Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 14:57 UK

Verve take swipe at festival boss

By Ian Youngs
BBC News music reporter, at Glastonbury

The Verve's Richard Ashcroft
The Verve's Richard Ashcroft performing on stage

The Verve have closed this year's Glastonbury Festival, but took a swipe at organiser Michael Eavis, who they suggested opposed their headline slot.

Singer Richard Ashcroft said Mr Eavis' daughter Emily booked them and her father was "worried we weren't going to be as good as Keane or something".

Veteran Canadian singer Leonard Cohen and crooner Neil Diamond also played on the Pyramid Stage on the final day.

Lily Allen joined Mark Ronson on stage, as the sun shone for much of the day.

This year's festival will go down as a success after fine weather made up for earlier rain, while controversy over the line-up also dried up.

Hip-hop headliner

The Verve closed their set with three of their biggest hits, The Drugs Don't Work, Lucky Man and Bittersweet Symphony.

"I want to thank Emily Eavis for inviting us to play Glastonbury," Ashcroft told the crowd. "And I hope her dad realises why she booked us now."

Mr Eavis founded the festival on his Somerset dairy farm 38 years ago.

I've brought my wellies but they're not going to be needed
Neil Diamond

This year's line-up came in for criticism because of the choice of Jay-Z to play on Saturday night, the first hip-hop headliner in the event's history.

"A shout out to Jay-Z for putting in a big performance last night," Ashcroft said.

"But tonight it's rock 'n' roll."

The reformed rock band provided a more conventional headline slot, with their hits providing some anthemic moments.

Oldies' afternoon

Leonard Cohen preceded them on the main stage, performing favourites like Suzanne, So Long Marianne and Who By Fire.

The crowd sing-along to Hallelujah, and the prolonged ovation that followed, will go down as a memorable moment in Glastonbury history.

"It's a great honour to play for these angels born of the mud," he said to a huge cheer.

Wearing a grey suit, shirt and hat, Cohen and his deep voice cast a spell over large parts of the audience.

Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond and his band wowed the crowd

Despite the melancholy songs, he regularly took off his hat and gave a big smile to the crowd in response to their reaction to his songs.

Neil Diamond was among the other stars of Sunday, singing a number of hits in what is traditionally the oldies' afternoon slot.

He played classics like Sweet Caroline, Cherry Cherry and Forever in Blue Jeans.

The 67-year-old said he was "real happy" to be at the festival, adding: "I've brought my wellies but they're not going to be needed."

The sun was out for much of Sunday, meaning mud created by rain on Thursday and Friday had almost all dried out by the end of the festival.

Chilled atmosphere

To the relief of fans, it was the first Glastonbury since 2004 that had not been a mudbath.

The fine weather also contributed to a warm and laid-back atmosphere, with people able to sit and relax without the fear of getting caked in mud.

"I was here last year so that's the worst it's going to get," said 32-year-old Nick Haigh from Birmingham.

"It changes the atmosphere if it's wet, you walk around more and see more stuff.

"This year we sat around a bit more and it was a bit more chilled."

Away from the main stage, Groove Armada, King Solomon Burke, Spiritualized and Joan Baez were also on the bill.

On Saturday, Jay-Z was widely praised for his performance and won over many festival goers who were not convinced he was suitable for the top slot.

But the headlines were stolen by Amy Winehouse, who appeared to punch a fan during her set.




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