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Glastonbury Festival fans set up camp

By AAP Newswire

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.

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 364-hectare 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.

"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.

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."