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Last Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Sun kisses music fans at Reading
By Martin Vennard
BBC News, at the Reading Festival

Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan
The Smashing Pumpkins brought the festival to a thundering close

The chances of the sun shining on the British bank holiday weekend this year must have been even lower than those of winning the lottery.

For 80,000 music fans gathered by the Thames for the Reading Festival, their numbers came up.

The event climaxed on Sunday night with The Smashing Pumpkins and the nasal tones of singer Billy Corgan.

The band's performance on the main stage included heavy, rock beat tracks like Zero, an echoing guitar version of the Star Spangled Banner and Pink Floyd-esque tones.

Along with the sunshine, The Nine Inch Nails, who preceded the Pumpkins, were another of the festival's highlights.

Singer Trent Reznor also showed his versatility by switching from electro-rock numbers such as Closer to God to much more violent tracks.

Californian spice

When a guitar and speaker were destroyed at the end of their set, an encore seemed as unlikely as the good weather, but they came back with Hurt, which was covered so movingly by Johnny Cash.

Fall Out Boy got the prize for unusual covers of the day, with Michael Jackson's Beat It and Huey Lewis' The Power of Love.

Festival crowdsurfer
The good weather encouraged festival hi-jinx

The Eagles of Death Metal lead singer, meanwhile, seemed to think that the sunshine was actually the stage lights, as he kept saying 'I hope you're having a good night' when it was only early afternoon.

It was almost a relief when night really fell and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers added their Californian spice to the mix earlier in the festival.

Bassist Michael Balzary congratulated Sheffield United on beating West Brom that afternoon with a cry of 'Go Blades, go!"

He then proceeded to lock swords with guitarist John Frusciante in a bout of sparring that led into Californication.

Hurdy gurdy

The Chillis switched from funky blues numbers like Scar Tissue to the more gentle rhythms of Snow (Hey Oh) and By the Way before coming back for an encore of Give It Away.

Singer Anthony Kiedis thanked individual members of the audience: "You in the blue. Thanks for being there."

CSS singer Lovefoxxx among the crowd
CSS singer Lovefoxxx got up close and personal with festival fans

Arcade Fire must be one of the most original groups to play the festival and one of the few to have a church organ on stage.

Also playing a hurdy gurdy, accordion, violins, French horns and anything percussive, the huge troupe of Montreal-based musicians were an amazing sight and sound, projecting themselves and the crowd on on-stage screens.

When they reached their finale, much of the crowd was singing along with them.

Recycling has finally reached the Reading Festival - and not just by the bands doing covers. You could get 10p for each paper beer cup you took back and some people were collecting huge stacks of them.

But one festival-goer made a bishop's crook out of his and was also wandering round in a white cloak and cardboard mitre - just one of the eccentrics who helped add a bit of character to proceedings.

The fashion for writing and drawing in felt pen on your clothes and body reached new heights - one man had a landscape adorning his stomach.




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