LONDON — Violent overnight thunderstorms caused mayhem at the United Kingdom’s most celebrated music festival today, with campers more in need of canoes than anoraks.
Sources on the scene at the massive Glastonbury festival in Somerset tell Variety that the deluge did little to dampen the spirits of the sell-out 120,000 crowd camping at the site, but broadcasters and festival technicians had to battle against the elements to make sure the show could go on.
Presenters on BBC Radio 1 reported that their compound was under several inches of water because of the rain, while a nearby river bursting its banks caused flooding elsewhere on the enormous festival site.
A beer tent was also reportedly struck by lightning, but fortunately nobody was injured.
Power to a number of the Glastonbury stages was lost as a result of the storms and a number of early performances had to be cancelled, but by mid-day electricians had defeated the gremlins and the three-day event was under way.
The festival was first held on farmland belonging to Glastonbury organizer Michael Eavis in 1970. It is infamous for the mudbaths that quickly form under the feet of the tens of thousands of music lovers, but it attracts hundreds of bands each year.
This year there are at least 15 official stages and numerous other performance areas. Among the line up are White Stripes, Coldplay, New Order, Basement Jaxx, The Killers, Doves, Brian Wilson, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Ash, Garbage and Keane.