Festival Round-up - The Hits


Dizzee Rascal - Festival Megastar

It's been a phenomenal year for Dizzee Rascal, who has single-handedly brought grime into the mainstream, with three consecutive number one singles making up the official soundtrack for the summer. "Holiday" was debuted on Glastonbury's Pyramid stage, where he drew one of the festival's biggest crowds, and the star had yet more crowds chanting his name at Creamfields, V Festival and Wireless, where he was watched by Prince Harry from the side of the stage.

Radiohead at Reading - sing-along heroes
Anyone expecting a set list for hardcore fans was surprised from the moment the Oxford band opened with "Creep". The set unfolded as a greatest hits repertoire, which included "Just", "Paranoid Android", "Karma Police", "Idioteque" and "Pyramid Song". Deftly moving between the heavy rock of earlier albums to the slower paced electronica of In Rainbows, they entranced the crowd. Who'd have thought that Radiohead's angst-ridden songs would provoke such an impassioned sing-along? At times, Thom Yorke could hardly be heard above the crowd.

Bon Iver - Heartbroken turned heartbreaker
For a heartbroken man who became a hermit to write his debut album in a log cabin in deepest Wisconsin, it must be somewhat surprising to be Justin Vernon right now and hearing thousands of teenage girls screaming your name. At Glastonbury, Green Man and Summer Sundae Weekender, Vernon and co never failed to attract a huge crowd, ranging from teenagers to 30-and 40-something folkies, and they translated the intimacy of their psych-folk recordings into a live performance that was both visceral and passionate.

Grizzly bear - festival necessity
The Leisure Society's frontman summed up fans' sentiments towards the Brooklyn psych- folk band at Green Man when he said: "how great it must be to be in a band that is more amazing than an actual grizzly bear". The Brooklyn band's growing fan base (since the release of their acclaimed album Veckatimest) was apparent from the attentive crowd at Green Man and they didn't disappoint, recreating their recordings with the tightest of performances.

Jamie T - King of reading
At Reading, where he was watched by Florence and the Machine from the wings, Jamie Treays aired songs from his new album, Kings and Queens, now at No 2 in the charts, to an enthusiastic crowd. The young rapping pop star set an example to the cheering Reading masses with a stirring peace-making speech.

The XX - Mark the spot
The teen London band's sultry male/female soul vocals and minimalist, off-kilter riffs went down a storm with crowds at Offset, Reading and Leeds, Secret Garden Party, Field Day, Underage, Latitude, Truck and Lounge on the Farm. With dark songs such as "Crystalised", they set themselves apart as ones to watch.

Welcome back Blur - The finest headliners
So welcome back Blur: the summer's finest headliners. When an overwhelmed Damon Albarn perched on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury and cried during "This is a Low", the band's set reached an emotional high for the four reunited stars and their fans, many of whom were there 15 years ago. The energy of hits including "Song 2", "Girls and Boys", "Parklife" and "For Tomorrow" brought back the heady days of Nineties Britpop, but it was the slower songs that touched the hearts of many who will remember Blur as the best headline act in years.

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