17,000 members of the festival going public, have spoken, in three weeks of frenetic voting. Here we reveal the results in more detail - with the winners' Oscar-like acceptance speeches. Expect some tears and sentimentality!
[r-zone1]Perhaps predictably Glastonbury wins the coveted award of Best Major Festival, an unofficial title it has held for decades. But now it’s FACT! Glastonbury is the best, biggest, baddest festival of them all. If you don’t know what the fuss is all about, you simply need to go. To attempt to explain why Glastonbury is the best festival in the UK/ world/ rivers of time and space, is to do it massive injustice. Even the cows have a good time – so ask them. Or try and work out what founder Michael Eavis was talking about when we spoke to him this morning. He said: “It’s fantastic, great news. After 35 year we have obviously done something right. We have evolved from the bottom up and things have changed at the bottom and at the top over the years. Plants grow from the bottom up too, and we develop it and develop it and it grows into something special. We just dig out the weeds from time to time. It’s a great tribute to how we have done things.”
2nd – T In The Park
3rd – Carling Reading/Leeds
[l-zone2]Glastonbury also scoops the prize for Most Innovative Festival and rightly so. Driven by Michael Eavis, his daughter Emily, and a hugely dedicated team, the Somerset festival has constantly striven to improve itself year on year, pioneering new technologies, perfecting the site lay-out, adding new stages and inpenetrable fencing, and increasing capacity – while always maintaining a balance with the festival’s roll-your-sleeves up roots. Perhaps the most important development this year has been attempts to bring ticketing under stricter control by allocating the whole 112,000 to one agent and limiting availability to two tickets per buyer – a bold stand that has liberated Glasto from the unsavoury touts and criminals that used to marr its greatness. Just for that, Eavis and co. deserve this award.
2nd – Download
3rd – V Festival
[r-zone3]The very sought after award for Best Facilities and Organisation at a Festival goes to Scotland’s T In The Park, a festival that boasts a long-standing reputation for looking after its 60,000 punters. Trust us, T is one of the most frenzied, crazy, and hedonistic festivals in the UK (perhaps a good category addition for next year?), and with the amount of fun-loving headcases who flock to Kinross every July, you NEED good organisation! Security are generally as happy to be there as everyone else and helpful too, while a slick team of behind-the-scenes event managers ensure that the festival is not only Scotland’s number one, but is also up there with the very best in the UK. T In The Park’s Geoff Ellis said: “We have an incredibly dedicated team who work year round on the organisation and set up of T in the Park, and it’s rewarding to know that music fans appreciate the huge effort that goes in to making it a really special festival weekend.”
2nd – Glastonbury
3rd – V Festival
[l-zone4]Best Dance Festival goes to the pioneer of outdoor whistle blowing boogathons – Creamfields. Established in 1998 ‘down south’, Creamfields moved to its spiritual home in Liverpool several years ago – a disused airport which has never stopped thousands of clubbers from ‘taking off’. We gave this year’s event a slating due to organisational nightmares that left our reviewer on a comedown from hell before he’d even got in. But you loved it, perhaps testament to the famous scouse ‘shut up and dance’ mentality alongside quality acts including Scissor Sisters and The Chemical Brothers. Cream’s James Barton said: “We would like to thank everyone who voted for Creamfields as best dance festival of 2004. This being the very first UK Festival Awards and the fact that this has been voted for by people who attend our events makes this particular award very special. Year on year we aim to improve Creamfields and 2005 is already looking to eclipse this years event”
2nd – Homelands
3rd – Big Chill
[r-zone5]Perhaps it’s slightly ironic that something called The Big Chill wins the category for Best Small Festival. Despite it being one of the biggest small festivals nominated, the Chill’s beauty lies in its spirit, not its size. Its visitors are generally so horizontal that this year’s capacity increase, to almost 20,000 people, was barely noticed. But it’s not all lazing around drinking Bacardi Breezers and, as nightfall descends, Eastnor Deer Park turns into a sea of slinky movers. Plenty of space, good food, wicked tunes, funny people, and it’s ALWAYS sunny – a combination that won your vote and The Big Chill a UK Festival Award. Festival founder Pete Lawrence said: “Thank you to everyone who cast their vote for us. Considering the expansion in numbers at Eastnor over the last couple of years, the fact that people still view the event as ‘small’ suggests that we’ve been successful in managing to retain the intimacy and personality of the event as we’ve enlarged our site, its facilities and its entertainment.”
2nd – Guilfest
3rd – Beautiful Days,[r-zone1]Best New Festival goes to Get Loaded In The Park, a a fitting prize for a fitting winner – especially when you consider the fact that its organisers risked all by putting on 30 new and unsigned bands for the first event of its kind. Far from being a side attraction to the main stage, the new bands tent was packed pretty much all day and only emptied when the stars of the show, Happy Mondays, put in a spine-tingling performance as the sun went down. The Get Loaded team told VF: “We’re all very humbled to have won and would like to dedicate the award to everyone who worked so tirelessly on the project, from the promotion team, to the bands and DJs and to everyone who voted for us, we thank you all very much – it really does mean a lot to us. Considering we only had eight weeks from the idea to when The Happy Mondays triumphantly walked off stage, we are all immensely proud.”
2nd – Bestival
3rd – Glade
[l-zone2]The kids have spoken for the award of Best One Day Festival. You voted for pop extravaganza Party In The Park to ensure it romped away with the prize. A teenage wet dream, the likes of Blue, Busted, Beddingfield, and McFly were all on show – some a bit more than others! (Lee Ryan, who else?) The young upstarts were joined by the likes of Lionel Ritchie and Lenny Kravitz to add a bit of substance to the day, but hundreds of celebrity screamers shunned the stage in favour of hanging around the backstage area waiting for a close-up glimpse of their heroes. VF was asked to deliver several love letters to the likes of Will Young. Whether he got back in touch or not we don’t know, but you all seemed to enjoy your day nonetheless.
2nd – Creamfields
3rd – Homelands
[r-zone3]Download scoops the prize for Best Themed Festival, having cornered the market for listeners of heavy rock and metal harboring a penchant for the great outdoors and clean air. Slick, gritty, and riotous, Download goes into its third year in 2005, with expectations sky high following on from the success of their two events this summer in Donington and Glasgow.
2nd – Cambridge Folk
3rd – Womad
Download also witnessed one of the most historic moments in metal, when Metallica’s drummer was injured last minute, prompting stick-wielders from Slayer and Slipknot to offer their services and save the day. A wonderful moment in music and surely a contender for Most Memorable Moment … But no, you voted poor 50 Cent being pummelled by an aerial plague of piss-filled bottles at Reading instead! It was certainly one of the most talked about and controversial happenings of the summer, with VF’s message boards rammed with heated debate as to the rights and wrongs of the Fiddy’s treatment. But now, whatever your thoughts on it, the bottling off stage of 50 Cent has gone down in folklore forever, having been voted the Most Memorable Festival Moment of 2004. You naughty people!
2nd – Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears losing his kilt at T In The Park
3rd – Paul McCartney singing Beatles classics at Glastonbury
[l-zone4]Perhaps a more worthy winner is Muse, who pick up the prize of Best Live Act. 2004 has been the year to cement Muse as one of the best live band’s in the world and their epic, space-spanning sound deserves and demands no less than the biggest stages. They reached stratospheric levels during their headline performances at V Festival and Glastonbury, as well as making the rest of the world stand up and take notice with several huge festival shows overseas. Not only have Muse grown musically, they have suffered tragedy and battled through adversity. Following the death of drummer Dom’s father, the band refused to cancel their forthcoming gigs and vowed to carry on in his memory. Perhaps this brave show of dedication to their fans helped win them the award. Whatever your reasons, Muse got more votes than the winner of any other category.
2nd – Franz Ferdinand
3rd – Basement Jaxx,[r-zone1]Best Live Newcomer goes to Keane, who burst onto the festival scene this year and played pretty much everywhere – Glastonbury, Manchester Move, T In The Park, V Festival, Oxegen – the boys from Battle wowed you at them all. With cutesy good looks, note-perfect sets, and one of the best vocalists in singer Tom Chaplin, Keane have become firm favourites with the ladies. We’re sure that a few of you fellas probably voted for them as well though. Singer Tom Chaplin told VF: “Playing live is what it’s all about. We’re over the moon that we’ve made such a strong impression with so many people at the festivals we’ve played this year.”
2nd – The Killers
3rd – Razorlight
[l-zone2]The final category you voted for was Anthem Of The Summer. Franz Ferdinand‘s catchy bound-around ‘Take Me Out’ wins the award. It’s one of those simply great tunes that despite getting your toes tapping when you hear it on the radio, sounds infinitely better when played live and is always guaranteed to send festival crowds into demented chaos. With one of the best intros ever, a crtically acclaimed remix by Daft Punk, a firm favourite of everyone from Jo Wiley to Fatboy Slim, and the stand-out track from the band’s Mercury Music Prize winning album, ‘Take Me Out’ has been further hammered into the ‘classics’ hall of fame by being voted a UK Festival Award winner by you.
2nd – Snow Patrol – ‘Run’
3rd – The Killers – ‘Mr Brightside’
[r-zone3]Which means that all we have left to disclose is the award for Outstanding Contribution to Festivals, which we have taken upon ourselves to bestow. The only award not to be voted for by the public would undoubtedly have been awarded to the same person if we had opened it up to voting anyway. There was no contest. John Peel OBE, who died on 25 October this year, is posthumously commended for his tireless and dedicated passion to new music, which has helped so many bands play on the biggest and most important festival stages over the last 30 years – even if he didn’t really like going to them as Glastonbury founder and friend Michael Eavis revealed to us!
[l-zone4]Eavis said: “John didn’t really like festivals that much. He certainly wasn’t a festival lover. He always turned up of course, bless him, but he was never too into the mud thing and living in a field. But what he did for festivals was set the agenda. I’ll never forget hearing The Smiths for the first time on his show. We booked them for Glastonbury in 1984 and it transformed the festival. Suddenly we were hip and trendy and all of a sudden went from being a bunch of hippies, making things and smoking dope, to an incredible music event. John was a huge part in that. He made the difference and had a huge influence on what bands were booked. He basically helped make our lives a lot easier and had a key part in making the UK the most fashionable and musically rich country in the world. He was definitely more of a studio man though!”
So those are the winners! Thanks to the 17,000 of you who voted. Winners will be receiving an award in person by a representative from Virtual Festivals. See you next year for the UK Festival Awards 2005!