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Glastonbury Festival Weather: Here are the FACTS

Trying to predict the weather for Glastonbury is nigh impossible, but here are some historical weather facts that may help with what to expect

As Glastonbury 2019 draws closer to fruition, so do the expectations, speculations and fears of over 135,000 Glasto-goers, as to what weather they’ll be faced with once they arrive at Worthy Farm and make it their home for the weekend.

The weather plays a major role when it comes to Glastonbury, as it can have a substantial effect on the whole experience.

With long-range weather forecasts being a fickle matter, any prediction at this point would be as accurate as a blindfolded person pissing during an earthquake. That being said, we’ve decided to take a look at some historical Glastonbury weather figures and facts, as we count down the hours, minutes (and yes, some of us even the seconds) till those big beautiful green gates open up for what will most definitely turn out to be the best party of the year (and for many a life-changing experience).

This year will mark the 36th Glastonbury Festival and be 49 years since the first ever event was held on September 19, 1970 (one day after the death of the late great Jimmy Hendrix). From that year forth, the Festival date was rescheduled to coincide with the weekend following the Summer Solstice. The Festival back then was attended by approximately 1500 people, with an entrance fee of just £1, which also included free milk from the local farm – The weather that day was dry, with no rainfall recorder at any of the observation stations around the site.

Glastonbury 1971 was the first year of the now-iconic Pyramid Stage, with the maximum temperature recorded at 21.3°C.

Glastonbury 1971 | © Paul Townsend

Up until 2017, Glastonbury 1984 was noted as the hottest day in the Festival’s history, coming in at a wapping 27.5°C.

Glastonbury 1984 | Sunday night. © Phil

In addition to being a particularly wet festival with 43.8mm of rain, Glastonbury 1985 was also recorded as the windiest Glastonbury Festival year to date, with maximum gusts reaching 36mph.

FACT: To date, there have been 20 years where the festival remained free of mud.

In 1989 temperatures reached 26.6°C, making that year the warmest average year on record.

Glastonbury 1989 | The good old days when you could park next to your car. © Stuart Townsend

Despite there being only a few millimetres of rain during the weekend, there was rain in 8 out of the 9 days leading up to ‘the year of the mud’, also known as Glastonbury 1997 – with 78mm falling in total. Before the 1997 festival, about 110% of the average rainfall for June fell in the runup to the opening day.

Glastonbury 1997 | A Glasto-goer covered in mud from head to toe. © Taz Mattar

FACT: Of the 15 muddy years recorded to date, only 11 years were so bad that they have been categorised as mud-baths. Those years were: 1982, 1985, 1997, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2016.

The 2005 festival was delayed on opening day by heavy rain and thunderstorms, several stages including the Acoustic Stage were struck by lighting. The valley was also hit by flash floods which left some of the areas under 4 foot of water.

Glastonbury 2005 | Friday morning, following the flash floods the night before. © Rupert

By 2007 £750,000 worth of flood defences were in place, so flooding was minimal, but as you could expect it was still very muddy and wet. At nearby Rodney Stoke weather station, 60.1mm of rain fell on the wettest day.

Glastonbury 2007 | Ice cream truck drenched in the Glasto mud. © Sbally

Glastonbury 2010 had some of the sunniest weather – In addition to celebrating Glastonbury Festival’s 40th anniversary, 2010 saw three days of sunshine with temperatures soaring to 27.3°C on the 26th of June.

FACT: To date, there have been 8 years where no rain was recorded on the site during the festival – those years were: 1970, 1983, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1995, 2000 and 2010.

In 2016, Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis said that the mud was the worst it had ever been. According to a story in the Glastonbury Free Press, the legendary dairy farmer said that the Glastonbury traffic tailbacks, caused by the spate of rainy weather, were some of the worst in the past 10 or 15 years. He said: “In my 46 years it hasn’t been as bad [muddy] as this. Every single bit of woodchip in the south of England is here over 1,000 acres.”

Glastonbury 2016 | Mud-bath. © John Bownas

As mentioned above, Glastonbury 2017 dethroned 1989 as the hottest ever Glastonbury Festival – According to the BBC, in 2017 the temperature reached 30°C by 14:00 and was expected to rise further during the afternoon, making it the hottest day in the event’s history.

Glastonbury 2017 | Glasto-goers enjoying the sun. © Christopher Pinkowicz

As with every Glastonbury year, various long-range reports trying to predict the weather for this year’s Festival are to be taken very lighty – ranging from predictions of a “three-month heatwave” to “grime and unsettled” – All just unsubstantiated guesses at this point. As of the time of writing, no (reputable) weather sites are currently providing forecasts as far out as the festival.

Two of the most prominent sites to keep your eye on for Glastonbury 2019 weather reports and forecasts would be The Met Office and GavsWeatherVids, who does an excellent job on the Glastonbury weather forecast front.


Sources:
metoffice.gov.uk
wikipedia.org
bbc.co.uk

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