U2 to headline Britain's Glastonbury festival: organisers

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Irish rockers U2 will headline Glastonbury Festival next year, making their first appearance at the British arts and music event as it celebrates its 40th anniversary, organisers said Monday.

The band will take a break from a US tour to play Glastonbury on the weekend of June 26-28, said Michael Eavis, who founded the British festival on his farm in southwest England in 1970.

"At last the biggest band in the world is going to do the best festival in the world. Nothing could be better for our 40-year party, and there are even more surprises in the pipeline," said the 74-year-old.

Tickets for the festival sold out within 24 hours last month, with some 177,500 people will be at the event.

Glastonbury has become famous almost as much for its weather as the music in recent years: in 2005 and 2007 the site was turned into a mudbath by torrential rain, although a new drainage system has improved things for festival-goers.

Last year's event climaxed with sets by Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, as well as recently-reformed Britpop kings Blur, although the whole festival was clouded by the death of Michael Jackson just as it opened.