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Saturday, June 26, 1999 Published at 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK

Festival fun survives crime rise

Super Furry Animals prove to be a huge crowd pleaser

Crime may be on the up at Glastonbury, with 160 arrests so far, but it has not dampened the spirits of the 100,000 revellers.

Glastonbury 1999
The Avon and Somerset force said on Saturday it was dealing with 525 reported offences, including 427 thefts. Cannabis, LSD and cocaine have also been seized. The figures were up on the same time last year.

Supt John Buckley, in charge of policing the site, said the number of arrests showed a determination not to allow crime to spoil the festival for the vast majority of law-abiding fans.

The BBC's Max Flint: "The atmosphere was unbelievable"
"A number of people have been ejected from the site for criminal and anti-social behaviour and will not be readmitted," he said.

But for the rest of the festival-goers, a major concern was making use of the 600 litres of free sunscreen handed out at welfare points.

[ image: Manic Street Preachers: Show stopped briefly after crowd crushing]
Manic Street Preachers: Show stopped briefly after crowd crushing
Saturday's musical highlights included the Manic Street Preachers, Underworld, Super Furry Animals and Cast, plus punk poet Patti Smith headlining the New Bands tent.

The Manics' set ended abruptly after crowd crushes at the front of the audience. But they were soon back on after a brief delay.

Earlier a police helicopter was used to take a woman to the Royal United Hospital in Bath after she suffered burns when a gas bottle exploded backstage. Another woman injured in the same incident was taken to hospital in Yeovil by ambulance.

But most medical problems have been caused by breaks and sprains as people stumble around the 600-acre site, plus asthma attacks and minor burns, with some suffering from dehydration.

The sunshine, which bathed the site for much of the first two days, finally surrendered to more traditional Glastonbury rain on Saturday evening.

[ image: 57 people have been arrested for drug offences]
57 people have been arrested for drug offences
The heat had left festival-goers racing to move their tents away from the toilets as the stench rose with the temperature.

The rain fell at 1740 BST as Travis played the main stage - but it failed to dampen fans' enthusiasm. Ironically, the band was playing Why Does It Always Rain On Me? at the time. Thunderstorms are forecast for Sunday.

Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis is hoping extra drainage - fitted on the site over the past six months - will be able to cope. The previous two festivals were turned into mudbaths after torrential rain.

Mr Eavis said he was considering encouraging more people to bring caravans to help beat the criminals.

"The 14-year-olds can't so easily break into a caravan," he said.

Festival-goers' support

He added he was touched by the support of fans following the death six weeks ago of his wife Jean, who helped him set up the first festival in 1970.

"I've had lots of people coming up to me. Maybe they feel a bit sorry, but there's an amazing feeling of friendship and support," he said.

The site is more than just a venue for seeing musical acts, however, and it is possible to attend the whole festival without seeing a single band. The fields, which are normally home to grazing cows, have become a temporary urban oasis, providing food from around the world, as well as markets, therapists, and tattooists.

Cashpoints and mobile phone facilities are even available for those wanting some home comforts.

The festival closes on Sunday night with Skunk Anansie headlining the main stage. Lenny Kravitz and The Corrs will also perform.

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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