Glastonbury 2010: Kylie and Radiohead get festival's 40th birthday party started


Revellers celebrate four decades of mud, sweat and beers amid blue skies and World Cup excitement

From the booming bass from the main stage to the bursts of pop from the burger vans, music is everywhere at Glastonbury, a constant buzz that bleeds from one area to the next.

But for the past few days the fields of Worthy Farm have also been echoing with a more unexpected tune. Spontaneous renditions of Happy Birthday have been heard around the site at all hours of the day or night, as revellers who love Britain's biggest festival congratulate it on achieving the venerable age of 40.

Music fans, so often battling through mud at this stage of the weekend, have instead been treated to clear blue skies and sweltering temperatures that, mixed with a heady World Cup excitement, have already made this year's festival one of the most memorable in years.

Arguably the best birthday present went to festival goers at the Park stage who saw a surprise acoustic set from two-fifths of Radiohead, whose seminal 1997 performance was voted the greatest Glastonbury headline act of all time. Thom Yorke played four of his solo songs, before being joined by Jonny Greenwood and running through a series of Radiohead songs.

A near tearful crowd sang the refrain from Karma Police – "for a minute there, I lost myself" – in what may prove to be one of the moments of Glastonbury 2010. David Jones, 35 from Co Durham had gone on "a gut feeling". He said: "It's the greatest moment of my life, I'm dumbstruck. We were just so lucky to be here."

Nor were the Yorke and Greenwood the only surprise big names unable to resist joining the festival's birthday celebration. Tomorrow Kylie Minogue, who had to cancel her headline performance in 2005 after being diagnosed with cancer, is expected to perform on the Pyramid stage alongside Scissors Sisters, while it has been strongly rumoured that Muse may be joined by the Edge from U2, who had to cancel their own scheduled headline slot last month after singer Bono injured his back.

Earlier a bombastic set from Dizzee Rascal, saw the urban star team up with Florence Welch for a energetic rendition of You Got The Love, before Gorillaz seemed determined to create one of the most star-studded headline performances the festival has seen, inviting Snoop Dogg and Mos Def, Lou Reed and others to the stage.

Festival organiser and Park stage curator Emily Eavis, whose father Michael set up the festival 40 years ago, said they had wanted something special to celebrate the milestone. "Everyone has pulled out the stops this year, the artists and all of the areas. Everyone has gone the extra mile to make it a celebratory occasion," she said.

Hiding behind a tent for a few moments' respite from the sun and the constant calls on her mobile, she was delighted that festival-goers had got into the party spirit.

"People are singing Happy Birthday, there's loads of impromptu whooping, there is a real feeling of excitement and genuine occasion," she said. "It makes you really proud actually, I'm quite emotional about it."

Elsewhere on site, happy red faces attempted to cool down with chilled cider, and struck up new friendships over shared suncream.

There was unanimous agreement that the 40th anniversary was turning out to be quite an event. Joe Don, a factory worker from Portsmouth described it as "a massive birthday party where you can do what you like and there are no rules". He said: "I think winning the football on Wednesday put everyone in a good mood and the sun just makes it a brilliant atmosphere."

Wearing a floral dress, blue wig, pink sunglasses and a green policeman's hat, George Bethall, 22, was enjoying Glastonbury's fabled friendliness. "You can sit next to anyone and start up a conversation and know they are going to be nice," he said.

The weather was his best opening line. "We're all saying to each other 'Isn't the weather lovely?' It's very British."

Dominick Clementson, at the festival with his partner and three children, 20 years after his first visit, described the event as "a natural antidepressant". He had a message for Michael Eavis, the festival's 74-year-old founder who hoped to pay off his mortgage with a small festival 40 years ago: "Just, thank you."

Daughter Scarlet, nine and a half, added: "It's more than brilliant, and it's more than more than brilliant."

Many of the original hippies, too, who paid £1 to get into the first festival – with free milk included – have come back this year to celebrate, said Liz Eliot, the organiser of the Green Fields, which many believe is the soul of Glastonbury.

"I think many of them are looking to recapture part of their youth," she said. "Apart from finding it a bit over-organised they are coming here and finding that essence of freedom, to be yourself or find yourself still exists in this wonderful space."

There was nothing so organised as a festival manifesto in 1970, but by 1971, the first year of the Pyramid stage, which lies on the crossing of two ley lines in line with Glastonbury Tor, Glastonbury Fayre promised an event "in the medieval tradition, embodying the legends of the area, with music, dance, poetry, theatre, lights and the opportunity for spontaneous entertainments".

Thirty nine years on, as the sun set over the fields of Glastonbury last night and thousands of revellers set off to explore its after-dark delights, that promise still held.

bombastic: górnolotny, napuszony

dumbstruck: oniemiały

fabled: legendarny

impromptu: improwizowany

recapture: odzyskać, ponownie schwytać

rendition: wykonanie, interpretacja

respite: wytchnienie

reveller: uczestnik popijawy, imprezowicz, hulaka

seminal: brzemienny w skutki, zaczący

sweltering: upalny

unanimous: jednomyślny

venerable: sędziwy, czcigodny

whooping: okrzyki, zabawa



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