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Thousands Descend on Glastonbury

Thousands of music fans have begun the annual pilgrimage to the Glastonbury Music Festival, parking caravans and pitching tents on Michael Eavis’s sprawling farmland ahead of the party’s official kick-off Friday.

The grounds were thrown open Wednesday night and by Thursday a few eager thousand had already settled in for a weekend orgy of rock, pop, dance, folk and reggae music.

Coldplay, Spiritualized, Mercury Rev and Canadian singer Nelly Furtado were among the diverse array of top acts who will open this year’s festival Friday afternoon.

The Charlatans, The Beta Band and a surprise special guest were scheduled for Saturday on the site’s two giant main stages.

The weekend reaches a crescendo Sunday with veteran performer Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Groove Armada and French duo Air.

The 100,000 tickets – at 97 pounds a shot – sold out two months ago and organizers are serious about preventing the chaos that marred the 2000 festival when thousands overwhelmedsecurity ( news – external web site) and broke through barriers and onto the site.

A massive “Berlin-style” wall has been thrown up around the entire festival to keep the ticketless on the outside, where organizers are determined they will stay.

For the lucky music fans with a ticket in hand, the Met Office is predicting a dry Friday with strong sunshine and warm temperatures but with increasing cloud for Saturday and Sunday.

But Glastonbury veterans know wellies and rain gear rarely go amiss.

And for those hoping to cap the weekend by watching the World Cup final Sunday, beware.

“We won’t show the World Cup final now. The two interesting sides – Senegal and South Korea ( news – web sites) – are out of it now,” festival organizer Eavis told the BBC.

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