Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 18:41 UK

Fans flock to Glastonbury opener

Revellers at Maximo Park performance
Crowds thronged around the site's Queens Head stage

Thousands of fans have watched rock band Maximo Park kick off this year's Glastonbury Festival.

Stewards had to shut the area surrounding the Queen's Head, one of the site's smaller stages, after large crowds gathered to see the group.

The main stages open on Friday, when Neil Young, The Specials and Lily Allen will be among the main attractions.

The Somerset site was largely sunny with some showers on Thursday, but a wet weekend is likely to be in store.

Fans have come prepared for yet another wet and muddy weekend at Worthy Farm, with torrential thunderstorms on the cards.

As the action got under way, fans were looking forward to the weekend - but had concerns about the weather.

Richard Gillett, 22, from Somerset said: "It's the best festival. It's got everything - dance, rock, reggae. It's like every possible festival you'd find in Europe rolled into one. Fingers crossed for no rain."

Emily Eavis on what she is looking forward to at this year's Glastonbury Festival

Laura Heggarty, 22, from London, added: "If it rains, we want it to be at the end so we've had our sunny days, jump into the mud and then go home."

Maximo Park's set marked the first time a well-known band had played on the Thursday.

As they were the only major musical attraction on offer, several thousand fans were left outside their venue. The performance was relayed on big screens outside.

Also on Thursday, reformed boy band East 17 are playing the Dance Lounge, as are old-school dance duo Altern-8, best remembered for their trademark chemical suits.

More than 90,000 revellers were already on site by Thursday morning, 30% up on the same point last year.

Festival-goers appeared more intent on enjoying Glastonbury's entire five-day stretch.

Eddie Balls, 31, from Essex, said: "There seem to be a lot of people here earlier - people want to get their money's worth."

Glastonbury from the air
Around 175,000 people will be on the festival site on Friday

Mr Balls is staying in a caravan he bought for £500 on eBay after camping last year.

More fans are opting to bring their accommodation on wheels, with 3,100 caravans or campervans on site by Thursday morning - 92.8% up on the same point last year.

Mr Balls said he wanted home comforts like hot water and a shower, and was hoping it might also work out cheaper.

"We're all getting a bit older and trying to save a bit of money by bringing our own food and drink so we don't end up spending as much," he said. "There are a lot of people doing it."

Bruce Springsteen will headline the main Pyramid Stage on Saturday night, with Blur closing the show on Sunday.



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