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Glastonbury Festival 2003

On a global scale, U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival is the largest open air for music and performing arts festival in the world and is set on idyllic farmland spreading 900 acres across the Vale of Avalon. Geographically, it is precisely situated on Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset and as quoted by one critic "....  the area is steeped in symbolism, mythology and religious traditions dating back many hundreds of years".  The growing success of this annual event is the brainchild of festival curator, Michael Eavis who planted the seed in 1970. Major donations are made through the event profits and distributed to variety of good causes.  In 2002, tickets sold-out in 10 weeks and when ticket sales were announced,  it is no surprise this year it SOLD OUT in 10 hours - amazing!!!
 
Attended by a 150,000 audience, they were going to be in for 3 days of talented music.
Historically, past Glastonbury Festivals have been exposed to rain and here I am on one of the first hottest days in the U.K. and crossing my fingers for no rain. I look forward to drummer, Gilson Lavis with Jools Holland & his R & B Orchestra. Gilson, looking pretty dapper dressed in a grey suit, swings with ease as the band get the audience in a boogie. Backing vocalist and solo artist in her own right Sam Brown takes the stage to sing 4 numbers and the crowd ecstatic. Gilson is now featured and his solo brings the crowd to a glorious cheer - what a great set!!. Website: www.joolsholland.com
 
As the afternoon rolled on, I get a call from Geoff Dugmore who is here with The Waterboys. I meet up with him and spend time before he takes the stage and they deliver an acoustic set to a captured audience as they lap up the evening breeze. The Waterboys will play an electric set tomorrow on the Pyramid Stage (Main Stage) so I thought I'd leave this and race down to catch Nikolaj Bjerre who is performing and headlining on the World Stage. This is the first time witnessing Lamb's performance which is am eclectic mix of haunting melodies over a hip-hop based groove. I was very impressed with this set to the point that I was there for about 8 songs forgetting that I had to meet up with friends to watch Radiohead on the Main Stage. Nikolaj is a tight drummer and his style of weaving in and out hard beats, soft grooves and his execution of time left me thinking " this guy has got it down" - outstanding!! www.lambstar.net

Sunday morning and the crowds are beginning to make their way to the Pyramid Stage for the days' music. I get there early enough to find a space on the front barrier which was fantastic for taking a few stage snaps.

The Waterboys with drummer, Geoff Dugmore hit the stage to perform their electric set and what a great performance. I was especially impressed by Geoff's cymbal sounds which are a mix of Sabian AA and AAX, they just blended into the rhythm framework of the band.

The band fly through a history of songs including 'The Whole Of The Moon' and ' Fisherman's Blues' and leave to an amazing reception - absolutely fantastic!! www.mikescottwaterboys.com

Next up, Asian Dub Foundation and drummer Rocky Singh. The band's sound can only be described as a combination of hard ragga-jungle rhythms, indo-dub basslines, searing sitar inspired guitar sounds and 'traditional' sounds set to a bangra type beat - whoa!!, that was a mouthful but that is as near as I can describe it. The rhythms are so infectious that it put everyone through a dance aerobic workout. Rocky is a hard dance groover and his choice of smaller cymbals including smaller chinese set to a small basic kit delivered a tight and compact rhythmic pulse against the traditional East Indian percussion like tablas, etc.

They really caught my attention and I stayed for the whole set - catch this experience if they are in the area but be prepared to dance for a good hour plus!!, check out their website: www.asiandubfoundation.com

With hit singles like 'I Try' and 'Why Didn't You Call Me', Macy Gray established herself as a force to be reckoned with at Glastonbury. Her brand of funk and melodic ballads took the Glastonbury afternoon by storm. Jarone Garnett is in the drumseat locking down the funk grooved rhythm section - this band is cooking!! With the released of her brand new CD 'The Trouble With Being Myself', Macy won over the audience on the Pyramid stage highlighting her stage set as one of the most noted performances on a Sunday afternoon.

Jarone Garnett was given a solo spot to air his 'chops' and blazed through like a fireball holding the tension and the crowd responded explosively. I've caught Macy in concert before but I must admit that she has the best backing band yet - find out more on www.macygray.com

As Moby hit the stage to draw the festival to a close, I can't get close enough to catch a glimpse of drummer Scott Frascetto but it was just as well as the band played an awesome set with the most impressive lightshow which included lasers forming canopes over a packed audience and strobe lighting with an incredible colour mix. Scott laid down hard rock funk grooves and the sound man did an amazing job getting the bass lines and bottom end to hit your chest enough to ignite the dance in everyone. Moby classics like 'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad', 'Porcelain', 'Bodyrock' and 'Natural Blues' from the 'Play' CD to live debuts from their new offering '18' - this was unforgettable. Catch them in concert now, they are at their best - www.moby.com
 
The Glastonbury Festival began in 1970 and is U.K.'s most spectacular festival with its unique atmosphere supported by performing arts groups, bands and artists worldwide and long may it continue. 
 
Words & Pictues:  Jerome Marcus

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