Sunny weather and The Boss to shine on Glastonbury
By Paul Lauener
GLASTONBURY, England (Reuters) - Bruce Springsteen will play an extra-long set and the sun will shine at the world's biggest green field arts and music festival this year, Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis said.
Old favorites will dominate Glastonbury this year as Neil Young, Tom Jones, Status Quo and Blur join Springsteen on the main stage, marking a return to the festival's guitar-based roots after rap superstar Jay-Z headlined last year.
This year, hip-hop artists like Q-Tip, Roots Manuva and Black Eyed Peas are mostly relegated to smaller areas on the southern English farmland that Eavis has been opening up for Glastonbury since 1970, when the one pound entry fee included free milk from the farm.
Springsteen is so keen to perform this year he has asked for more than his allotted time on the main 'Pyramid' stage.
"He wants to play for three hours actually, so we can give him two and a half by the sound of it or maybe two (hours) forty-five," Eavis told Reuters as his cows were herded indoors and he prepared for the invasion of some 200,000 revelers.
Other artists likely to appeal to a younger crowd include indie pop group The Wombats, Australia's Gabriella Cilmi, electro-pop musician Little Boots, and pop artist Lady Gaga.
Pete Doherty will play on Glastonbury's second-largest stage and The Prodigy, best-known for their violent lyrics and hard beats, will be performing "Invaders Must Die," their first album since 2004.
Eavis, who this year made it into TIME magazine's annual list of "the world's 100 most influential people," is confident that the weather will be good this year, but says there are enough marquees to cover everyone if the rain pours and the entire farm becomes a sludgy mud bath as in previous years.
The official weather forecast showed it could be a scorcher.
"It looks like actually getting quite warm and sunny," George Goodfellow, a forecaster at the Met Office, said on Friday, adding temperatures would be around 25-30 degrees Celsius.
Not just about music, the June 24-28 festival, which has 3,225 toilets and consumes over one million gallons of water, also has performing arts, theater, dance, spiritual-healing and circus events.
Highlights will include the silent disco, where clubbers dance to music on headphones while watching a 3D show through special glasses, "Cult Bingo," "frilly-knickered knife throwers," and "the world's strongest lady."
Those wishing something calmer can enroll in The Free University of Glastonbury and discuss nature, music, non-conformism and even math. Eternal hippies can head to Stone Circle, where people have been known to dance naked and play drums.
Always trying to find the right balance between security and freedom, an enormous fence surrounds the 1,100 acres of the festival to stop thefts from tents and control numbers.
Undercover surveillance personnel, some ex-military, patrol the site and hand over any dealers of hard drugs they find to police. Marijuana smokers are unofficially left to their own devices.
Eavis said there were only about 130 drug arrests last year and that it was not a big issue.
"Drugs were a problem through the 80s at Glastonbury, but I mean, we're 25 years on from that now so we've all moved on away from that culture really," he said.
Michael Eavis was clear that he was still the boss but said he was gradually giving more control of the festival organization to his 29-year-old daughter Emily.
"We'll see how she gets on with it and see if she enjoys it and if she wants all the responsibility that it involves, because it is quite considerable," adding that he has a special bond with Emily that began early on.
"The only way I could get her to sleep as a baby was by laying her on my belly," he said.
(Reporting by Paul Lauener; editing by Paul Casciato)