Glastonbury's muddy years: the festival’s worst weather in pictures

24 June 2022, 15:00

Glastonbury festival is swamped in the mud and rain, 2005
Glastonbury festival is swamped in the mud and rain, 2005. Picture: Jon Super/Redferns/Getty Images

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.

  1. 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.

    The crowd at Glastonbury festival on 18 June 1982
    The crowd at Glastonbury festival on 18 June 1982. Picture: David Corio/Redferns/Getty Images
  2. 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.

    General view of the front rows of the crowd in front of the Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury Festival, United Kingdom, 1990.
    General view of the front rows of the crowd in front of the Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury Festival, United Kingdom, 1990. Picture: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images
  3. 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.

    A view of festival-goers covered in mud at a rain-soaked Glastonbury Festival 1997
    A view of festival-goers covered in mud at a rain-soaked Glastonbury Festival 1997. Picture: Edd Westmacott / Alamy Stock Photo

    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.

    The gradually sinking Other Stage at Glastonbury 1997
    The gradually sinking Other Stage at Glastonbury 1997. Picture: Edward Westmacott / Alamy Stock Photo
  4. 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.

    One of the wettest Glastonbury festivals, June 1998.
    One of the wettest Glastonbury festivals, June 1998. Picture: Independent / Alamy Stock Photo
  5. 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.

    The grass soon disappeared at Glastonbury 2004
    The grass soon disappeared at Glastonbury 2004. Picture: Martin Hood / Alamy Stock Photo
  6. 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.

    Friday morning at Glastonbury 2005, following flash floods the night before
    Friday morning at Glastonbury 2005, following flash floods the night before. Picture: Andrew Holt / Alamy Stock Photo

    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.

    The market stalls try and shore up against the flash floods at Glastonbury 2005
    The market stalls try and shore up against the flash floods at Glastonbury 2005. Picture: Edd Westmacott / Alamy Stock Photo
  7. 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.

    Lakes of mud and water were the order of the day at Glastonbury 2007
    Lakes of mud and water were the order of the day at Glastonbury 2007. Picture: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

    The Who and The Chemical Brothers headlined on Sunday night and performed during a horrible, freezing cold downpour.

    A mother carries her child through the mud during Glastonbury 2007
    A mother carries her child through the mud during Glastonbury 2007. Picture: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo
  8. 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.

    The view from the Green Fields at a damp Glastonbury 2009
    The view from the Green Fields at a damp Glastonbury 2009. Picture: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
  9. 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.

    The rain comes down during U2's Glastonbury headline set in 2011.
    The rain comes down during U2's Glastonbury headline set in 2011. Picture: Robert Noyes / Alamy Stock Photo
  10. Glastonbury weather 2013

    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.

    Clouds gather over the campsites at Glastonbury 2013
    Clouds gather over the campsites at Glastonbury 2013. Picture: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
  11. Glastonbury weather 2014: electrical storm!

    An electrical storm on the Friday night brought proceedings to a brief halt, and the showers continued throughout Saturday.

    Storm clouds build up over Glastonbury 2014
    Storm clouds build up over Glastonbury 2014. Picture: Tom Corban / Alamy Stock Photo

    Thankfully, 2014 wasn’t a complete wash-out and things picked up on the Sunday in time for Dolly Parton’s set. Woo-hoo!

    A double rainbow appears in the sky above the site on the first official day of the Glastonbury Festival on June 27, 2014.
    A double rainbow appears in the sky above the site on the first official day of the Glastonbury Festival on June 27, 2014. Picture: Tom Corban / Alamy Stock Photo
  12. Glastonbury weather 2015

    Everyone had a bit of a moment on Friday afternoon when showers appeared, but thankfully it didn't last and a complete deluge was avoided.

    Festival goers walking through the rain at the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 26, 2015
    Festival goers walking through the rain at the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 26, 2015. Picture: Joanne Newman / Alamy Stock Photo
  13. Glastonbury weather 2016

    There was another worrying start to proceedings, with flash floods hitting the area the week before the festival.

    Festival goers brave the mud at Glastonbury Festival 2016 at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 25, 2016
    Festival goers brave the mud at Glastonbury Festival 2016 at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 25, 2016. Picture: Samir Hussein/Redferns/Getty Images

    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.

    The very, very muddy site at Glastonbury festival, 2016
    The very, very muddy site at Glastonbury festival, 2016. Picture: Kristian Buus/In Pictures via Getty Images
  14. Glastonbury weather 2019

    Well, what do you know? 2019 managed to hit record temperatures, with Worthy farm basking in a 31C temperature. The hot weather stayed for the whole weekend, which goes to prove you never can tell with Glastonbury weather.

    Glastonbury-goers enjoy the hot weather in June 2019
    Glastonbury-goers enjoy the hot weather in June 2019. Picture: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo