The British Grand Prix suffered two days of rain and terrible mud with flooded roads and car parks, fans warned to stay away from practice sessions and interrupted qualifying, but on the day of the race itself the weather was dry – and the race was won by popular Aussie Mark Webber. Wimbledon managed to get all its finals completed on time by Sunday – the new closable roof makes a huge difference in a summer of real downpours – but Scotland’s Andy Murray lost out in the final to Roger Federer – despite going up one set – although there was some cheer for the Brits as in the men’s doubles final Jonathan Marray was one half of the winning pair.
T-in-the-Park, Scotland’s 85,000 capacity festival, returned to something approaching normal service on the final day (Sunday) after torrential rain on Saturday threatened to turn the festival into a wash-out. The site had been transformed into a quagmire as rain fell almost continuously from the early hours of Saturday until the evening, forcing the temporary closure of the Slam Tent during the day, which normally hosts dance acts, which had become flooded, while parts of the site were reduced to lakes of sludge. Festival organiser, Geoff Ellis told The Scotsman that site staff had worked overnight, laying wood chip and gravel in areas, including the main stage, while drainage trenches were dug in the King Tut’s Wah Wah tent to remove some of the worst flooding. The rain finally abated as legendary Manchester band The Stone Roses took the main stage on Saturday evening for their first ever Scottish performance, and it remained dry overnight and into Sunday although the mud remained steadfastly in place meaning wellies and shorts was a popular combination – bur Kasabian and Elbow provided a fitting end to a great event which also featured New Order, Snow Patrol, Tinie Tempah and the Kaiser Chiefs amongst many others.
Elsewhere through not everyone has been so lucky. The MFEST music festival at Harewood House with the Human League, Bob Geldof and Texas was cancelled as was the Liskeard Agricultural show in Cornwall for the first time in its 109 year history, the boat flotilla on the Ouse to celebrate 800 years York’s royal charter was called off and the Argentinian Ambassadors Polo Cup at Cowdray Park in West Sussex was also cancelled. The Godiva Festival in Coventry (cap 100,000) was cancelled last weekend. the second day of festivities at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, due to be headlined by Paul Weller, had to be cancelled over health and safety concerns, the outdoor stages at Cockermouth Live! were cancelled after nearly 10cm of rain fell, while in Liverpool the Africa Oyé event was called off, though a smaller in-door event featuring many of the festival’s line-up was staged.
One of Cumbria’s largest open-air concerts was also abandoned before the weekend when bosses at Carlisle Racecourse scrapped a headline performance by Madness, part of the Stobart Summer Festival, due to a waterlogged course. Whilst Cumbria escaped the worst of the rain that hit the UK, organisers said that Cumbria “had the wettest June since records began more than a century ago and this first week in July has brought more heavy and persistent rain to compound the problem” saying that “The track is not raceable and would remain so even if the weather was dry for the rest of today and tomorrow. “The forecast is for more rain, which means there is no prospect of holding the concert either, with both the course and car park already out of use”. More than 7,500 ticket holders will be entitled to a refund and the event will be re-staged later in the year.
After the (so far) dreadful summer Isle of Wight MP Stuart Love has called for a review of the way the Isle of Wight Festival is organised and licensed after the chaos caused by the heavy rain but at least the event went ahead – despite the rain – which is some doing given that we have now had the wettest three months in the UK on record.