After its perfect sun-drenched start yesterday, Glastonbury was thrown into total chaos this morning by brutal thunderstorms that caused serious flooding and power failures across site. But the show must go on!
The first thunderclap struck in the early hours, heralding the start of a relentless and heavy downpour, accompanied by spectacular burts of lightening, that was to last for the next eight hours. The ground had been unusually hard and dry, following the recent heatwave, and this resulted in the expansive flooding.
The campsites caught the worst of it, as rivers of run-off literally surged through at frightening speed, washing away everything in their path. Terrified campers were suddenly left swimming in newly-formed lakes, frantically trying to salvage belongings. Fortunately no serious casualties were reported.
It wasn’t just the campers that were affected – several of the stages were struck by lightening, including the Pyramid Stage, Jazzworld (both of which suffered power failures) and the new Dance Lounge tent, which was actually severed in two (and is now being repaired!).
The chaos meant delayed starts to the live music, with the Main and Other Stages eventually kicking off at noon (with the first three bands on each cancelled). Organisers are trying to squeeze these acts onto different stages, so they’ll still get to play. Many Market Stalls also lost power, and with it the ability to keep food fresh. Some gave up and shut shop, whilst others fought on defiantly, and were seen serving customers whilst upto their thighs in muddy water!
Whilst the wet ground and mud is not expected to clear up before the end of the festival, the sunshine has returned, and no further rainfall is predicted. Spirits remain impressively high – “that Dunkirk spirit” as Michael Eavis calls it.