Glastonbury 2016: A Festival Of Disruption As Fans Towed Onto Site

The Glastonbury Festival of performing arts is undoubtedly the most famous music festival in the world. Tickets for the Glastonbury Festival go on sale months before fans know which acts will be playing. If you want to attend the Glastonbury Festival, you need to be online at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning in October. If you are a few minutes, late you can forget it, as millions of people from around the world scramble to get a connection to the ticket agents. Glastonbury typically sells out in minutes.

Fans of Glastonbury are almost rabidly fanatical about the festival, the range of entertainment is mind-boggling. If you have attended every Glastonbury since 1970, the chances are that you will still not have seen everything the festival has to offer. The site is vast, as Glastonbury is the size of a small city, and it can easily take 90 minutes to walk from one side of the festival to the other. With over 250,000 people on site and 100 stages offering just about everything you could imagine, Glastonbury has one thing that is different from any festival you care to name. That thing is human traffic moving around the site.

The sheer numbers of people moving around the Glastonbury site means that the festival has become famous for more than its music. Combine huge numbers of people with even a little rain, and you get mud. In 2015 Glastonbury was largely dry, but it still had more mud than anywhere I have ever seen.

The 2016 edition of Glastonbury festival looks to be a nightmare of knee-deep mud. The Guardian reports that much of the site was already very muddy before the gates even opened. The main stages at Glastonbury do not open until Friday, but there is plenty to do on site once the gates open on the Wednesday of the festival. Owners of camper vans and caravans can arrive on Tuesday, but of course crew and contractors have been busy building the site for weeks before hand, and the run up to this year’s festival has been plagued with atrocious weather.

The BBC report that Glastonbury fans had blocked all major road routes around the festival, causing widespread disruption around the south of England. It was took many people between 12 and 15 hours just to get to the site. As the video below shows many parts of the Glastonbury site are already extremely muddy

ITV News reported that Avon and Somerset had advised people to avoid the entire area and that school buses had been cancelled because of the gridlock. Glastonbury festival organiser Michael Eavis apologized for the disruption saying that a combination of bad weather and more people than usual arriving early had been to blame for the widespread disruption.

On the BBC this morning, traders were saying that when they arrived at Glastonbury, they had to be towed onto the site because conditions for vehicles were so bad. It is not unusual for Glastonbury revellers to be towed off the site after rain, but being towed on is unusual. The BBC describes the site as a “mud bath.”

Those who have been lucky enough to secure tickets for Glastonbury, have survived the traffic disruption, and are brave enough to battle the Glastonbury mud will be happy to know that the weather is said to be improving for the next couple of days. That said, Glastonbury looks set for more heavy rain on Saturday, something that could make leaving the festival even more difficult than usual.

As always, the music line-up for this year’s Glastonbury is eclectic. Adele, Coldplay, and Muse headline the famous pyramid stage, but as Glastonbury aficionados will tell you, the real joy of Glastonbury lies well away from the main stages. By Monday, Glastonbury fans will be telling each other that the festival was worth the disruption and the mud.

[Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]