REVELLERS among the first to arrive at Glastonbury Festival have praised it as a “community” and a “religious” experience.

Organiser Emily Eavis, stood without her father and festival founder Sir Michael Eavis, led those queuing in a countdown before she opened the gates to the Worthy Farm showpiece at 8am on Wednesday morning.

Ollie Howarth from London was at the front of the queue to be one of the first through Glastonbury’s gates along with his friends Owen Ellis and Beth Albuery, both 29 and also from London.

“We got the coach at 4am from Bristol and then managed to make it to the very front of the queue,” the 30-year-old who works in finance told the PA news agency.

“We saw Emily Eavis… it’s cool to actually see it from the very start.

“She opened the gate and I was too busy thinking about getting in… we did the countdown and just charged past her.

“It’s an honour and a privilege (to be the first through the gates) and now we’ve sent our friends off to put up the tents and we’re celebrating with a coffee.”

Mr Howarth said he was particularly looking forward to seeing the Sugababes, who are playing on the West Holts stage on Friday.

With the festival taking place this year in the final week of a General Election campaign, the three friends said they were pleased to be able to switch off from politics.

Asked what political message they feel Glastonbury shares, Ms Albuery said: “Community, positivity, being green (and) getting people together.”

A drum and bass DJ who goes by the name Bob the Blender was already set up in a camping spot overlooking the Pyramid Stage by 9am on Wednesday morning and described the festival as a “religious” experience.

The 22-year-old from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, told PA he arrived on Tuesday as he knows dairy farmers who work at the farm – adding he had not slept after playing a set at the festival’s stone circle that night.

“I went over, asked for a set, and had one of the best times of my life… and that’s the greatness festivals can bring,” he said.

“Life is so hard at the moment, and sometimes you’ve just got to let loose and not worry. I’ve come close to death and this is what makes me feel alive – I don’t care about money, the future.

“It’s almost religious coming to a place to dance with everyone.”

The DJ’s setup overlooking the festival’s famous main stage included leather sofas, armchairs and a grandfather clock he claimed had been “in the family for 200 years”.

On the grandfather clock is a sign which reads: “Somerset Live, here is the clock that you said we left here last year.”

Jack Mcalinden from London stayed overnight in nearby Taunton on Tuesday but still had to set off at 4.15am on Wednesday to arrive by coach as one of the first through the gates at the festival.

Enjoying his second festival at Worthy Farm after 2023’s event, the 26-year-old told PA: “I’ve been to many other festivals, but nothing really tops this.”

England’s football team will play at Euro 2024 at 5pm on Sunday, while the festival will have just seen Shania Twain on the Pyramid Stage before a set from Canadian pop star Avril Lavigne on the Other Stage.

Mr Mcalinden added: “I’ll begrudgingly be checking the England score… but I’m not sad to be missing it quite frankly.”

Additional reporting by Edd Dracott, PA.