Thursday, June 25, 2009

Countdown to Glastonbury opening!

Glastonbury
Fans have arrived at Worthy Farm in fine weather

UK band Maximo Park will kick off this year's Glastonbury Festival later, as fans descend on the Somerset site ahead of the event's official opening.

The Newcastle band are due to open the event on the Queens Head stage at 1600BST (1700GMT).

Despite a sunny start to the festival, more than 130,000 revellers are bracing themselves for yet another wet and muddy weekend at Worthy farm.

Weather forecasters have predicted torrential thunderstorms.

They say the mild conditions may turn on Friday, creating "an absolute mud bath".

Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Blur are headlining the event.

Also on Thursday, reformed boy band East 17 will play the Dance Lounge, in a line-up which features old-school dance duo Altern-8, best remembered for their trademark chemical suits.

Chris Fawkes from the BBC's Weather Centre said: "On Friday, the air will become very humid and the heat and humidity will combine for thunderstorms which although torrential, will be very isolated.

Maximo Park
Maximo Park played the Other Stage in 2007

"It's an all-or-nothing forecast - if one hits Glastonbury it could make an absolute mud bath for the rest of the weekend, but could easily hit down the road and remain dry," he added.

Fawkes said although there could be some really heavy downpours, it would only last for around an hour and could be fine for the rest of the day.

"The weekend should be very warm, if not hot, with a lower risk of a shower," he said.

He also dismissed the suggestion that Glastonbury was cursed with the weather.

Fans arrive early for Glastonbury

"In the average summer month you get 40-50mm of rain, so there's no reason why Glastonbury should be more favoured than other local areas for rain," he said.

"Maybe they've been unlucky, but it's just the natural variability of the British climate. Western areas of the UK tend to get more rain than eastern areas - it's just one of those things."

In 2005, storms and flash flooding caused havoc at the Worthy Farm site, with tents underwater in some camping areas.

There was also heavy rain in 2007, but a new drainage system helped to prevent a repeat of 2005.

BBC NEWS REPORT.

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