Somerset

Glastonbury Festival 2011 revellers greeted by rain

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Media captionTorrential rain greeted the first people to reach Worthy Farm

Revellers arriving for the Glastonbury Festival have - like many before them - been greeted by rain and mud.

Some 170,000 people and 40,000 vehicles are heading to the site at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset.

U2, Coldplay and Beyonce are the headline acts for the event which sold out in four hours when tickets went on sale last October.

Long queues have built up on the A361 heading towards Pilton from Glastonbury and on the A37 from Bristol.

A new route which has seen cars directed towards Wells on the A39 has appeared to have shortened some of the traditionally-lengthy queuing time on roads leading to the site.

A Madame Tussaud's waxwork of singer Beyonce was at London's Paddington Station as revellers boarded trains to the West Country.

On Tuesday evening organisers had tried to allay fears of bad weather by assuring visitors of the "dry, green grass and sunshine".

But those arriving at the site on Wednesday found thick mud forming as the music fans churned up the ground.

Some campers found green patches but their gear got soaked while they pitched their tents.

And BBC West's weatherman Ian Fergusson said festival-goers could expect heavy downpours on Friday though the rain should ease up as the weekend progresses.

Tomato fight

Bono, lead singer of U2, admitted he was nervous about headlining the festival.

"It's been exciting but there's been pressure. I'll be happy when it's over, in a positive way," he said.

Beyonce, who said she fell in love with Glastonbury Festival after watching husband Jay-Z perform three years ago, is said to have cleared her diary so she can party for the three days.

When asked whether Jay-Z would be joining her on the Pyramid Stage, festival founder Michael Eavis said: "Wouldn't it be nice?

"When he came before it was an absolutely fantastic success and, in a way, that's what persuaded Beyonce to come and do it. She was here before, saw the amazing response from the crowd."

Mr Eavis added he thought this year's Glastonbury "moment" would be a tomato fight in his proud new medieval bullring Campo Pequeno.

Other new elements this year are The Spirit Of 71 stage, featuring acts which played at one of the first Glastonbury festivals 40 years ago.

The festival features 60 official stages and there will be more than 2,200 performances including speakers and poetry readings.

The site also has more than 3,200 toilets which will be serviced by a team of 300 people during the event.

The annual festival will be taking a year off in 2012 to allow the dairy farm's land to rest.

BBC Somerset will be running traffic updates throughout the festival.

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