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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 June 2007, 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
Doing the Glastonbury grand tour
By Ian Youngs
Entertainment reporter, BBC News at the Glastonbury Festival

From the Pyramid Stage to the pedal-powered Tibetan monks' tent, the Jazz Lounge to Slippery Dick's Love Shack, the range of venues to watch music at Glastonbury is vast.

Some attract a handful of fans at a time, while the largest can handle half the festival. But exactly what is out there - and is it possible to visit every arena in a single day?


The Pyramid Stage
The Pyramid Stage can accommodate about 90,000 fans
It is almost noon on Saturday and on the Pyramid Stage, Seasick Steve, an American with a grey beard and dungarees has just finished his solo blues set, kicked over his chair and guitar and jumped down from the stage to give high-fives to the front row.

I am on a mission to seek out and visit every stage in the festival, and the first step is the easiest - the main stage.

But there is so much more to Glastonbury than big stages and major acts. How much more, however, remains to be seen.

The official timetable lists 11 music venues, although this is the tip of the iceberg. But I don't think anyone has actually counted all the stages, let alone visited them in a day.

Leaving the biggest stage, I meet one of the smallest - a bandstand at a crossroads in a market area, where a small gathering is watching British banjo trio The Cloghoppers. As the sun tries to break out, it is a jaunty soundtrack for those wandering past.

Walking on, there is The Free Dome, a small white tent where a constant jam is taking place and anyone can join in.

"Any of you guys play the guitar?" shouts the guy behind the mixing desk to the seven people watching from the entrance.

Belle Epoque
Belle Epoque: Proper seats and everything
"I'm going in!" declares one before taking off his wellies and poncho and picking up an electric guitar. That man has now officially played Glastonbury.

Outside, the sun is out and two men in top hats and tails push their penny farthings in the mud.

Nearby is the Belle Epoque tent, the only venue at Glastonbury with proper grandstand seating.

It is normally a theatre venue, but as I look in, a band led by a performance poet called Joolz is just finishing. Strangely, the tent fills up considerably after the end of her set.

There is a small outdoor stage called the Fire/Dance Stage hosting 10 female dancers doing a folky tap routine, backed by a band and watched by a sparse but appreciative crowd.

Hare Krishna tent
Cleanse your consciousness in the Hare Krishna tent
Walking back to the central area is slow through the mud and crowds, but respite appears in the form of the Hare Krishna tent, resplendent with a shrine and spiritual images, where five people are singing a repetitive refrain.

"This is not just a song, it's a meditation," the main man tells the audience. "By hearing the song attentively, it cleanses the heart and consciousness."

Next door is the Jew(ish) Tent ("Open to Jews and infidels alike"), which also hosts bands.

But I don't have time for religious revelations, so head to the Other Stage - the festival's second stage.

Sheffield indie band The Long Blondes, fronted by the velvet-clad Kate Jackson, are doing their best to shine through the renewed rain.


After lunch, I struggle through the mud up to The Park, a major new area for this year's festival.

The Park's main stage is a small outdoor arena for up-and-coming bands, and Cherry Ghost are just about helping people forget the driving rain.

Pedal power at Mandala: The Who never had to deal with this
I take refuge next door, in a big blue tent with no music pumping out. That is because it is the Silent Disco, where the sounds come through a pair of headphones that are placed on your ears as you enter.

Not many people are dancing yet - the headphones play some a capella African chanting and then a big band instrumental version of the Sinatra classic Willow Weep For Me. But I suspect it will get going later.

Also in The Park is the BBC Introducing... stage, featuring new acts chosen via BBC radio stations around the UK.

On stage are the ingeniously-named four-piece How's My Pop, all dressed in white waterproof overalls and with a decent line in stomping tunes and social commentary.

Just as I am about to leave The Park, I notice someone on stage in The Stonebridge Bar.

Someone is rapping over Kanye West's Gold Digger in what turns out to be hip-hop karaoke. The crowd goes wild when the next victim chooses Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby.

I make my way to the Green Futures Field, where I arrive at the Mandala Stage just in time to hear the Pyramids of Snafu's frontman announce that they are joined by two founding members of prog rock legends Hawkwind, Terry Ollis and Nick Turner.

The Park
The main stage in The Park offers a new option this year
A couple of dozen people sitting on low wooden benches are here to witness what I guess may be an historic occasion.

The venue seems to be run by Tibetan monks - some of whom are creating a highly intricate painting using coloured sand at one end.

And it is run on pedal power - partly at least - with onlookers encouraged to have a go on the electricity-generating tandem that is at one side.

The good old Glastonbury spirit is alive and well up here.


Next up are intimate and colourful tents housing the Small World Stage and the Tadpole Stage - both run on solar and wind power.

On the Tadpole, there is an excellent acoustic blues-pop quartet. The sound guy points at his running order and tells me it is 1980s popster Nick Heyward. I am not so sure.

The largest venue in this area is the Croissant Neuf, which holds 1,000 but there is plenty of space to see female fiddle group Tanglefoot, possibly the UK's answer to The Dixie Chicks.

There is another open invitation to play at the Big Easy Jam tent before I reach the Healing Fields' music space - the most rudimentary stage so far, with no amplifiers and just mats on the floor, surrounded by Tibetan flags.

Leaving that tranquillity behind, I enter the bizarre parallel world that is Lost Vagueness. As well as a chapel hosting mock weddings in a boxing ring, there is a faux-glam ballroom, complete with red velvet curtains beside the stage.

The small Strummerville stage is attracting some big names
It is also the venue for the Strummerville bandstand, in tribute to former Clash frontman and Glastonbury regular Joe Strummer.

It is a very small, basic stage - but has some decent names on its bill, such as Dirty Pretty Things, Jamie T and Keith Allen.

Lost Vagueness disgorges me at the south-eastern extremity of the site, where I then come across Slippery Dick's Love Shack.

Hidden in a corner of its own, it is done up to look like a tropical beach bar and has a stage - but bands are only playing on Sunday.


Next up is the Avalon Field, containing the Avalon Stage - a big top with a folk-leaning line-up.

Sofas are provided for fans at the Banyan Tree Cafe
Beside it is the smaller Avalon Café, where psychedelic jazz-rockers Sellors and the Scientists are getting one of the best reactions I've found all day.

An acoustic duo are playing at The Banyan Tree Café, where sofas and armchairs laid out for the audience. In the Techno Dome in the Greenpeace area, an earnest female singer-songwriter is putting on a brave face, despite only having an audience of 10.

That includes the bloke lying semi-conscious on the floor beside a plastic bottle that looks like it once contained engine oil.

Moving swiftly on, The Glade is a funky covered wooded dance area that is a very popular late-night hangout.

The Jazzworld stage is one of the best places to find gems
And in seconds, I am back at the edge of the Other Stage field, where I find The Queen's Head, another new venue.

It is a place to see up-and-coming indie starlets, while in the Chill 'n' Charge Tent there is yet another stage set up beside hundreds of people who are recharging their mobile phones.

The Jazzworld Stage is the third largest arena on site, and is often one of the best places to find unexpected gems. Its eclectic line-up ranges from Amy Winehouse and Corinne Bailey Rae to Damian Marley and Tinariwen this weekend.

Trash City is another addition this year, a slightly surreal area featuring the 1970s-style NYC Downlow, the festival's first gay disco, and the Flaming Love Palace, with pole-dancing ballerinas. Both have DJs and bands.

Trash City's Downlow is made to look like 1970s New York
More live music can be found in the laid-back Jazz Lounge, where the beanbags at the front have become slightly soiled, and the Acoustic Stage.

One of Glastonbury's largest and longest-established venues, the Acoustic Stage is in a giant tent where, when I turn up, the charismatic gravel-voiced singer Eric Bibb is commanding attention.

With the end of my tour in sight, I pass the John Peel Stage, a large and sweaty tent where the cream of new indie bands are showcased.


G stage
The dance arenas, such as the G Stage, have a huge following
Then onto the dance area, which grows every year and is now almost a festival within a festival.

It has become a Dance Village, and at the biggest venue, the Dance East tent, Mika's falsetto bursts out of the tent when the chart-topping star takes the stage.

Across the track, beats are pumping out of the slightly smaller Dance West tent, while a DJ stands below giant multi-coloured butterflies and inflatable flowers at the small outdoor G Stage.

The Pussy Parlure is a circular, mirror-lined wooden structure made out to look like some sort of Wild West saloon bar, with a band frantically playing at one side and a central pit jumping with bodies.

A man wrestles an ultra-modern double bass on the Dance Lounge stage next door, a crowd waits for the next act at the Roots Tent and DJs are on at the ID Spiral.

Some stages seem a long way from the Pyramid
The final visit on my whistlestop circuit is the Left Field Tent, the festival's political zone where debates have been taking place today and which has two music stages.

But to close the day, it hosts an unannounced gig by electro-rock heroes Hard-Fi, who are playing under the Love Music Hate Racism banner.

It is intended to be a low-key comeback show and the crowd is able to get much closer to the band than if they had chosen to play on one of the main stages.

They provide a storming end to the day. The final tally is 44 music venues of all shapes and sizes - although I may have missed some. And that is not including the non-musical entertainment like circus, comedy, cabaret and cinema.

I feel like I have seen more in one day than all my previous visits to Glastonbury put together - and will, in future, seek out those special moments far beyond the madding crowds of the main stages.


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