Glastonbury will return this week for the first time in three years but faces travel chaos amid three days of major rail strikes.

The Somerset festival is finally celebrating its 50th year after the coronavirus pandemic forced organisers to cancel twice.

Sir Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish and rapper Kendrick Lamar will perform on its famous Pyramid stage while Diana Ross will fill the Sunday teatime legends
slot.

However, festival-goers face difficulties arriving at the site in Pilton.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) at Network Rail and 13 train operators will walk out on June 21, 23 and 25 in the biggest outbreak of such industrial action in a generation.

Great Western Railway, which operates the route between London Paddington and Castle Cary close to the festival, has said it “plans to maintain timetabled trains” throughout the course of the week.

It added: “Some services might be subject to alterations to train times and we will be in contact with customers who have already booked seats on board those trains.”

National Express, the official coach partner of the festival, will carry more than 30,000 music fans to and from the site but a spokeswoman warned of congestion in the surrounding area.

“Demand for coach travel is high with a significant increase in both enquiries and bookings on our scheduled network on and around the dates of the strikes, including on routes that provide travel to Glastonbury,” she said.

“We are working hard to increase availability to meet additional demand where possible. Seats are selling fast, so the advice is to check services and book in advance.

“We do expect and are prepared to be busy but also recommend that customers allow plenty of time when planning their journey.”

Glastonbury Festival 2019 – Day 2The festival will finally celebrate its 50th anniversary (Aaron Chown/PA)

Revellers can expect to be greeted with warm weather on Wednesday and Thursday before temperatures fall over the weekend with some showers expected.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: “On Wednesday there will be highs of around 24 degrees and high UV levels throughout, so a bit of a warm start to the festival.

“It will be similar again on Thursday. It will stay dry with sunshine throughout the day and temperatures a little bit higher so 25 or 26 degrees possibly and high UV levels.

“It will be a nice and warm start to the festival but it does look like we will start to see changes in the weather from Friday and into the weekend.

“There will be an increase in the risk of showers. Temperatures will start to come down to about 20 or 21 degrees as we go through Friday and into the weekend.

“But when we get the sunshine it will still feel pleasant, but an increase in the risk of showers particularly into the weekend.”

The Glastonbury line-up includes new acts such as Arlo Parks, Doja Cat, Easy Life, Fontaines DC and Griff alongside more established names including Crowded House, Primal Scream and Supergrass.

Pet Shop Boys will be headlining The Other Stage – the festival’s second largest stage – in a “long-awaited” performance.

Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant will appear alongside American country and bluegrass star Alison Krauss following the release of their second collaborative album.

There will also be experimental pop music from Charli XCX and Caroline Polachek.

Three Ukrainian acts, including 2016 Eurovision winner Jamala, will bring an anti-war message to the site and there will be talks about climate change, Black Lives Matter and Russia.

Glastonbury 2022 takes place from June 22 to June 26 and tickets are sold out.