Gates to Glastonbury officially opened by festival founder Michael Eavis

Gates to Glastonbury officially opened by festival founder Michael Eavis

Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily Eavis open the gates on day one of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily Eavis open the gates on day one of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

The gates to Glastonbury Festival were officially opened by the event’s founder, Michael Eavis, who said it was going to be “the best show in town”.

The festival returns for its 50th anniversary after a three-year hiatus due to Covid-19.

When the gates officially opened on Wednesday morning, Eavis and his daughter Emily stood at one of the many entrances and clapped as the first competitors entered the grounds.

Eavis, 86, told them: “This is going to be the best show in town.

“Let’s wait and see. You better believe it.”

Festival-goers have been lining up since the early hours of Wednesday morning after many grappled with travel delays on their journey to Pilton in Somerset, amid three days of major rail strikes.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast just before the gates opened, festival coordinator Emily Eavis said: “It’s still so exciting. This year it’s even more spectacular. The wait has been so long and it’s just the biggest gathering we’ve ever had and everyone is very, very happy and a little bit emotional I think about the opening of the gates.”

She added, “It’s all so exciting, you’d never believe it.”

Radio presenter Jo Whiley said Glastonbury is the “ultimate festival” and that Sir Paul McCartney’s performance as headliner on the Pyramid Stage on Saturday night was a “very, very important and significant performance”.

The former Beatle, 80, will become the music festival’s oldest solo headliner when he takes the stage this weekend.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Whiley said: “Glastonbury is the ultimate festival, it’s a celebration of all the arts and it’s all about the human experience.

“So yeah, that’s where all these bands are playing, that’s the main stage, everyone’s very excited about it, but it’s just about enjoying that, just the amount of things that I think you can enjoy when.” When you get there… Over 100 stages, all kinds of performances going on everywhere, so you have to think of it as a huge hodgepodge to join in and just keep trying… circus acts, cabaret, music.

“And everyone is just so friendly, so you make a lot of friends, it’s just a wonderful experience.”

On Sunday on BBC Radio 2, Whiley will present live from Pilton from 7pm to 9pm, including highlights from Diana Ross’ set on the Pyramid Stage.

She told Sir Paul’s Today program that it’s a “very, very important and significant performance that’s going to happen then, it’s the greatest songwriter of all time by the greatest band, at the greatest festival in the world – it’s a great moment”.

Just before the gates officially opened at 8am on Wednesday, hundreds of Glastonbury attendees had already queued for hours with their bags and some said they had arrived at the site in the early hours.

Mark Lawrie, 49, from Reading, Berkshire, who works for a sports organization, said he arrived at the festival at 2am with his 18-year-old daughter Bethan.

“We slept in the car for a couple of hours and got in line at 6am,” he told the PA news agency.

“This is our third time and it’s always brilliant. The moment you arrive here and start seeing the tops of the tents you get such excitement.

“It’s always such a positive vibe here, everyone is just so nice and friendly to each other, but I think after what we’ve been through over the last two and a half years, it’s going to be special.”

Mark Lawrie and his daughter Bethan waiting to enter Glastonbury Festival (PA)

Mark Lawrie and his daughter Bethan waiting to enter Glastonbury Festival (PA)

Ms Lawrie said the number she was most looking forward to was Billie Eilish, while her father said he was eagerly awaiting Sir Paul.

“I didn’t realize that when I was a primary school teacher, but I lived next door (McCartney) in East Sussex,” he said. “One morning he was walking his dog outside and I was hungover so I was lying in bed not wanting to greet him.

“My parents will absolutely never forgive me for not doing that, so it will be great to see him.”

Ahead of the five-day event, Met Office meteorologist Tom Morgan told PA this year’s weather forecasts will be “one of two halves”.

Ahead of the world-famous event, temperatures across the 900-acre site could reach 27C – 9C higher than usual.

Festival goers line up at Worthy Farm in Somerset on the first day of Glastonbury (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Festival goers line up at Worthy Farm in Somerset on the first day of Glastonbury (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

However, the mud that is synonymous with Glastonbury will still appear, with showers and thunderstorms forecast from Friday.

To the dismay of many festival-goers, the event coincides with three days of planned major rail strikes over rail workers’ salaries, disrupting travel for people making their way to Worthy Farm.

Only 60% of trains will run on Wednesday, with strikes planned for Thursday and Saturday.

The highly anticipated festival of 200,000 will also see Eilish and rapper Kendrick Lamar headlining the Pyramid stage.

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