Glastonbury's muddy years: the festival’s worst weather in pictures
25 June 2021, 08:00
Rain, thunder, lightning, mud, mud and mud. Despite taking place in "Flaming June", Britain's biggest festival hasn't always been lucky when it comes to the weather. Here are some of the absolute worst occasions.
Despite Glastonbury being called off for a second year running due to the Coronavirus pandemic, keen festival-goers will have an eye on the weather forecast to see what the weekend would have been like.
It's a familiar pattern - many a Glastonbury has been blessed with beautiful weather for a couple of days, then hit with non-stop rain for the rest of the weekend. And rain plus hundreds of thousands of people equals MUD. Take a look at some of the muddiest, wettest Glastonbury festivals of all time.
Glastonbury weather 1982: very damp and slippery
Such was the small size of Glastonbury in the 1970s, that the festival didn’t really have a stinker of a mudbath until 1982. There was torrential rain on the first day and the weather didn’t let up for the rest of the event, making the ground very slippery and quite treacherous.
Glastonbury weather 1990: unpleasant in more ways than one
Not only was there another deluge in 1990, but there was a tense stand-off between Glastonbury security and a group of travellers that resulted in there being no festival the following year. During The Cure’s headline set, a girl was crushed at the front of the crowd and an emergency helicopter had to land by the Pyramid Stage. Not a good year.
Glastonbury weather 1997: one of the muddiest of all time
One of the most notorious years, with torrential rain pelting the site before the festivities even began. Neil Young cancelled, leaving Kula Shaker (!) to step in, while Ash deputised for Steve Winwood and ended up headlining the Pyramid Stage. Radiohead on Saturday night were given an almost rapturous response, such was the relief that they actually performed.
Meanwhile, the Other Stage was in such a precarious position that the music started late on Friday and by Sunday the structure had started to sink into the mud. Mansun had to cancel their set and The Bluteones were left to finish off one of the wettest festivals ever.
Glastonbury weather 1998: no respite from the rain
After the horrendous weather of 1997, surely nothing could go wrong the following year? Wrong. ’98 was another grisly year and, again, by Saturday many had bailed out and left the site.
Glastonbury weather 2004: a game of two halves
After a run of nice weather, 2004 started off well, but the rain kicked in on Saturday, meaning many watched headliner Paul McCartney in wet and slippery mud. It cleared up by Sunday, but the rest of the festival was quite slushy.
Glastonbury weather 2005: floods, mud and a water-logged Worthy Farm
A beautiful Thursday night gave way in the early hours to the most rain the festival has EVER seen - almost a month’s worth of water fell in a few hours, washing tents down the hills and flooding campsites.
The John Peel Stage was struck by lightning and Friday’s programme of music was delayed while the site was made safe, with many festival-goers having to wade through water to get around. Luckily, the rain didn’t return, but the sun did - making the mud “set” and turn to a thick glue-like consistency. Nasty.
Glastonbury weather 2007: another wash-out
Another pleasant start quickly went bad as torrential rain began on Friday morning and continued right until the bitter end.
The Who and The Chemical Brothers headlined on Sunday night and performed during a horrible, freezing cold downpour.
Glastonbury Festival weather 2009: thunderbolt and lightning!
After a decent 2008, things looked good for the 2009 festival - until the clouds came in and brought lightning alongside the rain. Luckily, the skies cleared not long after and a full-blown mudbath was avoided. Some people made the most of it, though.
Glastonbury weather 2011: when the rain comes...
Rain again, spoiling U2’s big moment as it comprehensively pissed down during the band’s set. Even Radiohead’s surprise set was damp. Panic set in briefly during Thursday as the heavens opened and it looked like another swamp was in store. But the good vibes held off the worst of the weather and things took a better turn in time for The Rolling Stones’ headline set on Saturday night. Some people even had to be treated for heat exhaustion by Sunday.
Glastonbury weather 2014: electrical storm!
An electrical storm on the Friday night brought proceedings to a brief halt, and the showers continued throughout Saturday.
Thankfully, 2014 wasn’t a complete wash-out and things picked up on the Sunday in time for Dolly Parton’s set. Woo-hoo!
Glastonbury weather 2015
Panic set in briefly on Friday afternoon when showers appeared, but thankfully it didn't last and a complete deluge was avoided.
Glastonbury weather 2016
There was another worrying start to proceedings, with flash floods hitting the area the week before the festival.
The festival site was muddy from Wednesday onwards - which meant getting around the stages was a struggle for the rest of the weekend was a struggle.
Glastonbury weather 2017
Well, what do you know? 2017 was the polar opposite of 2016, with scorching temperatures (30 degrees on the Wednesday) meaning people had to be treated for heat stroke as they queued to get in. The hot weather stayed for the rest of the weekend, which goes to prove you never can tell with Glastonbury weather.