Tom Kerswill


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Glastonbury 2004

Glastonbury 2004 is now over. There's been an incredible range of acts playing at 17 major stages (and God knows how many smaller ones). It's always impossible to see anywhere near all the music that you want to see, so here's a brief summary of some of the highlights, big and small. This year's festival was the best yet, not because of the major bands you could see on the Pyramid stage but because of the hundreds of smaller musicians in tents and stages that you'd just stumble upon on your way somewhere else...

Small World Solar Stage

Nestled off the beaten track in the Greenfields, this place serves really good fairtrade coffee (and the brandy coffee is just the thing if you've been caught in a heavy downpour while watching an unmissable band on the Pyramid stage). You'll also find great music here from midday to about 8 in the morning. As well as playing on the other stage, Damien Rice turned up here at 5am on both Friday and Sunday morning, just after the sun had come up. There was also an early afternoon performance from Tom Kerswill - perfect music to wake up and drink coffee to.

The stage runs off solar and wind power, and keeps going on batteries once the sun has gone down. When the sun's shining you get crowds gathering outside the tent, where the music is relayed on external speakers. This is definitely the place to head to once the main stages have shut down for the night.

Small World Solar Stage website

Belle and Sebastian - Other Stage

Belle and Sebastian are a true band of the festival - they seem to keep coming back. As usual, they were on top form. A heavy blast of rain half-way through the set didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits - not least singer Stuart, who chose that moment to leap out into the crowd and mud.

The performance was so good because you could tell that the whole band were enjoying themselves. You always get the impression that they feel it's the crowning moment of their careers, playing here on the other stage. A pleasant contrast to the likes of Oasis, who happily I avoided seeing!

Official Site

Damien Rice - Other Stage

Saturday afternoon saw a mind-blowingly good performance from Damien Rice. His beautifully crafted acoustic songs come alive with his amazingly talented band - everything just seems to click. Although he was playing to 1000s of us huddled together in a muddy field, Damien Rice maintained the illusion throughout that he was showing us a new song in his front room. An intense and inspirational performance - one of the best of the weekend.

Info & biog for Damien Rice Official Site

Lamb - Avalon Stage

The highlight of the festival was watching a band called Lamb playing the small and cosy Avalon stage. It was a set crammed full of beautiful songs, and it's still a mystery to me how such haunting melodies and lush arrangements can turn into the most crazy drum and bass blowout imaginable. The tent was packed to bursting point, but the atmosphere was incredible. When Andy announced that this might well be the band's last gig, everything seemed to explode. The whole gig was one of those amazing moments that you can't quite describe but which keep you on a high for the rest of the night.

More Info on Lamb Official Site

Levellers - Avalon Stage

Watching a low-key acoustic set from the Levellers on the Avalon Stage was how I chose to spend Friday night's headlining slot. They were introduced by Howard Marks, and proceeded to launch into a set of old classics - just what the packed tent wanted to hear. Mark entered the stage wearing brown coat and dark glasses - a blatant piss take of Liam Gallagher who was at that moment walking onto the Pyramid stage. It was a great performance - and one that's long overdue. The Levellers haven't played here since a rather bigger performance on the Pyramid in 1994. It was well worth watching, though if you're used to the full-blown Levellers set this might take a bit of getting used to - it was acoustic, although still with plenty of energy

More Info on the Levellers Official Site

PJ Harvey

A frenzied but brilliant set from PJ Harvey. Pure punk heralding a return to her earlier days. The rest of the band were great too, with the guitarist going completely mental on stage through just about every song. Pure genius.

The Divine Comedy

A delightfully quirky performance from the Divine Comedy on Sunday Afternoon - and the sun was shining for it! They rattled through a fine array of hits, and made us laugh with a cover of "No-one knows" by Queens of the Stone Age - complete with banjo.

Orbital - Other Stage

A momentous occasion to finish the festival off - Orbital's last ever UK gig. A huge gathered to experience it, and it was certainly a good send-off. The music was atmospheric and the light show fantastic. But the flow was broken at the end of every song as the music stopped, the performers faffed about, and insisted on saying "thank you" lots of times. And though everything kept building up there was never the point which everyone was hoping for where you could finally let go and engage in a bit of manic dancing. Still a fabulous end to the performances on the Other Stage.

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