21 Jun 2016

Glastonbury weather: washout or not?

It’s that time of year again, when more than 100,000 festival goers descend upon Worthy Farm in Somerset, to attend Glastonbury Festival.

Green fields (muddy ones too) suddenly transform into a sea of colourful tents, as everyone gears up for five days of partying, fun and musical performances.

However, all eyes are on the sky, as the weather will determine whether or not people will walk around covered in sun lotion or mud.

Atmosphere - Glastonbury Festival

Having presented the weather live from Glastonbury back in 2014 – a year when thunderstorms closed all of the stages for a time – I know that it doesn’t take much rain to turn the place into a mud bath.

So, here are my words of weathery wisdom that will hopefully make your Glastonbury experience a little more informed when it comes to what the weather will deliver.

Glastonbury weather extremes in the past

Glastonbury has been taking place since 1970, with a festival more or less every year since the early 80s. As you might imagine, it has seen some pretty varied weather in its history.

The hottest day on record at the festival was back in 1984, when the temperature soared to 27.5C on 20 June – a year in which the American jazz fusion band called Weather Report was playing.

The wettest year was back in 1997, described as ‘year of the mud.’ Despite only a little rain falling during the festival, eight of the nine days running up to it saw heavy rain, with 78mm – more than three inches!

GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 25: Festivals goers brave the mud at the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 25, 2011 in Glastonbury, England. The festival, which started in 1970 when several hundred hippies paid 1 GBP to watch Marc Bolan, has grown into Europe's largest music festival attracting more than 175,000 people over five days. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

The sunniest year was in 2010, with 64.3 hours of sunshine during the festival days – allowing those attending to enjoy Gorillaz, Muse and Stevie Wonder’s performances without fear of getting drenched.

Glastonbury weather this year

The first half of June has been wetter than normal across England. According to the Met Office, around 60mm of rain has fallen in the Glastonbury area in the past week.

It’s no surprise then, that there have already been pictures of massive puddles and muddy fields, before festival goers have even arrived.

This year, the weather will be typically British, although the risk of torrential rain and thunderstorms on Thursday has lessened somewhat compared to yesterday.

Tuesday night (queuing) – steady light rain arriving later on, with the odd heavier burst possible

Wednesday – cloud and light rain in the morning, followed by sunshine and showers in the afternoon

Thursday – probably cloudy and dry in the morning, then sunshine and showers in the afternoon

Friday, Saturday and Sunday – sunshine and a few showers, but probably dry for most of the time

Temperatures during the festival will be a respectable 19-21C by day, dropping no lower than 10-14C at night.

UV and pollen levels

Things that can often be forgotten about are the UV and pollen levels, which are particularly important in late June, as the sun is strong and the grass pollen season well underway.

GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: The crowd enjoy the afternoon sunshine before Primal Scream perform on the Pyramid Stage during day 3 of the 2013 Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm on June 29, 2013 in Glastonbury, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)A common misconception is that it has to be a really hot in order for the UV levels to be high. That, however, is not true. UV levels are not related to temperature.

UV levels are expected to be moderate to high during the sunnier days, so it’s worth having sun lotion to hand.

Grass pollen levels will generally be high during the festival, although they will dip to medium on Wednesday when there’ll be some rain.

If you’re going, have a great time and send me your pictures on Twitter – @liamdutton – from where I’ll also be posting regular weather updates.

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