The rain stayed away for the thousands of music fans arriving at Glastonbury Festival today.
Sunshine even broke through the clouds over Worthy Farm in Somerset as festival goers trudged miles with rucksacks, tents and sleeping bags to reach the campsites.
The site was due to open at 8am but flung open its doors an hour early to allow the streams of people in, at an estimated rate of 5,000 per hour. Some had even slept out in their cars overnight to be the first in line.
They carried their precious cargo of beer and cider in shopping trolleys, laundry baskets and wheelbarrows as they made their way across the 900-acre site to secure the best camping spots.
The main performances at the event, which had a fallow year in 2012 to coincide with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, will not start until Friday – when Arctic Monkeys will top the bill, followed by The Rolling Stones on Saturday night and Mumford & Sons closing the festival on Sunday.
Celebrities including Kate Moss are set to be among the festival goers, with Mick Jagger even staying in Somerset to enjoy the weekend’s festivities.
Liam Gallagher, rumoured to be playing a set with his band Beady Eye, could be seen arriving at Castle Cary – the nearest railway station – by train this morning.
However, unlike most of the fans crammed onto the crowded train, the sunglasses-clad star was in the first class carriage.
Some festival goers having a much-needed rest before doing the final journey with their baggage said they could not wait for the festival to start.
Sarah Ford, 26, from Scunthorpe, said: “The weather is a bit different from 2011, which was just awful.
“It’s amazing that it’s not rainy this year. If it stays like this it will be perfect.
“We’ve come for the atmosphere more than anything. It’s just a great festival.”
But it is not just the atmosphere the fans are after.
Alice Evans, 25, from Hereford, said: “I’m actually really looking forward to the food as I’ve heard it’s brilliant. I’m gluten-free and vegetarian so it can be hard to find things to eat at festivals usually.”
She added: “In 2011, I didn’t have the money to go and regretted it the whole year.”
Bethany Walker, 21, from Southampton, said: “This is one of the things you have to do at least once in your life. All our parents came when they were younger.
“I can’t wait to see Mumford & Sons. We were devastated when we heard Ted Dwane was ill and we’re so glad he’s better.”
The Grammy-award winning band have confirmed they will still be performing at Glastonbury, despite bassist Dwane having surgery for a blood clot on the brain earlier this month.
The 135,000 tickets to this year’s festival, which cost £205 each, sold out in a record one hour and 40 minutes.
The weather is expected to be warm and mostly dry, quashing fears of another Worthy Farm washout.
James Wilby, forecaster with Meteogroup – the weather division of the Press Association, said: “You always expect there to be a deluge when it’s Glastonbury but luckily that doesn’t seem the case.
“There’s a fair bit of cloud around but it’s starting to brighten up, with temperatures up to 20C (68F) today.
“It’s pretty pleasant and will stay dry.
“Thursday morning will be dry and bright but there’s a chance of rain in the afternoon, with a damp end to the day. It will be more typical of the conditions you’d expect at a festival.
“It could potentially get a bit muddy, but there will only be a millimetre or two of rain.”
Friday will see spots of drizzle but conditions will improve during the day, with Saturday being dry and sunny. Sunday will be the best day of the festival with temperatures up to 22C (71.6F), Mr Wilby said.
Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis said he believes the weather, combined with the line-up, means this year’s festival will be “unusually good”.
“The whole thing is fantastic,” the 77-year-old farmer said. “There are 1,000 acres of creativity on a massive scale and to a very, very high standard. You won’t see anything else like this in the whole world.”
There is even the promise of the best-ever Glastonbury toilets, with a new system that sees waste go straight into the ground, designed to beat the infamous smell. Eavis has even said that, 43 years since the first Glastonbury, they have finally found “the perfect loo”.
To mark the resurrection of the festival after a year off, a giant phoenix has been installed on top of the Pyramid stage, designed by Joe Rush, who was behind many of the mechanical vehicles and props used at the Paralympics closing ceremony. Indeed one of them – a steamship on which singer Rihanna performed - can be found at the festival this year.
Other highlights fans can expect are appearances from Primal Scream, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Smashing Pumpkins, Elvis Costello, The xx, Public Enemy, Professor Green and Dizzee Rascal.
As ever, the festival is also offering some more unusual acts alongside the chart toppers – with Sir Bruce Forsyth playing on the Avalon Stage on Sunday, country star Kenny Rogers taking to the Pyramid Stage the same day, and the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan monks also making an appearance.
The unlikely combination of shorts and wellies was the order of the day as temperatures rose during the afternoon, with ice cream vans and bars alike enjoying a roaring trade.
Many chose to enjoy the sun while sitting at the stone circle, overlooking the whole site, while others were still pouring in through the entrances.
Marcus Hardy, 40, a project manager from Dewsbury, Leeds, said: “It was my birthday last week so I wanted to come to Glastonbury to celebrate.
“The line up isn’t as powerful as it has been in recent years but I’m really looking forward to Kodaline and The Lumineers.
“The weather’s superb so far. I’ve been to Reading and Leeds so it’s good to be here at Glastonbury.”
Michael Wildboar, 31, from Birmingham, said: “We got here about 6am. We just wanted to get a camping spot.
“I really want to see the Arctic Monkeys. I’m not a massive Rolling Stones fan as they’re not my generation’s music, but I’m going to see them because it’s the Stones.”
Gemma Clayton, 28, a textile agent from Nottingham, visiting the festival for the first time with two friends, said: “It’s absolutely boiling carrying all our stuff in, but it’s pretty awesome being here.
“The weather forecast’s so good we want to make sure we don’t drink too much and pass out.
“It’s pretty massive to see the Stones. My mum saw them in London when she was 17 and touched Mick Jagger, so that was a big day in her life. I’ve promised to call her when Red Rooster is on.”
The fields filled up with brightly-coloured tents and the huge flags that have become a Glastonbury trademark during the day.
Finishing touches were being made to some of the festival venues – of which there are hundreds – as the guests continued to arrive.