THOUSANDS of music-lovers at a Hampshire festival will enjoy James Blunt with dry feet thanks to an unusual underfoot surface.

Downpours at the Wickham Festival ground have made the site soft and muddy – conditions which often spoil the fun for festival-goers.

But novel use of an artificial hockey pitch will keep the 7,000 fans in comfort when headliners including the international superstar, as well as the Lightning Seeds and Steve Earle & the Dukes, take the stage.

Southampton Sports Centre has just replaced its all-weather surfaces, which has enabled festival organisers to put down the pitch.

Organiser Pete Chegwyn said: “They had been looking for a more environmentallyfriendly way of disposing of it other than sending it to landfill so they offered it to us free of charge. It is a wonderful gesture and one which means we can cover a lot of the softer ground with artificial turf.”