| PILTON, England June 27
PILTON, England June 27 A farm in rural England
turned into a mini tent city on Thursday as fans flocked to
Glastonbury, the world's largest open-air music festival, where
megastars like the Rolling Stones will perform alongside more
eclectic acts like chanting monks.
The event that started as a hippy retreat on a dairy farm in
rural Somerset in 1970 has grown into a massive, five-day
festival featuring about 2,000 acts on 58 stages attended by
more than 135,000 people.
While veteran rockers the Rolling Stones are the major act
at this year's festival, founder Michael Eavis has ensured the
event stays true to its alternative roots with music of all
genres as well as dance, circus, and meditation workshops.
As well as its megastars, Glastonbury is known for its mud
with the fickle British summer often leaving revellers soaked
through and covered in mud.
Meteorologists from Britain's national weather service, the
Met Office, said the forecast for the weekend was for it to
remain largely dry. But the heavens weren't playing along on
"Bring your wellies it's raining," one camper told BBC
Whatever the weather, the army of music fans descending on
Glastonbury were determined to enjoy themselves, having paid 205
pounds ($315) each for tickets.
On Thursday the Gyuto Monks, a group of exiled Tibetan
monks, were set to chant from a stage at the farm in Pilton,
about 130 miles southwest of London.
The Grammy-nominated group live in exile in Dharamsala,
north India, with the Dalai Lama who they followed into India
when the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1959.
"The work that the Gyuto monks do in the West has my full
support," the Dalai Lama said in a statement.
The headline act on Friday is Britain's Arctic Monkeys and
British folk band Mumford & Sons on Sunday who confirmed this
week that bassist Ted Dwane is well enough to perform after
undergoing surgery for a blood clot on the brain earlier this
For those wanting something more alternative or a break from
the music, there are workshops on willow sculptures, hedgerow
art, timber frame building, and Shamanic drum making.
Gates to Glastonbury opened on Wednesday to a stream of
music fans hauling wheelbarrows laden with tents and beer and by
Thursday the 900-acre site resembled a tent city.
Thirteen miles (20 kms) of fence rings the festival where
there are about 350 food stalls, 198 pubs and bars, and 4,500
Campers reluctant to rough it can opt for a more glamorous
stay known as "glamping" with accommodation companies offering
ready-pitched tents, golf buggies to navigate the massive site,
champagne on ice, private toilets and hot showers.
(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, editing by Paul Casciato)