Thousands of eager music fans could be forced to camp in torrential downpours at Glastonbury after the Met Office issued a yellow thunderstorm warning for southern England on Thursday.
Forecasters have put a yellow warning in place between 10am and 11.59pm with torrential downpours expected from Sheffield down to Somerset, where Glastonbury is held.
With another rail strike taking place on Thursday, it is likely the storms will add to transport issues with poor driving conditions and floodwater on roads, potentially causing danger to life.
The Met Office said there is a chance of further rail and bus cancellations due to lightning strikes.
It also warned of power cuts to some homes and businesses, while remote communities could be cut off due to flooded roads.
Flooding could also cause some road closures, with heavy traffic on the roads already expected around the UK due to rail strikes.
Festival-goers have already been queuing in traffic since dawn for the first day of Glastonbury after the chaotic rail strike forced many to camp overnight at the four-day Somerset festival.
Organisers told fans they could begin parking at the site from 4pm on Tuesday after trains and Tube services were disrupted for a second day running – forcing revellers to get to Worthy Farm early to beat the rush.
The festival’s main stage will not open until Friday, with headliner Billie Eilish set for the iconic Pyramid Stage followed by Sir Paul McCartney on Saturday and rapper Kendrick Lamar bringing the event to a close on Sunday.
However, DJs and live music is planned from today for eager fans who have arrived at the site early – as more than 200,000 people are expected to descend at Glastonbury over the next two days.
The founder of the Somerset festival Michael Eavis was pictured officially opening the gate to Glastonbury this morning marking the official start of the four-day music spectacular.
The festival is returning for its 50th anniversary after a three-year hiatus due to Covid-19.
Eavis and his daughter Emily were stood at one of the festival’s many entry points and clapped as the first attendees entered the site.
Eavis, 86, told those entering the gates: ‘This is going to be the best show in town.
‘Wait and see. You better believe it.’
Huge crowds of revellers were pictured sitting on camping chairs by metal railings as they secured their spot in line to the entrance of the festival.
Armed with camping gear and cool boxes, excited fans waited patiently as they queued to get in to the UK’s most-anticipated music event of the year as they were met with glorious 19C (66F) sunshine – a pleasant change from the usual rain that marks the start of the muddy festival.
Thousands of eager festivalgoers arrive at Worthy Farm this morning for the official start of Glastonbury Festival 2022
Armed with camping gear and cool boxes, excited fans waited patiently as they queued to get in to the UK’s most-anticipated music event of the year
Motorists were pictured arriving early at the music extravaganza to beat the rush today amid ongoing rail strikes
Festivalgoers arrived at the site carrying their camping supplies and coolboxes filled with their favourite beverages
Revellers were met with glorious 19C (66F) sunshine – a pleasant change from the usual rain that marks the start of the muddy festival
The founder of the Somerset festival Michael Eavis was pictured opening the gate to Glastonbury this morning marking the official start of the four-day music spectacular
A woman with pink hair extensions and matching hued sunglasses was pictured queuing for entry on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset today
The Glastonbury gates officially opened this morning for excited music fans who have been queuing since Tuesday amid the ongoing rail strikes
Music fans Simon Lampard, (left) 82-year-old Pat Brooks (middle) and Linda Brooks-Lampard (right) arrive on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
One reveller posed for the camera wearing a multicolour long cardigan as she queued for the iconic festival
Huge crowds of revellers were pictured sitting on camping chairs by metal railings as they secured their spot in line to the entrance of the festival
A ‘beer drive thru’ sign to mark the start of the festival was put up for Brits who are lined up in traffic
Revellers get onto buses after arriving at Castle Cary train station during the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
Despite, Glastonbury usually opening its parking facilities at 9pm the night before the first day of the music extravaganza, bosses allowed the car parks to open yesterday afternoon – but this morning roads to the site were gridlocked with traffic.
Ben Colgan, from Stockport, drove down to Pilton with his friend on Tuesday evening and slept in the car overnight ahead of the festival gates opening on Wednesday morning.
Colgan, a 34-year-old technical manager, who will be joined by his wife at the festival on Thursday, told the PA news agency: ‘It’s genuinely like a dream.
‘It sounds a bit sad, but it is. Glastonbury, for the past seven years, has been our thing. Me and my wife came first, and then brought a few friends along, brought a few more, and now there’s about 12 of us that come and camp together.
‘And it genuinely is the best place on Earth. It really is.
‘Everyone’s in the best mood, everyone wants to chat, everyone wants to be your mate, and you just don’t get that anywhere else.
‘It’s just incredible.’
Jake Sayer, who drove to the festival from North Devon, setting off at 3am, said he felt ‘relief’ after making it into the festival, having been queuing since 5am.
Festival goers arrive on the opening day of Glastonbury 2022
Despite, Glastonbury usually opening its parking facilities at 9pm the night before the first day of the music extravaganza, bosses allowed the car parks to open yesterday afternoon – but this morning roads to the site were gridlocked with traffic
Two festival goers pull shopping trolleys piled with belongings into the campsites
People haul wheelbarrows and large rucksacks into the campsite of Glastonbury on its opening day
Festival goers queue to get into campsites after arriving at the opening day of the festival
Speaking about the acts he’s most looking forward to seeing, the 28-year-old, surf school manager said: ‘Personally, I try not to put too much pressure on it.
‘I find that if you’re running around all the time with your friends and who they want to see and stuff, it gets a bit stressful.’
Speaking to PA shortly after 9am, Sayer who was already shirtless and making the most of the warm weather, added that he most enjoys the escapism Glastonbury provides from the outside world.
‘It’s all about having a good time,’ he said.
‘I love just feeling really removed from work and all that stuff. You’re here. Your phone’s off. It’s like being on a different planet almost… Glastonbury is massive. It’s got a culture and everyone’s so stoked.’
Chloe Clifford and Gary Stirrup, who are from Wales and working as stewards at the festival, cycled to the site amid the travel chaos caused by three days of train strikes.
Ms Clifford, a 21-year-old cleaner, said ‘We’re just lucky we didn’t need to get the train,’ with firefighter Mr Stirrup, 39, adding: ‘I feel sorry for everyone on the trains on the minute, but it wasn’t too bad getting here for us.’
Safiye Yilmaz and Maisie Hockings, who set off to the festival by car from Bristol at 4am, said there were a range of acts they were excited to see across the weekend.
Hockings, 27, said: ‘I want to see Kendrick Lamar, Sam Fender, Billie Eilish. I’m excited to go to the Temple on Friday night for all the techno.’
Yilmaz, a 27-year-old accounts assistant, added: ‘Whatever your music taste, even if you’re not into music, in the day there’s just so much to do. You just can’t be bored.
‘When you see your favourite acts at The Other Stage or the Pyramid Stage, it’s amazing.’
Festival goers Anna Payne, 20 and Izzy Maloney, 22, both from Nottingham, on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
Sarah ricklesford 26 from Bristol sits in her tent on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm
A festival goers takes a rest on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
A festival goer takes a rest on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
A festival goer takes a break from hauling multiple bags filled with belongings to the festival’s campsite
The two women also revealed they’ve come to the festival armed with fancy dress outfits for Friday night.
Yilmaz told PA: ‘We’ve got lots of cowboy outfits.’
Hockings, who donned a bright pink cowboy hat, added: ‘We’re going to dress up on the Friday, I feel like everyone dresses up on at least one of the days, so we’re going to dress up in our trusty cowgirl outfits.’
Organisers said: ‘There will be no entertainment or facilities other than toilets in the car parks and festivalgoers will be expected to remain in their cars until the festival gates open.’
Great Western Railway is hoping to maintain trains to Castle Cary – the nearest station – but has advised passengers to check for amendments before travelling.
A GWR spokesman said: ‘All we are expecting are festival workers, the site doesn’t open to the general public until Wednesday.
‘It was busy on Monday but most of the people who arrived were scheduled to get here early. Since then the numbers have been minimal compared to what we would see on a normal festival travel day.’
Emily Eavis has said it is an ‘amazing feeling’ to see people returning to Glastonbury festival.
The music event has opened its gates this morning, signalling its return for the first time in three years after it was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to Lauren Laverne on 6 Music, she said of the gates opening: ‘I mean, I’m still recovering because the build up has just been so long, we’ve never had a build up as long as this, obviously.
‘We’ve never all collectively been through such an extreme time together, so it’s like, to actually be able to see people there and welcome them in and just watch them streaming in and just running to pitch their tents up and fill the fields, it’s just an amazing feeling.’
Speaking about the build-up to this year’s event she told BBC radio presenter Laverne that, as this year celebrates the festival’s 50th anniversary, some of the original ideas for the 2020 festival are ‘are still kind of playing out this year and then we’ve melded all kinds of ideas into this one festival and we’ve had so much time to kind of think about this one and I think every detail, and kind of part of the process has been devoured and savoured by everybody, because it’s so precious.
Wearing a sequinned hat that was dazzled with letters that spelt the word Glastonbury, revellers queued to enter the Somerset premises
Fans arrived at the event carrying huge rucksacks and cool bags, while wheeling their possessions to the site
Fans carried their belongings and colourful outfits on their backs as they travelled to the gate to set up their tents
Pictured: People queue for entry on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
This year’s much-anticipated festival, running from Wednesday to Sunday, will host huge stars from Diana Ross and Sir Paul McCartney, to Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar and Olivia Rodrigo
Dressed in shorts and wearing sunglasses and hats, music fans waited in line as they queued in glorious sunshine
Traffic builds up around the site ahead of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset today
Thousands of revellers queued on Wednesday as they waited for the gates to open for the much-anticipated festival
Traffic jams builds up around the famous Somerset site ahead of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
A woman wearing a flower crown was pictured arriving on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts is taking place for the first time in three years after a hiatus due to the Covid pandemic
‘Everyone is appreciating it so, so much… everyone is just still beaming because they are so pleased, everyone is so chuffed to be back so it’s a totally unique atmosphere, I just can’t wait to get everyone in here.’
Shortly before the gates opened, radio host Jo Whiley said Glastonbury is the ‘ultimate festival’ and that Sir Paul McCartney’s headlining slot on the Pyramid Stage on Saturday night is a ‘very, very important and significant performance’.
The former Beatle, 80, will become the music festival’s oldest ever solo headliner when he takes to 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 yes, there are all these bands playing, there’s the main stage, everyone gets very excited about that, but it’s all about just enjoying this, just the amount of things I think you can enjoy when you get there… Over 100 stages, there are all different kinds of performances going on wherever, so you have to think of it as like a massive smorgasbord that you can go along and you can just keep tasting all these different things… circus acts, cabaret, music.
‘And everyone is just so friendly, so you make lots of friends, it’s just a wonderful experience.’
On Sunday on BBC Radio 2 Whiley will present live from Pilton, 7pm-9pm, including highlights from Diana Ross’ set on the Pyramid Stage.
She told BBC Radio 4 of Sir Paul that it’s a ‘very, very important and significant performance that will be happening then, it’s the greatest songwriter of all time from the biggest band, at the greatest festival in the world, it’s a big moment’.
Festivalgoers arrive at the Glastonbury Festival in Pilton carrying loaves of Hovis bread along with their belongings for the four-day festival
A man is pictured with a tent on his back for entry on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
Emma Maggs and her daughter Daise pictured on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
Revellers carry huge bags snd suitcases towards to gate os Glastonbury festival, which has opened today
One woman wearing Hunter wellington boots carries her suitcase as she arrives on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
Michael Eavis gestures next to his daughter Emily, as he opens the gate for Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
Traffic builds up around the site on Wednesday morning ahead of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
Festivalgoers arrive at the Glastonbury Festival in Pilton carrying their belongings in wheeled carts
Shortly before the gates officially opened at 8am on Wednesday, hundreds of Glastonbury attendees had already been queueing for hours with their bags and some said they arrived at the site in the early hours of the morning.
Mark Lawrie, 49, from Reading, who works for a sports charity, said he had arrived at the festival at 2am with his 18-year-old daughter Bethan.
‘We slept in the car for a few hours and joined the queue at 6am,’ he told the PA news agency.
‘This is our third time and it’s always brilliant. The moment you get here and start to see the tops of the tents, you get such a buzz.
‘It’s always such a positive atmosphere here, everyone’s just so nice to each other and friendly to each other, but I think after what we’ve been through the last two and a half years it’s going to be special.’
Ms Lawrie said the act she is most looking forward to is Billie Eilish, while her father said he is hotly anticipating Sir Paul McCartney.
‘When I was first a primary school teacher, I didn’t realise this but I lived next door to (McCartney) in East Sussex,’ he said. ‘One morning he was walking his dog outside and I had a hangover so I was in bed and didn’t go to say hello to him.
‘My parents will absolutely never forgive me for not having done that, so he’ll be amazing to see.’
Ahead of the five-day event, meteorologist Tom Morgan from the Met Office told the PA news agency, this year’s weather outlook promises to be ‘one of two halves’.
Temperatures could reach 27C at the 900-acre site – 9C higher than usual – in the lead-up to the world-famous event.
However, the mud synonymous with Glastonbury is still set to make an appearance, with showers and thunderstorms predicted from Friday onwards.
To the dismay of many festival-goers the event coincides with three days of planned major rail strikes over rail workers’ pay, leading to travel disruption for people making their way to Worthy Farm.
Just 60% of trains will run across Wednesday, with walkouts planned for Thursday and Saturday.
This year’s much-anticipated festival, running from Wednesday to Sunday, will host huge stars from Diana Ross and Sir Paul McCartney, to Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar and Olivia Rodrigo.