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Emily Eavis thanks Glastonbury festivalgoers for their commitment and support

Emily Eavis thanks Glastonbury festivalgoers for their commitment and support
The gates to Glastonbury opened on Wednesday as thousands of ticket-holders streamed into Worthy Farm.

Emily Eavis has thanked Glastonbury festivalgoers for their commitment in attending the event, saying she thinks “the best people in the world come here”.

The 42-year-old co-organiser of the event was speaking the day after the festival opened its gates for the first time in three years after it was cancelled twice amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The music offering this year features headliners Billie Eilish, Sir Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar, with Diana Ross filling the Sunday Teatime Legends slot.

Eavis told the festival’s on-site newspaper, the Glastonbury Free Press: “We offered refunds, but so few people took us up on it.

“That commitment people showed to us is absolutely not taken for granted and it meant so much. I genuinely think the best people in the world come here.

“Bands always say this audience is the most generous, respectful and up-for-it crowd there is. So I would like to say thank you to everyone who’s supported and stuck by us over the last three years.

“And now I just hope you all have an absolutely amazing time.”

Festival-goers have already been warned to pack for all eventualities – and take their wellies – at Glastonbury, with light showers predicted on Friday and Saturday, followed by more heavy rain on Sunday.

The weather warnings come as late arrivals may battle more travel disruptions with another rail strike taking place on Thursday, likely adding to the transport issues revellers face with poor driving conditions and floodwater on roads.

Eavis said that having to cancel Glastonbury in 2020 and 2021 was “a very sad and quite traumatic thing to have to go through”.

She added: “Particularly when you cancel and you don’t actually know when you’ll be back. But there’s been no escape from the pandemic – everyone has been hit by it to some degree.

“And ultimately, this is just a festival; there were greater things going on in the world. But to be able to open the gates again and bring people back together for the purpose of pure joy is such a wonderful thing.”

As day two of the festival gets under way, attendees “may need to take shelter if they can” as thunderstorms are set to sweep across much of southern England, a Met Office meteorologist said.

Punters may be swapping sun cream for umbrellas at Worthy Farm as the weather is set to turn from “wall-to-wall sunshine” and high temperatures on Thursday morning to “heavy thundery downpours” in the afternoon.

Having spoken previously about the money lost as a result of the cancellations, she said: “We’ve definitely been through some financial struggles.

“It’s been very hairy. People forget that we’re still an independent festival.

“It’s a long road for us to recover from the last two years, but the important thing is that we’re back. And it feels so great to be able to focus on exciting things again.”

The festival is held at Worthy Farm in Somerset (Yui Mok/PA)
The festival is held at Worthy Farm in Somerset (Yui Mok/PA)

Fewer than one in five trains ran on Tuesday after members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on Network Rail (NR) and 13 train operators staged the first of three walkouts, with strikes happening on Thursday and more planned for Saturday.

Glastonbury is not the only music event set to be disrupted by the strikes this week, with The Rolling Stones performing at the British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park on Saturday and the Red Hot Chili Peppers due to take to the stage at the London Stadium on Sunday.

Last minute changes to the Glastonbury line-up include rocker Terry Reid dropping out of his Sunday afternoon slot on the Acoustic Stage. He will be replaced by Glenn Tilbrook, lead singer and guitarist of Squeeze.