Jubilant festivalgoers at Glastonbury have been warned of skin-to-skin contact and the danger of monkeypox by health chiefs as the music event returns for the first time in three years after Covid delays.
To the dismay of many festival-goers, showers and thunderstorms are predicted from Friday onwards, and 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 in Somerset.
The UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) has now urged the 20,000 people who are set to descend on the site for the five-day-long festival to be mindful of the disease as case numbers in the UK continue to rise.
So far 793 people in the UK have tested positive for the virus, with the vast majority of these cases being found in England, and in gay and bisexual men.
Earlier this month the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that festivals in Europe this summer could act as super spreading events for the disease.
Thousands of people queued at the entrance to the farm yesterday morning, eager to start five days of partying and ready to enjoy a star-studded line-up of music acts including headliners Billie Eilish, Sir Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar.
And the first day saw crowds bathed in glorious sunshine, as the British summer welcomed revellers back to Somerset for the first time since 2019.
People both young and old and from all parts of the UK – and some even from abroad – descended on the farm near Shepton Mallet, powering through the ongoing national rail strike that has paralysed train networks across the country.
Dressed in brightly coloured clothes and enjoying the festival atmosphere, those who got there early showed no signs of letting the strike ruin their good mood.
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.
A couple embrace in the sunset at Worthy Farm in Somerset yesterday as the first day of Glastonbury Festival 2022 got underway
Festival goers, dressed in suitable clothing for the glorious sunshine, walk through the camp as they look to soak in the atmosphere
Hundreds of people gathered to sit on one of the hills at the festival as they made the most of the sunshine before forecasted rain later this weekend
Festivalgoers take advantage of the Great Western Railway network to head to Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm
Festivalgoers near the festival sign on day one of Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 22
At the first Glastonbury since 2019, Ed proposes to his girlfriend Chelsea as the sun begins to set on the first day of the festival
Revellers watch the sun go down on the first official day of Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 22
Thousands of people arrived at the festival yesterday, with more than 20,000 people expected to attend the five-day-long extravaganza
The Pyramid stage, which will host the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and Billie Eilish over the weekend, looms in the distance amid a sea of tents
Festivalgoers gather around Pride-themed artwork at Worthy Farm on the first day of the first Glastonbury Festival since 2019
Festivalgoers wasted no time setting up their tents in the massive campsite, which is expected to host around 20,000 people throughout the weekend
Groups of friends from all over the UK have come to the festival, powering through the national rail strike which has caused travel chaos
But those in attendance have been warned to enjoy themselves responsibly and be mindful of the increasing number of monkeypox cases in the UK.
A spokesperson for the UKHSA said: ‘Festival-goers should also be aware that there is currently transmission of monkeypox in the UK.
‘The infection mainly spreads between people through direct (skin to skin) contact, including sexual contact, or close contact with surfaces that have been contaminated with the monkeypox virus.
‘If you have a rash with blisters, or any other monkeypox symptoms, don’t go to events, meet with friends, or have sexual contact. Instead, stay at home and contact 111 or your local sexual health service for advice.
‘If you have been advised to self-isolate, please continue to do so and you should not attend the festival without prior clearance from the relevant health authority.’
Dr Hans Henri Kluge, WHO Europe regional director, said earlier this month that the resumption of international travel and events such as festivals had allowed disease to spread.
‘Rapid, amplified transmission has occurred in the context of the recent lifting of pandemic restrictions on international travel and events,’ he said.
He added the current outbreak was the ‘largest and most geographically widespread’ ever reported, with Europe at its ‘epicentre’.
‘Many – but not all cases – report fleeting and/or multiple sexual partners, sometimes associated with large events or parties,’ he added.
The glorious sunshine was welcomed by festivalgoers who might have been expecting the classic British summer weather of torrential rain. This woman raises her shirt as she gets sprayed with water by a festival worker to cool down
People both young and old have come to the festival. This young boy sits on a woman’s shoulders on the first day of this year’s event
The classic sight of people in fancy-dress has also returned for this year’s festival, with this man dressed a zebra and carrying a toy giraffe
This couple also came in fancy dress, sensibly covering their heads from the worst of the sun with their mushroom-style hats
Festivalgoers gather round a campfire as the sun goes down over Somerset on the first day of this year’s Glastonbury Festival
This group of female festivalgoers seemed to be having a blast as the sun went down on the first day of Glastonbury yesterday
Festivalgoers 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 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.
Festivalgoers have defied the national rail strikes crippling the UK’s transport system and threats of camping in torrential rain to make it to Glastonbury’s Worthy Farm for the first time since before Covid (pictured arriving on Wednesday)
This year’s Glastonbury festival is the first since summer 2019, and revellers are ready to enjoy the star-studded line-up of music acts including headliners Billie Eilish, Sir Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar over the course of the weekend. A reveller is pictured entering Glastonbury today
Both extreme weather threats and militant rail strikes taking place this week has not stopped the revellers from starting their five-day festival weekend with a cheer. Pictured is a festivalgoer taking a selfie inside her tent on Wednesday
People from all ages and parts of Britain made the journey down to Worthy Farm for Glastonbury festival, which begins today and ends on Sunday night, complete with their colourful clothes and ready to enjoy the party (pictured today)
Forecasters have put a yellow warning in place between 10am and 11.59pm with torrential downpours expected from Sheffield down to Somerset, where Glastonbury (pictured today) is held
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
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
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
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.
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 ‘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.’
‘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.
Michael Eavis gestures next to his daughter Emily, as he opens the gate for Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset
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
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.
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.