UK Festival Awards 2004: Breakdown
Ross Purdie - 05 December 2004
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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
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
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
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
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