Page last updated at 10:39 GMT, Monday, 18 August 2003 11:39 UK

Rock rules at V Festival

by Jenny Morcambe
BBCi Essex

PJ Harvey
Harvey proved her worth on the main stage

More than 100,000 people packed Chelmsford's Hylands Park for the weekend's V Festival.

Temperatures fell short of the previous weekend's high but festival-goers enjoyed a series of powerful performances in pleasant sunshine.

Highlights included The Hives, with their swaggering performance and Ash, who previewed some new tracks with a rockier edge compared to their usual material.

The Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl played up to his rock god status with some good old-fashioned crowd interaction.

"This has been called the posh festival, right? Well it doesn't look too posh down the front right now." He was right.

Coldplay rounded off Saturday night with a polished and powerful performance, Chris Martin letting the anthems do the talking as the stage was imaginatively bathed in golden light for Yellow.

Mercury Music Award nominees Athlete and The Coral's infectious tunes impressed on the NME stage and Spearhead's energetic performance had the crowds dancing Sunday afternoon away on a hip hop ragga tip.

Elsewhere, Manchester favourites The Inspiral Carpets made a triumphant comeback and the raw power of Skin and PJ Harvey's vocals proved they could hold the main stage as well as the big boys of American rock.

Queens of The Stone Age put on a tight, slick show but it was the Red Hot Chilli Peppers who brought a weekend of sunshine and rock'n'roll to a suitable climax.

Their crowd-pleasing effort included a trumpet solo and an impromptu version of I Feel Love.

With a line up to rival more established festivals and tickets selling out quicker than ever, the V Festival has firmly established itself as a popular addition to the summer music scene.

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