Entertainment & Arts

Glastonbury gets under way: James, Disclosure and Muse in the mud

Tim Booth of James Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption James, fronted by Tim Booth, will open the main musical programme with an early-morning set on The Other Stage

The Glastonbury Festival gets under way in earnest later, with 90s band James launching events on the main stages.

Fans can also catch ZZ Top, Disclosure, Foals and pop star Jess Glynne, while Muse are Friday night's headliners.

The ground remains muddy after torrential rain at the start of the week, but a dry day on Thursday has made conditions more tolerable.

This year's festival boasts appearances by everyone from Coldplay and Adele to Jeremy Corbyn and Basil Brush.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The ground has been churned up by a mixture of rain and the arrival of more than 100,000 revellers
Image copyright PA
Image caption There will be many tributes - both planned and fan-made - to David Bowie over the weekend

Blur frontman Damon Albarn is the first act on the Pyramid Stage on Friday morning, playing a set with the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians.

The ensemble comprises members of the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music (SNOAM) who were dispersed by the country's brutal civil war.

Before the conflict, Albarn had worked with the musicians on his hip-hop project Gorillaz.

He told the BBC: "The whole point of this is to get the orchestra back together, to get them working again - just giving some kind of alternative to the prism of the news, which is entirely a negative thing."

Image copyright Mark Allan
Image caption Albarn, waving a flag, performing with the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music at the Roundhouse in London in 2010

Elsewhere, Friday will see Glastonbury's Sonic Stage given over to the UK's increasingly-influential Grime scene, with acts like Stormzy, Section Boyz and Lady Leshurr on the bill.

Headliner Kano, who has been one of the genre's leading voices over the last decade, said the recognition was "really important".

"You look at this line-up and you feel like, 'wow, we really have arrived'. It's been a massive year for us. So yeah, it's a proud moment."

In total, more than 2,000 acts will perform on more than 100 stages this weekend, with the biggest crowds expected for Adele's set on Saturday night and Jeff Lynne's ELO, who play the Sunday "legends slot" - which has seen triumphant performances from Dolly Parton and Lionel Richie in recent years.

The music begins after two days of misery for revellers, who endured hours of traffic jams on their way to the festival on Wednesday.

When they finally arrived, they found the camping sites were waterlogged, with muddy walkways resembling the consistency of chocolate mousse.

But the atmosphere improved by Thursday night, as the ground began to dry out and music boomed out from the dance arenas.

Snooker legend Steve Davis attracted a large crowd for his DJ set at the Stonebridge bar, while BBC Sound of 2016 nominee Mura Masa played a ribcage-rattling late-night set on the Wow! Stage.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Thousands of people paid their respects to MP Jo Cox at The Park Stage

Earlier in the day, Billy Bragg led a vigil for MP Jo Cox, who was killed in the streets of her constituency last week.

He led the crowd in a chorus of the protest song We Shall Overcome, while Brigid McConville, who worked with Mrs Cox at the White Ribbon Alliance for three years, paid tribute to her friend.

McConville told a crowd of thousands she would never forget the moment she heard the news of the fatal attack.

"It feels like the attack on Jo was an attack on all of us," she said.

"We believed she would be prime minister one day," she continued. "We think the best thing we can do in her memory is to continue to listen to the most marginalised people in our society."

Thousands of people attended the memorial, many wearing the violet, white and green colours of the suffragette movement.

Many of the artists performing this weekend are contributing a track to an Oxfam charity album, which has been dedicated to the memory of the MP.

The BBC will carry full coverage of Glastonbury on TV, Radio, online and via the red button service. Find more details here.

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