Glastonbury Festival returns after pandemic stops

People queue for entry on the first day of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset, England, Wednesday June 22, 2022. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)

L.A, 2022-06-22 11:35:00. Glastonbury Festival returns after pandemic stops

Thousands of people return to Glastonbury Festival in England as the five-day music and performing arts event reopened on Wednesday for the first time in three years after being disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The festival, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, is set to feature 3,000 artists, including Billie Eilish, Diana Ross, Kendrick Lamar and Paul McCartney. McCartney’s weekend party would make him, at 80, the oldest soloist of the festival.

Festival-goers began lining up to enter the gates at Worthy Farm in Somerset, southwest England, early on Wednesday. Many struggled to get to the site because the festival coincided with Britain’s biggest rail strike in decades.

Only 60 percent of trains were expected to run on Wednesday, with more strikes planned for Thursday and Saturday.

Hundreds of people waited with their bags at London’s Paddington station to try to catch the train to the festival.

Camilla Seward, 26, described feeling “extremely panicked” when the rail strikes were announced.

“It’s my first real festival ever,” she said. “We bought the ticket nearly three years ago. I was so nervous about getting there that I didn’t even think who I was excited to see.”

Gina Conway, 30, thought she could beat the travel turmoil by arriving in Paddington early, but she and a friend were left in line for hours.

“We got here three hours before the train left, we were stupid, we thought we could jump on any train. We thought they’d be nice because of the hits, but they wouldn’t let us on, so we’re waiting now,” she said.

About 200,000 people are expected to participate in the festival, which runs until Sunday.

“It was a long wait and it’s just the biggest gathering we’ve ever had,” said festival organizer Emily Ives.

“Having Paul McCartney for us is just the best person this year to get all that thing back together again,” Ives said. “And what better way to celebrate this than with Paul McCartney himself.”

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