Rain forecast as Glastonbury Festival opens

Hundreds queued all night to be first through the gates

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The Glastonbury Festival has opened its gates, with 200,000 revellers expected to descend on Worthy Farm to see Dolly Parton, Metallica and Arcade Fire.

Fans queued outside the Somerset site from dawn on Wednesday and counted down as the pedestrian gates were opened.

They face a wet weekend, with heavy downpours predicted on Thursday and a potential mudbath on Friday.

However, it is unlikely to be as bad as 2005, when flash flooding left some of the site under water.

Glastonbury 2005 The start of the 2005 festival was delayed after torrential downpours
BBC Glastonbury Logo

Conditions on the opening day are likely to be pleasant, said Louise Lear from BBC Weather.

"If you're going to be putting up a tent in a field, then probably the conditions will be perfect. The ground is not too hard or too soft at the moment, and it should stay dry into the evening," she said.

"But by Friday it looks as though the rain, some of it quite heavy, will arrive."

Showers are also predicted for Saturday and Sunday.

Parton 'excited'

Festival organiser Emily Eavis announced the beginning of the festivities on Twitter, writing: "The gates are open! Welcome to Glastonbury Festival 2014."

Emily Eavis welcomes fans to the festival
Glastonbury ticket-holders pitch their tents The first arrivals enjoyed pleasant weather as they pitched their tents

The music begins on some of the smaller stages at lunchtime, but the festival starts in earnest on Friday, when the likes of Lily Allen, Paolo Nutini and Blondie are on the bill.

Friday night's headliners are Canadian indie-rock band Arcade Fire, whose carnivalesque live show incorporates choreographed dancers, glitter cannons and fake palm trees.

"It's a great gig, and I think there's a lot of goodwill because of what it means culturally," frontman Win Butler told the BBC.

Other acts scheduled to play over the weekend include hip-hop provocateur MIA, former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant, pop sensation Ed Sheeran and country music legend Dolly Parton.

Dolly Parton Dolly Parton takes the "legend" slot on the Pyramid Stage on Sunday afternoon

"I'm excited," 68-year-old Parton told the Radio Times. "I just want to make sure I do the right show.

"I've heard of Glastonbury because it's one of the biggest in the world. For years, everybody's asked me why I've never done it, and I guess it's never worked out where I could, and so now I am."

The audience is being encouraged to perform a special dance routine when Parton plays her signature song, Joelene. Instructions and video have been posted online.

The festival also incorporates spoken word, circus performers, poetry, cabaret, theatre and comedy.

:: Read our guide to 11 acts to see away from the main stage.

The Pyramid Stage The finishing touches were made to the Pyramid Stage earlier this week

Meanwhile, organisers have urged ticket-holders not to bring plastic water bottles with them, as part of a drive to become the UK's most environmentally-friendly music festival.

An estimated one million bottles were discarded across the 900-acre site in 2013.

This year, reusable bottles are being given to staff and band members, with thousands more on sale to festival-goers, who can fill them up at 400 drinking water taps across the site.

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