The biggest and possibly muddiest Glastonbury Festival ever will draw to a close tonight – with fans insisting the appalling weather had failed to ruin the party.
The legendary event will be remembered more for the mud than the music as heavy downpours throughout the three days turned Worthy Farm into a giant quagmire.
Steady rain since Thursday led to the now-familiar scenes of rain-soaked revellers braving the elements as the rolling green fields turned to brown.
But organiser Michael Eavis today described this year’s mudfest as “fantastic” and insisted the weather had failed to dampen spirits.
And most fans today agreed with the man, described by many as “the legend”.
Rob Walker, 27, from Chesterfield, said his first Glastonbury would not have been the same without the mud baths.
“When we booked our tickets, we knew it would be like this.
“It has not held us back at all. The mud is heavy, sticky and exhausting but no one I have seen could care.”
Lee Sherlock, 49, and his daughter, Bianca, 26, waded through the mud to watch friends get married at the Lost Vagueness chapel today.
Mr Sherlock, from Romford, Essex, said: “I hired a suit – but doubt they will take it back. It’s absolutely caked.”
Lucy Clark, from East Harptree, took her two daughters, Maddie and Imogen, to their third Glastonbury.
She said: “The mud is not nearly as bad as in 2005. It has rained more but Eavis’ flood barriers have done the trick.
“My two girls have found it hard work.”
Welsh diva Shirley Bassey today attracted a huge audience as she took to the Pyramid stage in a glamorous pink evening dress with sequin detail.
She belted out hits like Hey Big Spender as tens of thousands of mud-caked fans cheered and sang along with the legendary singer in one of the most surreal performances of the festival.
Earlier, singer-songwriter James Morrison had also gone down a storm – as the sun even made a rare appearance.
It is the second successive festival that heavy rain has hit Glastonbury.
In 2005, hundreds of tents were washed away in freak, flash floods.
This time Eavis made sure the show would go on, whatever the weather, by spending £750,000 on flood prevention measures.
And it seems to have worked. Despite the sea of mud, which had covered the entire site, there were no reports of any Glastonbury refugees this year.
Standing in three-inch deep mud, Mr Eavis told the media he was pleased with how things had gone.
“How do you think it went? It has gone very well in spite of the rain, in spite of the mud,” he said.
“The drains have actually worked, and it’s been a fantastic weekend – from John Fogerty to The Killers to Arctic Monkeys.
“I’m very pleased. Someone phoned me from Spain the other day and said they would swap all this sun for the Glastonbury culture.
“The sun’s not everything but we do welcome it.”
Despite the second successive washout at Glastonbury, Eavis said he would not move the festival date.
Eavis, who said he had already booked next year’s headliners, said: “We cannot change the date of the summer solstice.
“No weekend is better – perhaps we should move the summer instead.”
Only two Pilton villagers complained about noise at the festival.
Eavis, who this month received the CBE, joked: “It’s normally 13 – what happened to the other 11?”
Avon and Somerset Police meanwhile said crime was down from 2005, with 236 offences reported compared to 267 during the last festival.
Drug-related crime also fell, while there were no reports of any thefts from vehicles or robberies.
The vast majority of the 160 people arrested during the three days were for drugs offences.
Officers confirmed a 26-year-old man from the Midlands had died at Yeovil District Hospital on Saturday evening, after being found unconscious on the site.
He is thought to have died of a drugs overdose and his death is not being treated as suspicious.
A spokesman for Mendip District Council, which granted Glastonbury a licence to stage the event, said they were impressed with the overall organisation.
But he warned Icelandic pop princess Bjork had breached the licence, when her headline set over ran by 20 minutes on Friday.
“The consequences are that there could be a review of the licence and the ultimate sanction would be the removal of the licence, but I don’t see that as a possibility.”
“I don’t want to over-egg it too much, but it does raise questions we need answered.”
New security measures – which required fans to register online and supply a passport photo – in a bid to beat the ticket touts were also heralded as a success by organisers.
A record 177,000 people braved the elements at this year’s event, but concerns over whether the site could accommodate so many people proved to be unfounded.
The site’s waterlogged car parks however had already caused problems for drivers leaving the festival early, as vehicles slid in the greasy, thick mud.