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Music fans begin to set up camp as gates to Glastonbury Festival open

People arrive on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival. Credit: PA

Michael Eavis has opened the gates to this year’s Glastonbury Festival – telling queuing campers “welcome to Worthy Farm”.

Thousands of music fans have travelled to the site in Pilton, Somerset, carrying large backpacks of tents and belongings, or dragging laden trolleys behind them.

Many began their journey days before, with some choosing to sleep in their cars overnight to be among the first inside.

Campers were greeted by cloudy and damp weather when the gates opened at 8am, though sunshine and temperatures of up to 23C (73F) were expected later in the day.

Weather-wise, things will get worse, with thunderstorms currently anticipated over the weekend.

You have to queue to get in. Credit: Yui Mok/PA

As he opened the gates, Mr Eavis told those waiting: “It has never been better.

“It has never been as good as this one.

“The weather looks great – marvellous.

“Thank you for coming. Welcome to Worthy Farm.”

Organisers have urged those attending to bring their own reusable water bottles to the 900-acre site, as 2019 marks the first year that single-use plastic bottles have been banned.

The five-day event, the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world, will be headlined by Stormzy, The Killers and The Cure.

Standard tickets for Glastonbury 2019 sold out in just 36 minutes.

Festival stalwart Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, has played at Glastonbury since 1996 and will be performing three DJ sets this year.

The gates have opened to Glastonbury Festival. Credit: Yui Mok/PA

“Glastonbury is a town the size of Colchester, populated by a bunch of lunatics escaping from reality and escaping from convention,” he told the Press Association.

“For four days we get to live a fantasy, Utopian existence.”

Forecasters warned there could be severe storms during the latter part of the festival, with thunderstorms and potential flooding.

The Met Office has also urged those attending to take extra precautions such as sunscreen and to seek shelter from the sunshine due to high UV levels.

In 2017, the Wednesday of Glastonbury Festival was the hottest day in the event’s history, with temperatures hitting 31C (88F) and leading to dozens of people being treated by paramedics.

However, only eight years of the festival – including the first Glastonbury in 1970 – have not seen any rain.

Climate change and the environment is at the centre of this year’s festival, with several talks and debates planned across the site.

On Thursday, there will be an Extinction Rebellion procession with hundreds of people expected to walk from the Park Stage to the Stone Circle within the Green Fields area.

Those present will then attempt to create the largest human sculpture of an hourglass to symbolise extinction.

People head into the festival to set up camp. Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

Speaking about the event, co-organiser Emily Eavis said: “This is a chance for everybody at the festival who feels passionately about protecting our planet and future generations to be part of a collective moment, before the main stages open up on the Friday.”

She has urged festival-goers to consider taking public transport and to bring tents they will use for a “lifetime” of camping, rather than dumping at the end of the festival.

Attendees will also be among the first to trial the next-generation 5G network technology, with mobile operator EE erecting five temporary masts.

EE expects data consumption to increase to more than 70TB over the event, with a surge in demand due to social media posts and videos.

Music fans will be able to watch acts including Stormzy, George Ezra and Lauryn Hill on the iconic Pyramid Stage on Friday.

On Saturday, The Killers, Liam Gallagher, Janet Jackson and Hozier will take to the Pyramid Stage, while The Cure, Vampire Weekend and Mile Cyrus will perform there on Sunday.

The festival takes place from June 26 to 30