Clean up begins as Glastonbury folds up its tent for 2016

Coldplay, Muse and Adele were among the highlightswhile Brexit cast its shadow

The exodus has begun as campers make their way home from the Glastonbury Festival, leaving behind tonnes of debris. A major clean-up operation is under way on Worthy Farm as the 1,000-acre festival site is turned back into farm land, with 1,800 litter pickers scouring the grounds for rubbish while revellers pack up their tents and head for the exits.

The 135,000 festival-goers are expected to leave behind 500,000 sacks of rubbish, 57 tonnes of reusable items and 1,022 tonnes of recycling, according to the Glastonbury Free Press. Bleary-eyed campers will load up their cars and camper vans and try to leave the site — but the muddy conditions which plagued arrivals on Wednesday and continued throughout the festival could cause delays and traffic chaos.

Organisers have warned people to prepare for the worst, advising: “If your vehicle has a towing eye, please attach this ready for possible towing.” Tractor and tow crews will be on hand in case of trouble. The AA said it was preparing for the busiest day of the festival.

On Sunday evening, headliners Coldplay closed the festival on the Pyramid Stage, bringing on special guests including festival founder Michael Eavis — who performed Frank Sinatra's My Way — and Bee Gees star Barry Gibb. The band also paid tribute to the late band Viola Beach, who were killed in February. They gave Viola Beach their posthumous Glastonbury debut by performing their song Boys That Sing.


Muse made a triumphant return to Glastonbury Festival when they played the Pyramid Stage on Friday, completing their hat-trick — having now headlined all nights of the festival. Adele overcame her nerves about the size of the crowd to make her Glastonbury debut, which she hailed "the best moment of my life". Between cackled anecdotes and rambling expletive-filled musings, Adele treated the crowd to hits from her career-making Hometown Glory to Send My Love and When We Were Young from her new album 25.

The EU referendum loomed large over Glastonbury Festival 2016, with the vote taking place on the Thursday. By Friday morning when news broke that the UK had voted to leave the EU, there was a sombre mood among campers, the majority of whom were Remain supporters. Festival organiser Emily Eavis called for everyone not to lose hope in the aftermath of the EU referendum, saying: “It was a complete shock. But we’ve got to rally round and stick together.”

In a message to her guests on Worthy Farm, Eavis said: “Thank you to everyone for making this such a special year. “It’s always so heartening to see the parallel universe people create here, the positivity that people radiate. It brings out the best in people. So let’s rally together and not lose hope.”

Coldplay, Madness and Ellie Goulding made clear they were troubled by the election result, with Coldplay’s frontman Chris Martin saying: “I take my proverbial hat off to everyone who’s been here through the rain and mud and the carnage essentially, the collapse of a country, everything.”

Glastonbury also paid tribute to David Bowie, with an Aladdin Sane stripe suspended above the Pyramid Stage, as well as flash mobs, singalongs, and a classical orchestra headline act on the Park Stage. Across the festival, acts made sure to include many of Bowie's songs as parts of their set.

Early reports from Avon and Somerset Police suggest that Glastonbury Festival 2016 could be set for the lowest crime rate in its history. The majority of arrests were for drugs offences, but a police spokesman said that legal highs, which were banned last month, had not been an issue at the festival.

- Press Association