Some 200,000 people are due to attend Britain’s legendary Glastonbury music festival from Wednesday… if they make it to the venue despite historic strikes that threaten to paralyze UK transport.
Headlining on Friday will be 20-year-old American pop star Billie Eilish, followed by former Beatle Paul McCartney the following day, who will perform just a week after his 80th birthday.
“Macca” will make history as the oldest headliner the festival has ever had, while Eilish will become its youngest solo artist.
On Sunday, Californian rapper Kendrick Lamar will close the event, taking over on the main stage from New Zealand singer Lorde, disco diva Diana Ross and jazz king Herbie Hancock.
But to access the festival, organized in a huge meadow located on a dairy farm in the southwest of England, attendees will have to overcome the historic strike that will affect the rail network this Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Within the framework of this national strike, more than half of the trains that serve the festival were cancelled.
Once they arrive and set up their tents, they will be able to enjoy five days of music and performances by dozens of groups and artists of all genres, from the well-known Noel Gallagher or Supergrass to more emerging ones, such as British singers Arlo Parks and Griff both 21 years old.
– Ukraine and ecology –
In the international context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, several Ukrainian artists will perform with a peaceful message, including the Dakha Brakha folk quartet on the main stage on Sunday morning and the 2016 Eurovision winner Jamala on Saturday morning.
The NGOs Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid, partners of the festival, will raise awareness of the climate emergency.
The organizers encourage participants to use reusable water bottles instead of plastic bottles and to leave no waste behind.
Some 350 hectares of fields are transformed into open-air stages for the festival and up to 200,000 people attend each year, producing mountains of waste.
In 2014, the festival was fined after 90,000 liters of sewage generated by festival goers polluted a nearby river.
This year, “Glasto” regulars will be asked not to bring gazebos, supported by photos of the large number of these marquees abandoned in previous editions.
And unlike other years, they will be able to leave their wellies at home, as the weather is expected to be sunny for most of the week.
It is also an opportunity to celebrate the festival’s 50th anniversary two years late, after the last two editions were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2021, the festival was replaced by a huge concert without an audience broadcast live on the internet, featuring British rockers Wolf Alice, pop rock trio Haim and festival veterans Coldplay.
Tickets are sold out this year. Most of them were assigned to those who had income for previous editions cancelled.