Glastonbury set for 40th birthday in the sunshine

"Please bring sun protection with you!" announced the Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis yesterday. It will be music to the ears of the 180,000 who will descend on Worthy Farm over the next few days.

"23C, 24C, 24C, 23C" reads the Met Office forecast for Thursday to Sunday, below a row of four yellow discs on four bright blue backgrounds – though in typically British fashion they do warn that there is "a chance of an isolated heavy shower by Sunday".

Bono's injured back notwithstanding, things could barely look better for the festival, which turns 40 this year.

The unfortunate news of the rehearsal injury which caused the Irish rock band U2 to withdraw from their Friday night headline slot last month was later greeted with an overwhelmingly positive response, when the concept band Gorillaz were named as replacements. If the band's lead singer, Damon Albarn, his cartoon friends and their vast array of collaborators carry off the set many are hoping they can, it may be another one of "those" Glastonbury moments.

It also lowers the average age of this year's headline acts, in contrast to Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen who played last year. After the Gorillaz, the Pyramid Stage will feature the stadium rock of Muse on Saturday, followed by Stevie Wonder on Sunday. All three are first-time Glastonbury headliners.

Such is the range of musical acts taking to the festival's bewildering 27 stages over the course of the weekend, it is difficult to know where to begin (though it may be harder to get much worse than Rolf Harris, who opens the Pyramid Stage tomorrow). American MC Mos Def appears later in the day on the West Holts (formerly Jazz World) Stage, complete with a full live band.

On Saturday, the American generation and genre-skipping double bill of Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg is also likely to draw intrigued crowds. Scissor Sisters will debut tracks from their new album, while headlining The Other Stage are the Pet Shop Boys.

Those left disappointed when the rumours that Led Zeppelin would replace U2 turned out not to be true can head to the Old Queen's Head Stage at midnight on Friday for "Ultimate Power", a full three hours of solid power ballads.

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