Rock godfathers The Who headline at Glastonbury on Sunday with persistent rain turning the rural English meadows which host the world’s biggest music and arts festival into a high-spirited mudbath.
Tractors spread straw and woodchips as paths became harder to negotiate, but music-inspired festival-goers in brightly colored ponchos and rubber wellington boots danced, frolicked and played undaunted.
“It’s gone very well in spite of the rain, in spite of the mud,” upbeat festival founder Michael Eavis said on Sunday.
“Believe it or not the drains have actually worked ... the show compensates for the weather ... the sun’s not everything.”
Other big acts on the third and final day of Glastonbury include British music sensation the Kaiser Chiefs, angsty rockers Manic Street Preachers, Californian indie band Cold War Kids, Arkansas’ The Gossip, and Welsh diva Shirley Bassey.
More than 1,200 of the record 177,500 attendees had been injured by Sunday, mostly with sprains and bruises from slipping in the mud at Eavis’s farm in southwest England set up in the 1970s as a musical hippie haven.
Police said one 26-year-old man had died from a suspected drugs overdose and that despite far more people on site than last year there were fewer arrests and these were mostly drug related. Only 31 thefts were reported.
Downpours were forecast for the rest of the festival but organizers said the flooding would have been much worse without the new 100,000 pound ($199,000) drainage system and other precautions installed by 71-year-old Eavis.
“I was completely unprepared for the Glastonbury experience,” said Norwegian singer Lawra Somby, with the group Adjagas, who had to walk barefoot through the mud because he had the wrong shoes before he togged up with boots and raincoat.
Many people were fretting about how they would exit the rural muddy site on Monday.
American indie rock kings The Killers rounded off the second day of the festival on Saturday night with a storming 1-1/2 hour-long set that left the main stage audience cheering for more.
Against a pyrotechnic display The Killers played some of their biggest hits, like “All These Things That I’ve Done” and “Smile Like You Mean It.”
Bad boy rocker Pete Doherty and his band Babyshambles, dressed as 1930s gangsters, played a popular set, with Doherty’s partner supermodel Kate Moss joining in on backing vocals.
Dirty Pretty Things, featuring Doherty’s former Libertines band mate Carl Barat, made their debut Glastonbury performance to riotous applause, singing tracks including “Gin and Milk.”
Barat squashed this year’s Glastonbury rumor that the Libertines would reunite for the festival. “I’d love to play with Pete one day,” he said.
As The Killers played their set, music legend Iggy Pop and the Stooges played on the Other Stage. Iggy, in a trademark wild gesture, invited a fan on stage. Once one fan was on stage the floodgates opened and Iggy was soon swamped by up to 400 fans.
Paul Williams, a security guard at the event said: “Iggy broke the rules big time.” Fans were removed from the stage by a combination of the security team and Iggy pleading with the fans to “calm it down.”
During the stage invasion, Ron Asheton’s Fender guitar was stolen and one man was arrested for indecent exposure.