Glastonbury Festival archives: Incredible footage shows 'the muddy years' at Worthy Farm

  • Take a look back at some of the muddiest Glastonbury Festivals of all time

With hundreds of thousands of people living in fields for five days, the weather can have a big impact on the Glastonbury Festival experience.

While heatwaves bring a challenge of their own for sweaty festival-goers, it is perhaps the more muddy affairs which stick in people's minds.

Heavy rain soon brings huge pools of muddy water to Worthy Farm, with punters left either sheltering in big top tents or diving into the mud head first.


Back in 1982, tickets for the 25,000 people who went to Glastonbury Festival cost just £8.

But those lucky enough to secure a ticket had to brave a lot of bad weather - and even more mud.

The Friday of the 1982 festival saw the highest rainfall recorded in a single day for 45 years - but as is still tradition, there were smiles all round.

The mud quickly took over the fields at Glastonbury in 1982 Credit: ITV
The rain impacted the car parks so severely, tractors were used to tow cars out Credit: ITV
The mud didn't dampen people's spirits at Glastonbury Festival in 1982 Credit: ITV


After more than a decade of relatively dry years, 1997 was dubbed 'the year of the mud'.

As the rain kept coming, so too did the injuries and illnesses as festival-goers who were unprepared for the weather struggled to stay warm and dry.

Acts included the Prodigy, Radiohead, Massive Attack, Ray Davies and Sting - and the 90,000 attendees battled through to see more acts than ever before.

"People are really enjoying themselves - and not many people are leaving," Michael Eavis told ITV at the time.

He added: "It's a shame about the weather and the mud and things but the sprit is very high," Michael Eavis said.

Festival goers at the muddy 1997 Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Pilton Credit: PA
Torrential rain just before the weekend resulted in 1997 being dubbed the “year of the mud”. Credit: PA
The 1997 festival was dubbed 'the year of the mud' Credit: PA

2005 - lightning strikes

The 2005 festival brought with it two months worth of rain in just a few hours - and a few lightning strikes for good measure.

The once in a hundred year occurrence meant the festival looked more like a marsh than a farm, with people choosing to get around by dinghy instead of on foot.

There was so much flooding in 2005, rescue services brought in boats to help Credit: PA
The rain came so quickly and heavily, there were flooded tents across much of the site. Credit: ITV
A flooded tent at Glastonbury Festival in 2005. Credit: ITV
Festival-goers were left soggy and wading through water in 2005 Credit: ITV
Festival-goers brave the wet weather after flooding. Credit: PA
The 2005 festival will stick in the memory of many for being a mud bath Credit: PA
A fan during Pete Doherty and Babyshambles performing on the Pyramid Stage. Credit: PA
While some tried to shelter from the rain and mud - others embraced it

2016 - yet more mud

Festival-goers faced some of the worst mud in Glastonbury's entire history at the 2016 event, after torrential rainfall hit the site in the weeks before the festival.

Michael Eavis told the Guardian 'every single bit' of woodchip in the South of England was used on the site, saying: "I’ve never seen mud like it in the whole life. This is worse than 1997."

“In all 46 years, it hasn’t been as bad as this,” he added.

Festival goers wrestle in the mud at The Common, at Glastonbury Festival 2016 Credit: PA
Festival goers Taylor and Emily from Leeds brave the mud at the Glastonbury Festival in 2016 Credit: PA
Festival-goers battled mud in 2016 after weeks of wet weather before the event. Credit: PA
Glastonbury suffered the worst rain and mud since the festival began in 2016 Credit: PA

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