GLASTONBURY, England (Reuters) - Rivers of mud and driving rain frustrated fans trying to leave Glastonbury on Monday after three days of music, dance and poetry at the world's biggest greenfield music and arts festival.
Thousands of festival-goers, who frolicked in mud over three days and braved torrential rain to see rock godfathers The Who close out Glastonbury on Sunday, struggled to take down tents, pack up sodden clothes and trudge to the exits.
Student Nicky Salmon, who said she had grooved at Glastonbury's Dance Village no matter what the weather, was now grimly determined to face the epic journey home.
"I am not worried about leaving because of the organisation behind the event, but the mud will make it a very long process," she said.
Even Welsh diva Shirley Bassey found that, although Glastonbury's weather was not a showstopper, it could snarl your plans to get home smoothly.
The bad weather forced Bassey's helicopter to land in a school field late on Sunday as she was flying home after electrifying the crowd of almost 180,000 attending the festival in southwest England, the BBC reported.
Bassey, known for her powerful voice and James Bond theme songs, and dressed in a sequined pink dress, belted out a set that included Bond theme "Goldfinger," "Big Spender" and "The Lady is a Tramp" to riotous applause.
Collingwood College principal Jerry Oddie said on Monday that bad weather made the school field the best landing site.
Caretakers let Bassey out of the locked grounds in the early evening and she popped into the home of a resident in the town for a cup of tea and a chance to freshen up.
"The weather here was terrible last night and I suppose the pilot took one look at our school field, which is very big, and decided to put down there," Oddie said.
The green meadows of Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis's farm have been turned into a sea of churned mud on which an army of revellers frantically wrestled with tent pegs and poles while brightly coloured tents flapped in the rain.
Many are expected to abandon their camping gear after a call from festival organisers and charity Global Hand, who plan to clean up any abandoned gear and donate it to those in need across the world as part of their Give Me Shelter campaign.
Tractors came out in force to tug some of the 40,000 cars that sank into the mud while their owners partied to the sounds of such bands as the Manic Street Preachers, Kaiser Chiefs, American indie rock kings The Killers, Iggy Pop and many more over three days.
Revellers in snarled traffic around the festival will still have Glastonbury's last night ringing in their ears after a storming performance by The Who in heavy rain.
Original Who members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, accompanied by drummer Zak Starkey and bassist Pino Palladino, ran through hits from "My Generation" and "Pinball Wizard" to Townshend's anthem of political disillusion "Won't Get Fooled Again".
As they sang songs spanning their 40-year career, a screen at the back of the stage showed images from the 1960s and 1970s
"It may be muddy, it may be wet but you were fantastic!" Daltrey shouted at the end as he embraced Townshend.
Earlier, the Manic Street Preachers were joined during their set by singer Nina Persson from Sweden's The Cardigans for their hit song "You're Love Alone Is not Enough".
As the sun set on the mud-covered but ecstatic crowd, the Kaiser Chiefs confirmed their reputation as one of Britain's most popular performing bands, earning a frenzied response with hits such as "I Predict a Riot" and "Ruby".
Tractors spread straw and woodchips as paths became harder to negotiate, but most festival-goers in brightly coloured ponchos and rubber Wellington boots danced undaunted.
"It's gone very well in spite of the rain, in spite of the mud," festival founder Michael Eavis said on Sunday.
"The show compensates for the weather ... the sun's not everything."
More than 1,200 people had been injured by Sunday, mostly with sprains and bruises from slipping in the mud at the farm which first held a small, hippy music festival in 1970.
Organisers said the flooding would have been much worse without the new 100,000 pound ($199,000) drainage system and other precautions installed by 71-year-old Eavis.