MUDDY conditions and delays launched this year’s Wickham Festival as 25,000 music fans descend on the popular four-day fixture.
Revellers will be entertained across the four days, with KT Tunstall performing last night.
Organiser Peter Chegwyn said the festival was still fun despite the mud and that he spent £30,000 yesterday sorting out the problems.
He said: ‘Its been fun. I have been running festivals for 25 years and I have never seen mud like it.
‘We have got every tractor we could from south Hampshire and we have put down tonnes of straw.
‘The rain has just made the fields an absolute quagmire but the bottom line is if we haven’t moved heaven, we have certainly moved earth.’
He added: ‘We did everything possible to prepare for this festival.
‘Sadly there is bound to be a problem when you get three inches of rain in 12 hours.
‘We’ve spent £30,000 today to get tractors, extra staff, straw and traffic operators in place to tackle the issue.
‘However, we’ve got the show on when frankly I don’t think many other festivals would have. I would like to thank everyone for their patience and I look forward to a fantastic weekend.’
Portsmouth couple, Dave and Jasmine were not put off this year by the traffic or bad weather, which has led to the site being dubbed ‘mudfest’.
Dave said: ‘It took us over two hours to get in but we’re in. We’ve got a pint and just had a bratwurst – now we listen to the music.’
The site on Blind Lane in Wickham offers camping for tents, caravans and motor homes with larger vehicles having to be towed.
Many people had travelled from further afield to enjoy the eclectic mix of bands despite the mud.
Martha and her family had come from Hereford, West Midlands. They were celebrating her parents’ birthdays.
She said: ‘We’ve come down for our parents’ 50th and 60th birthdays and we’ve brought the whole family.’