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Friday, June 25, 1999 Published at 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK

Pop fans feel festival heat

Glastonbury Festival has attracted 100,000 people

Up to 100,000 revellers are enjoying the sights and sounds of the Glastonbury Festival - but with crime on the increase, some music fans feel the atmosphere is not what it used to be.

Glastonbury 1999
The festival opened at noon on Friday with Abba tribute band Bjorn Again performing to tens of thousands of people.

They basked in warm sunshine - a relief to many after rain turned the previous two festivals into mudbaths.

The festival got a touch of glamour with US band Hole, who were fronted by Courtney Love wearing a pink bikini and a pair of fairy wings.

The weather was still balmy after the sun went down, with REM thrilling the crowds with hits Losing My Religion and Everybody Hurts.

The BBC's Jane O'Brien: A tented city the size of Bath
Saturday's highlights will include the Manic Street Preachers, Underworld, Super Furry Animals and Cast, plus punk poet Patti Smith joining newcomers like Ooberman in the New Bands tent. Skiffle legend Lonnie Donegan also plays in the accoustic tent.

The BBC's Jane O'Brien: "Sunshine is feeding the spirit of Glastonbury"
The 600-acre site at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, which is normally used to seeing cows grazing, has become a temporary city for the weekend, with market stalls selling food from around the world, as well as markets, therapists, and tattooists. Cashpoints and mobile phone facilities are even available.

Public nudity protest

[ image: It is the first sunny Glastonbury since 1995]
It is the first sunny Glastonbury since 1995
Among the more unusual sights on Friday was a karaoke tent featuring comedian Keith Allen and former Clash frontman Joe Strummer. The duo were raising money for tree-planting programmes.

Another sight was Vincent Bethell, who paraded around the site wearing factor 15 sun cream - but nothing else.

He handed out leaflets - which he kept in a bag slung over his shoulder - to passers-by about his campaign to permit public nudity, which has involved him staging similar protests in London.

"It's an abuse of human rights I'm not allowed to be myself," he said.

"I'm campaigning for the right to be naked in public. I'm interested in the relationship between mind and body."

But, with police reporting increasing crime figures, some festival-goers found the atmosphere edgy at times.

'Different sort of feel'

[ image: Vincent Bethell:
Vincent Bethell: "I'm interested in the relationship between mind and body"
On Friday evening, Avon and Somerset police said there had been 401 reported crimes, 100 more than this time last year. They included 317 thefts and 45 robberies. The force added 110 arrests had been made, including 40 for theft.

Mick White, 58, has been three times over a ten-year period. He said: "There has become a different sort of feel to this place. There are two festivals now.

"There's the original hippy cool and then there are the football yobs."

His wife Jenny, 52, - four festivals in 15 years - said: "There's a threatening air in the main drag, the 'shopping mall', and around the main stage.

"But the circus and theatre fields are brilliant."

Sunburn problem

The fine weather is set to continue during the first part of the weekend, although rain is a possibility on Saturday night and during Sunday.

However, the sun has brought its own problems, with many suffering sunburn as they ignored advice to cover up.

Overall police reported few major casualties, although two people suffered serious burns when gas canisters exploded in two tents.

One woman had 20% burns and had to be transferred by helicopter to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol to be treated by the specialist burns unit.

And absent from the scheduled list of performers was Ian Dury, who was forced to cancel because of illness.

The star has been battling liver cancer for many months.

There is live coverage of Glastonbury all weekend on BBC Radio 1, BBC Two, and on the digital TV channel BBC Choice. For more details, click here.

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In this section

Glastonbury's unforgettable weekend

Festival fans praised by police

Glastonbury: A weekend in pictures

Glastonbury Diary: Part 4

Glastonbury Diary: Part 3

Glastonbury Diary: Part 2

Glastonbury Diary: Part 1

Three decades of Glastonbury

Eavis' labour of love

The early years