The V Festival kicked off in Staffordshire this weekend with police hoping an earlier-than-usual opening will have helped ease traffic problems.
An estimated 85,000 visitors are expected at Weston Park, near Stafford, to watch The Verve, Amy Winehouse, and Girls Aloud, among others.
And even though acts do not take to the stage until Saturday and Sunday, the gates opened on Thursday for an early influx of visitors hoping to avoid the traffic chaos witnessed last year, which led to the closure of the M54 and saw thousands stuck in queues trying to get to the site.
Traffic is still expected to be particularly heavy on the M6 at junction 12 (A5) and M54 at junction 3 (A41), and at local roads surrounding the site throughout the weekend.
Superintendent David Holdway of Staffordshire Police said: “It’s very, very difficult with the roads that are here and the number of people trying to get here.
“The day-early opening has taken a lot of those vehicles away – they are already here and they have already had a good night and avoid sitting in any queues. So hopefully next year more people will take us up on that.”
He added it was important for drivers to be patient and considerate of local people.
Dawn Woodhouse, V Festival’s organiser, added: “With more than 80,000 people coming to this year’s event, the surrounding roads will be exceptionally busy so we’re encouraging people to plan their journeys carefully and to keep up to date of the latest conditions on the roads.”
In addition, visitors were warned to take better care of themselves after a number of revellers were left in need of medical treatment after just a day at the site.
Since gates opened on Thursday, West Midlands Ambulance Service and St John Ambulance crews have come to the aid of several patients with minor injuries.
A spokeswoman said the most serious incident dealt with by crews so far involved a man, believed to be in his mid 20s, who was treated in the campsite for an eye injury.
She said: “The incident happened at around 6.30pm on Thursday, where it is believed the man had tied a cord around his bag to help support his camping equipment, when the cord came undone and hit his eye.
“The man was treated on scene by crews before being taken by land ambulance to New Cross Hospital for further assessment and treatment.”
She said people attending the event needed to “take care of themselves to avoid any unnecessary trips to the medical centre” and it was important festival goers were sensible with their intake of alcohol and advised them to drink plenty of water and soft drinks to avoid dehydration.
“Should the weather be kind at the weekend, sun cream is also a must,” she added. “Ensure you eat regularly and are wearing sensible shoes and clothing to prevent injury or illness due to the weather, be it rain or shine.”