British-Albanian pop singer Dua Lipa was to headline the first night of the Glastonbury festival on Friday which has again drawn tens of thousands of fans.

Rows of tents dotted the fields at Worthy Farm in the village of Pilton in southwest England, where the iconic festival has become a fixture of British culture since 1970. 

This year`s three main headliners Dua Lipa, Coldplay, and SZA are joined by country star Shania Twain, Nigerian rapper Burna Boy and 1980s star Cyndi Lauper.

Dua Lipa, who played at the event in 2017, is headlining for the first time.

Grammy and Brit winner SZA, whose real name is Solana Imani Rowe, headlines on Sunday night.

It will be the first time that the R&B singer, who is known for the songs “Snooze” and “Ghost In The Machine”, will perform at the festival.

Coldplay appear on Saturday, becoming the first act to headline Glastonbury five times.

Alongside around 3,000 performances set to take place across some 80 stages, the festival also features night-long parties, art installations and lively parades.

The standard ticket for the event this year was priced at £355 ($448).

Dressed in a multicoloured outfit, 38-year-old Will Hall said the festival “gives an energy and you take that energy and then give that energy back”.

“I walk around here with confetti cannons and bubble guns and all these wonderful things just to create smiles and positive energy,” said Hall, who works for Britain`s health service.

Clarissa Hall, 29, said she felt “super lucky” to be at the festival, which is also where she chose to announce her pregnancy.

“This was such a perfect opportunity to announce it,” she added.

– Vote calls –
Less than a week before Britain`s general election, the festival, which has become known for political activism, is urging attendees to vote.

Screens at the Pyramid stage showing Dua Lipa were interspersed with reminders to “VOTE VOTE VOTE”, with another banner reading “vote out to help out” — echoing Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak`s “eat out to help out” slogan to boost hospitality business during the Covid-19 pandemic.

One drag act was openly political on Thursday, closing by saying “let`s vote those Tories out!”

Dozens of Palestinian flags were hung across the sprawling festival site with one banner calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Glasto, as the festival is popularly known, was inspired by Britain`s 1960s counter-culture and hippie movements, with its first iteration as the Pilton Festival in 1970.

Glam rockers T.Rex were the first headliners. Since then, it has attracted cult status and big names from David Bowie and Paul McCartney to Stormzy and Elton John, who last year played his final UK gig.

For the first time, the festival this year has a dedicated South Asian stage called “Arrivals”.

Artists gracing the stage include Manara, Anish Kumar and DJ Ritu, famed for her involvement in the UK`s underground South Asian music scene in the 1990s.