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Britain’s Glastonbury Festival welcomes fans back after the pandemic

LONDON – Thousands of people return to England’s Glastonbury Festival as the five-day music and performing arts event reopened on Wednesday for the first time in three years after being suspended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the festival features 3,000 artists including Billie Eilish, Diana Ross, Kendrick Lamar and Paul McCartney. McCartney’s performance over the weekend will make him the festival’s oldest solo headlining artist at 80.

Festival-goers began queuing to enter the gates of Worthy Farm in Somerset, south-west England, early Wednesday. Many struggled to get to the site because the festival coincided with the biggest rail strike Britain has seen in decades.

Only 60% of trains were expected to run on Wednesday, with further strikes planned for Thursday and Saturday.

Hundreds of people waited with their bags at London’s Paddington Station to try to board a train to the festival.

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Camilla Seward, 26, described feeling “abject panic” when the rail strikes were announced.

“It’s my very first real festival. We bought the ticket almost three years ago. I was so stressed about getting there I didn’t even think about who I was looking forward to,” she said.

Jenna Conway, 30, thought she could beat the travel disruption by getting to Paddington earlier, but she and a friend had to queue for hours.

“We got here three hours before our train, we were stupid, we just thought we could jump on any train. We thought they would be nice about the strikes but they didn’t let us in so now we’re waiting,” she said.

Around 200,000 people are expected to attend the festival, which lasts until Sunday.

“The wait has been so long and it’s just the biggest gathering we’ve ever had,” said festival organizer Emily Eavis.

“Having Paul McCartney join us is just the ultimate, exactly the person we need to have this year to actually bring this whole thing back and bring everyone together,” Eavis said. “And what better way to celebrate than to have Paul McCartney himself.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/entertainment/2022/06/22/uks-glastonbury-festival-welcomes-back-fans-after-pandemic/ Britain’s Glastonbury Festival welcomes fans back after the pandemic

Sarah Y. Kim

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