Glastonbury 2016: A festival of music and mud

| Weather, Europe

The 34th Glastonbury Festival has begun in the UK’s West Country. One of Europe’s premier rock and pop music events, this year it features Muse, Adele, Coldplay and Cindi Lauper.

The event takes place on Worthy Farm, a dairy farm in the heart of the Somerset countryside. For five days each year, the cattle are housed in sheds and the fields are given over to around 135,000 music fans, plus a whole host of services required to keep the crowds fed, watered and entertained.

The gathering is often at the mercy of the elements. Somerset is one of the wetter counties of England, and the farm is open to the prevailing wind and rain coming in from the southwest.

Despite efforts to improve drainage, the lush, green fields lie on clay soil, which readily collects rainfall. Additional water run off from the Mendip Hills to the northeast often means the mud attracts just as many headlines as the performing bands.  

This year's weather has already made for a muddy start to the event, and a forecast of further showers over the next few days suggests things will only get muddier.

And while there is no real evidence of a "European monsoon" at this time of year, as some weather forecasters have claimed, Worthy Farm has been hit with severe weather in recent years. 

So far, mud and floods have caused major delays, as the crowds try to negotiate the winding roads approaching the farm.

After another few days of churning feet and tyres, the big exit on Monday could prove to be a mammoth challenge for the tired, muddy, but happy revellers.

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