In Pictures: Glastonbury clean-up returns festival site to farm

A major clean-up operation has started at Glastonbury to return the site from a pop-up city of 200,000 people to a Somerset dairy farm.

Volunteers began shifting rubbish strewn across the 800-acre site as revellers began to make their way home following headline performances by Billie Eilish, Sir Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar.

A festival goer wanders round Worthy Farm in Somerset following the Glastonbury Festival
A festival-goer wanders round Worthy Farm following the festival (Ben Birchall/PA)
Litter pickers work to clear Worthy Farm
Litter-pickers work to clear the mess (Ben Birchall/PA)

They began picking up thousands of discarded items including paper cups and food containers after around 200,000 people descended on Worthy Farm for the festival.

The clean-up crew tackled over-flowing bins to dispose of waste and big items including camping chairs, blow-up mattresses, slippers, flip-flops and shopping bags.

Gulls fly over waste left at Worthy Farm
Gulls fly over waste left (Ben Birchall/PA)

Campers packed up their belongings and left in a steady stream from the Somerset site on Monday morning as the rain descended following a festival that had defied ominous forecasts of thunderstorms and a yellow weather warning from the Met Office.

A festival goer walks amongst the waste
A festival-goer walks among discarded rubbish (Ben Birchall/PA)
Festival goers pack away a tent
Festival-goers pack away a tent (Ben Birchall/PA)

Highlights from the festival’s special 50th year include history-making headline sets from Sir Paul and Eilish as well as Lamar’s dramatic demonstration for female rights.

Meanwhile, Diana Ross reeled off hit after hit when she took to the stage for the Sunday teatime legends slot.

Litter pickers work to clear Worthy Farm
Litter-pickers work to clear the mess left by thousands of revellers (Ben Birchall/PA)

The soul singer treated the crowd to a selection of classics including I’m Coming Out, Baby Love, You Can’t Hurry Love, Stop! In The Name Of Love and at the conclusion of Chain Reaction pink confetti was launched from the stage.

Litter pickers work to clear Worthy Farm
It’s all hands on deck to clear the vast amounts of rubbish (Ben Birchall/PA)
Waste left by festival goers waiting to be cleared
The waste includes food containers and empty beer cans (Ben Birchall/AP)

Another standout moment was Sir Paul’s Saturday headline show where he wowed the crowds with a show-stopping setlist which included surprise guest appearances from Bruce Springsteen and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl.

As he took to the Pyramid Stage, the former Beatle became the festival’s oldest solo headliner, a week after he celebrated his 80th birthday.

Festival goers sit amongst the waste
Festival-goers sit amongst the waste (Ben Birchall/PA)

During his more-than-two-hour set, he played a range of classic songs including Hey Jude, Blackbird, Live And Let Die, Ob-La-Di, Ob‐La‐Da and Get Back.

Festival goers leave Worthy Farm
The festival site is largely empty after several days of entertainment (Ben Birchall/PA)
Litter pickers work to clear Worthy Farm
It takes effort to turn the festival back into a dairy farm site (Ben Birchall/PA)

The electrifying show was further amplified as he introduced Grohl to the stage to sing I Saw Her Standing There and Band On The Run, marking Grohl’s first public performance since the death of his Foo Fighters bandmate, drummer Taylor Hawkins.

Worker load waste bags
Workers load waste bags on a trailer pulled by a tractor (Ben Birchall/PA)

Springsteen later joined Sir Paul for Glory Days and I Wanna Be Your Man.

As part of the encore, through special technology which could isolate John Lennon’s vocals from old recordings, Sir Paul was able to duet The Beatles’ track I’ve Got A Feeling alongside his former bandmate on the Pyramid Stage.

Festival goers pack away their pitch
Festival-goers pack away their pitch (Ben Birchall/PA)