Reading Festival: Revellers wake up to flooded tents after Britain is battered by thunderstorms


Early arrivals to this weekend’s Reading Festival were waking up to flooded tents and soggy shoes amid a deluge of morning rain as much of Britain was lashed by thunderstorms and torrential downpours.

Aerial footage showed thousands of tents pitched across the site as rain lashed the concert ground ahead of this weekend’s festival.

Revellers were hit with a soaking start to the annual music event, which officially kicks off tomorrow, amid fears there could be further misery and a washout ahead for the event’s 100,000 expected attendees. 

Those pictures arriving in Berkshire on Thursday morning were seen clutching their waterproof anoraks and camping gear, with thousands more festivalgoers expected to descend on the town throughout the afternoon.

Inside the camp site, a sea of tents were pictured barely propped up on the drenched grass as young revellers endured a wet start to the event, with the opening acts not playing until Friday.

It comes as the last remnants of Britain’s August sun were washed away by a blast of thunderstorms and flash flooding this morning as up to a month’s worth of rain fell in just two hours.

East Anglia and London were particularly badly hit by the wet weather, with Andrewsfield in Essex seeing 55.2mm (2.2in) of rain between 4am and 6am today – almost exactly the monthly average for the county of 55mm. Suffolk also saw 62.8mm (2.5in) of rain falling over Bury St Edmunds in just three hours this morning. 

Multiple flood warnings have been put in place across the capital while the Met Office issued a yellow thunderstorm weather warning from midnight until 3pm today for southern and eastern England – an area that is, ironically, partially covered by a hosepipe ban following the very dry summer.

Forecasters also warned driving conditions across the South East could be affected by spray, standing water and even hail throughout today – and there could be delays to train services, power cuts and flooding.

Aerial footage showed thousands of tents pitched across the site as rain lashed the concert ground ahead of this weekend's festival where 100,000 people are expected to attend

Aerial footage showed thousands of tents pitched across the site as rain lashed the concert ground ahead of this weekend’s festival where 100,000 people are expected to attend

Thousands of tents were pitched today in Reading ahead of this weekend's three-day festival which will face some inclement weather

Thousands of tents were pitched today in Reading ahead of this weekend’s three-day festival which will face some inclement weather 

After weeks of drought-like conditions, the skies opened before revelers travelled along the M4 to Reading

After weeks of drought-like conditions, the skies opened before revelers travelled along the M4 to Reading 

Multiple flood warnings have been put in place across the capital while the Met Office issued a yellow thunderstorm weather warning

Multiple flood warnings have been put in place across the capital while the Met Office issued a yellow thunderstorm weather warning

Meteorologists said that parts of East Anglia and South East England had already been lashed by around 5,000 lightning strikes between midnight and 8.00am this morning

Meteorologists said that parts of East Anglia and South East England had already been lashed by around 5,000 lightning strikes between midnight and 8.00am this morning

Reading Festival fans brave Thursday's torrential rain and blustery weather as they prepare to kick off the annual music event's festivities tomorrow

Reading Festival fans brave Thursday’s torrential rain and blustery weather as they prepare to kick off the annual music event’s festivities tomorrow

A group of young festivalgoers endure a wet start to the annual music event, with the opening acts not playing until Friday

A group of young festivalgoers endure a wet start to the annual music event, with the opening acts not playing until Friday

Those pictures arriving in Berkshire on Thursday morning were seen clutching their waterproof anoraks and camping gear, with thousands more festivalgoers expected to descend on the town throughout the afternoon

Reading Festival fans arrive to the wet weather and a flooded car park as they prepare to kick off the festivities on Friday

Reading Festival fans arrive to the wet weather and a flooded car park as they prepare to kick off the festivities on Friday

Around 100,000 revellers are expected to brave the wet weather at Reading Festival in Berkshire this weekend. Pictured: Rows of tents at the annual music event amid fears it could be a washout weekend for fans

Around 100,000 revellers are expected to brave the wet weather at Reading Festival in Berkshire this weekend. Pictured: Rows of tents at the annual music event amid fears it could be a washout weekend for fans

Soaking Reading Festival revellers make their way from the drop off point in Kings Meadow to walk along The Thames Path to the site in Caversham in the rain

Soaking Reading Festival revellers make their way from the drop off point in Kings Meadow to walk along The Thames Path to the site in Caversham in the rain

Revellers clutch onto their tents, camping chairs and other equipment as they hope the weather clears up for their big weekend away

Revellers clutch onto their tents, camping chairs and other equipment as they hope the weather clears up for their big weekend away

Several festivalgoers chose interesting outfit choices, with these two boys pictured braving the elements in their shorts and white trainers

Several festivalgoers chose interesting outfit choices, with these two boys pictured braving the elements in their shorts and white trainers

Others opted for flip flops or slides as they navigated the festival's waterlogged and muddy fields on Thursday

Others opted for flip flops or slides as they navigated the festival’s waterlogged and muddy fields on Thursday

Two festivalgoers share a smile and a thumbs up as they excitedly make their way to the world famous Reading Festival

Two festivalgoers share a smile and a thumbs up as they excitedly make their way to the world famous Reading Festival

The last remnants of Britain's August sun were washed away by a blast of thunderstorms and flash flooding this morning as up to a month's worth of rain fell in just two hours. Pictured: A wet reveller clutches onto her camping gear

The last remnants of Britain’s August sun were washed away by a blast of thunderstorms and flash flooding this morning as up to a month’s worth of rain fell in just two hours. Pictured: A wet reveller clutches onto her camping gear

Well-prepared revellers spared no expense when packing for their weekend away from home

Well-prepared revellers spared no expense when packing for their weekend away from home

Hundreds of tents and gazebos are pictured set up at one of the main campsites at Reading Festival amid the wet weather

Hundreds of tents and gazebos are pictured set up at one of the main campsites at Reading Festival amid the wet weather 

Festivalgoers were hit with a soaking start to the annual music event, which officially kicks off tomorrow, amid fears there could be further misery and a washout ahead for the event's 100,000 expected attendees

Festivalgoers were hit with a soaking start to the annual music event, which officially kicks off tomorrow, amid fears there could be further misery and a washout ahead for the event’s 100,000 expected attendees

Flooded tents at Reading Festival

Flooded tents Reading Festival 2022

Early arrivals to this weekend’s Reading Festival in Berkshire were also waking up to wet tents and soggy shoes amid the deluge of morning rain

A sea of tents pictured at Reading Festival in Berkshire as young revellers endure the wet weather ahead of the festivities kicking off tomorrow

A sea of tents pictured at Reading Festival in Berkshire as young revellers endure the wet weather ahead of the festivities kicking off tomorrow

Attendees lugging camping equipment on trolleys lined the streets approaching the major music festival in their hundreds this year a day before acts prepare to take to the stage on Friday

Attendees lugging camping equipment on trolleys lined the streets approaching the major music festival in their hundreds this year a day before acts prepare to take to the stage on Friday

Two young revellers battle through Thursday's wet weather ahead of Reading Festival's opening acts tomorrow

Two young revellers battle through Thursday’s wet weather ahead of Reading Festival’s opening acts tomorrow 

Bedraggled but determined concertgoers at Reading Festival use a trolley to help them navigate the waterlogged pavements and fields

Bedraggled but determined concertgoers at Reading Festival use a trolley to help them navigate the waterlogged pavements and fields

A sea of bucket hats, camping bags, booze, and bright-coloured clothing washed the streets of Reading, Berkshire this week as youthful festival-goers made their way onto the camping sites by foot and squeezed into the shuttle buses running to the main gates

A sea of bucket hats, camping bags, booze, and bright-coloured clothing washed the streets of Reading, Berkshire this week as youthful festival-goers made their way onto the camping sites by foot and squeezed into the shuttle buses running to the main gates

A sea of bucket hats, camping bags, booze, and bright-coloured clothing washed the streets of Reading, Berkshire this week as youthful festival-goers made their way onto the camping sites by foot and squeezed into the shuttle buses running to the main gates.

Attendees lugging camping equipment on trolleys lined the streets approaching the major music festival in their hundreds this year a day before acts prepare to take to the stage on Friday. 

Meteorologists said that parts of East Anglia and South East England had already been lashed by around 5,000 lightning strikes between midnight and 8.00am this morning. 

Multiple flood warnings have been put in place across the capital while the Met Office issued a yellow thunderstorm weather warning from midnight until 3pm today for southern and eastern England – an area that is, ironically, partially covered by a hosepipe ban following the very dry summer.

The Met Office said today: ‘Outbreaks of heavy, thundery rain are likely to develop and move across east and southeast England from the early hours of Thursday.

‘Ten to 20mm of rain is likely over quite a large area but with some embedded thunderstorms some sites are likely to see 30 to 40mm in two to three hours and perhaps 5mm or more over six hours.

‘Lightning will be an additional hazard. The area of rain is expected to ease from the southwest before clearing into the North Sea during Thursday afternoon.’

Forecasters also warned driving conditions across the South East could be affected by spray, standing water and even hail throughout today – and there could be delays to train services, power cuts and flooding.

A woman walks with an umbrella on a waterlogged Wimbledon Common, south west London on Thursday during heavy rainfall after prolonged period of dry weather

A woman walks with an umbrella on a waterlogged Wimbledon Common, south west London on Thursday during heavy rainfall after prolonged period of dry weather

Commuters shelter under umbrellas as they cross London Bridge in the heavy rain and thunderstorms this morning

Commuters shelter under umbrellas as they cross London Bridge in the heavy rain and thunderstorms this morning

Motorists battle through treacherous driving conditions on the A14 near Cambridge on Thursday morning

Motorists battle through treacherous driving conditions on the A14 near Cambridge on Thursday morning

A Mercedes E220 car drives through floodwater at Hyde Park Corner in London this morning following heavy rain

A Mercedes E220 car drives through floodwater at Hyde Park Corner in London this morning following heavy rain 

Floodwater on previously dry grass at Tooting Common in South London this morning as heavy rain falls over England

Floodwater on previously dry grass at Tooting Common in South London this morning as heavy rain falls over England

The wet weather comes after a period of searing heat which saw drought declared across swathes of England, with parched grass and struggling crops, streams drying up and river, reservoir and aquifer levels low, and hosepipe bans brought in for millions as heatwaves pushed up demand for water.

As of Wednesday, the UK as a whole had had only 46% of the average total rainfall for August. The bank holiday is expected to be largely dry with warm sunny spells, though possibly wetter in the North West.

Temperatures could climb to 30C (86F) or into the mid-20s depending on how the high pressure builds, the Met Office said.

Spokesman Grahame Madge said: ‘We’ve definitely switched from the hot and dry regime to something that has rain in the forecast.’

While the downpours will mean this month will ‘catch up a bit’ with rainfall totals, he said: ‘It’s certainly going to be a dry August for the whole of the UK.’

And he said some areas had gone without any significant rainfall from the middle of June until last week.

‘We’ve had below average rainfall for such a long time, it’s going to take a period of above average rain to make it up,’ he warned.

Reading Festival found itself mired in controversy just weeks ago when headliners Rage Against The Machine said they would not perform.

The band said they would not attend the festival as planned as they cancelled their 2022 European tour dates citing medical advice. This also included their planned performance at Leeds Festival.

Rage Against The Machine, best known for their songs ‘Killing In the Name’ and ‘Bulls on Parade’, had been set to headline at Reading alongside The Arctic Monkeys, Dave and Halsey.

The rock group was later replaced by pop band The 1975.



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