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Pop fans brave Reading Festival mud

Thousands of music fans have donned their wellies and braved muddy fields for the first day of the Reading Festival.

Heavy rainfall threatened to make the three-day rock event a wash-out, but festival organisers are confident of a brighter outlook after no more rain fell on Friday.

Water had to be pumped from the site, with the Environment Agency lowering the levels of the nearby River Thames to improve the rate of drainage.

Woodchip has also been ordered to soak up the water on the ground.

About 87,000 people are expected through the gates of the annual festival in the Berkshire town, to see headline acts including veteran rockers Guns N'Roses, who take to the main stage on Friday.

Meanwhile, the festival's sister event in Leeds got under way in mixed weather conditions of sunshine and heavy showers. Forecasts were optimistic for a relatively dry weekend with sunny intervals throughout but rain expected sporadically.

An estimated 70,000 fans will be at the sold-out Leeds event, which has been going strong since 1999, over the weekend.

This year there are six stages, including the BBC's Introducing Stage which promotes up-and-coming acts and this year has more than 230 bands and artists performing.

Mud-splattered revellers at Reading complained of flooded tents and wet clothes, but said they would not let it stop their enjoyment of the music.

Jordan Ayres, an 18-year-old student from Northampton, said "It's amazing. We're loving it. When it gets hot, you need a bit of rain. It lubes up the moshpit. The wetter the better!"

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