is banned.

Taking laughing gas through balloons is becoming an increasingly common sight at festivals across the UK.

Chief inspector Mark Jackson, part of the police operation at the festival, said: "There is a zero tolerance policy towards illegal drugs. In terms of the other substances, that's something that the Glastonbury Festival has a view on.

"They have policies and we will certainly support them in delivering those policies. If we come across offences we will deal with them firmly and fairly.

"There may be a misapprehension that police at Glastonbury are soft on drugs but that isn't the case. We will deal with what we come across."

He added that Glastonbury is one of the safest festivals in the world and their main objective is to prevent crime by urging people to be safe and to look after their valuables.

Each year the number of police on site decreases as security at the site improves.