Page last updated at 10:32 GMT, Saturday, 20 September 2008 11:32 UK

Glastonbury hosts 'secret' show

By Ian Youngs
Music reporter, BBC News

The Ting Tings at the Pilton Equinox Party
The Tings Tings and Franz Ferdinand will now appear Glastonbury 2009

Thousands of music fans have watched a "secret" gig by Franz Ferdinand and The Ting Tings at the site of the Glastonbury Festival.

A low-key concert is held every year to thank local people for putting up with the festival. Coldplay, The Stone Roses and Keane have appeared in the past.

Franz Ferdinand and The Ting Tings will now be on the bill at Glastonbury 2009.

One fan, George Boucher from Pilton, Somerset, said the show was "like a little mini part" of the main event.

'Absolutely miniscule'

The Pilton Equinox Party attracted 3,500 people on Friday, compared with the 177,500 who make the trip in mid-summer.

It was held in what is normally the festival's cinema field, with none of the customary rain or mud on a fine autumn evening.

Franz Ferdinand at the Pilton Equinox Party
The valley's returned to its peaceful state, with the cows chewing on the cud beneath the frame of the Pyramid Stage
Alex Kapranos
Franz Ferdinand

And without five days of camping and drinking, the Equinox crowd appeared remarkably smart and clean. The same could be said for the toilets.

"It seems like a secret festival for people who live around here and put up with the craziness of Glastonbury in their back yard," said Franz Ferdinand singer Alex Kapranos.

"The normal Glastonbury is 180,000 people in this beautiful rolling English valley. It's a very colourful splatter of anarchy across the landscape, which is kind of exciting.

"And now the valley's returned to its peaceful state, with the cows chewing on the cud beneath the frame of the Pyramid Stage.

"And up here, where the cinema stage is normally, there's a tent set up. It's a very different vibe from the main Glastonbury Festival itself."

The crowd in the large marquee saw Franz Ferdinand play their highly infectious art rock, while The Ting Tings' stripped-down shouty pop went down a storm.

You've got the right number of people here, it's got the right vibe for a festival, but it's compact into one night
George Boucher

"Miniscule. Absolutely miniscule," was one fan's comparison with the main festival. "It's like one of the 50 stages."

She gave her name as Lily Leapordlove, revealing a leopardskin suit beneath a thick coat.

"It's like a little mini part of Saturday night. You could be in any one of the [festival] fields," said Mr Boucher, 28, who has lived with the event all his life.

"It's just squeezed down into proportion. You've got the right number of people here, it's got the right vibe for a festival, but it's compact into one night."

Roses comeback

Christian Hughes, from nearby Wells, added: "It's a very, very tiny little taster of what the festival is like.

"It's a bit of payback for the local community. The money's used for local projects and it's really worthwhile. I think people are happy to support that."

The Pilton Equinox Party
Some 3,500 people were at Friday's Pilton Equinox Party

Unlike the main festival, which began in 1970, no-one is quite sure when the locals' gig started.

Some fans recall its origins as part of a village fete where organiser Michael Eavis would lay on big-name blues bands.

It became the Pilton Pop Party in the 1990s, when it was held in a smaller marquee in the village playing fields, with Mr Eavis and his wife Jean manning the gates.

Its most legendary performance came in 1995, after The Stone Roses pulled out of the main festival because guitarist John Squire had broken his collarbone.

So the band decided to make their long-awaited UK comeback at the tiny, unannounced show, before the marquee hosted the village flower show later that weekend.

It's basically a thank you to the village for putting up with all of the grief
Emily Eavis

"The Stone Roses really put it on the map," said Emily Eavis, Mr Eavis' daughter, who is now one of the festival organisers.

"Ever since then, it's been a really exciting gig for loads of local people. It's basically a thank you to the village for putting up with all of the grief, and all of the money goes straight to the village."

Last year, Massive Attack, Seasick Steve and Reverend and the Makers helped raise almost £40,000 for the Pilton Parish Hall, the Working Men's Club and the Pilton Playing Fields Association.

Crowd-pleasing set

This year, Franz Ferdinand had to play without drummer Paul Thomson, who returned to Glasgow as his wife went into labour.

 Twenty minutes before they took the stage, the band were told she had given birth to a boy, Kapranos told the crowd.

Ms Eavis' boyfriend stepped in to play drums on two tracks, with the band's drum technician filling in on another two.

Both bands had good performances this year and I expect we'll see them somewhere on the bill next year
Emily Eavis

The three remaining band members played three more acoustic songs, but decided not to showcase any material from their new album, instead playing a set of crowd-pleasing hits.

But Franz Ferdinand and The Ting Tings will be back next June, Ms Eavis said.

"Both bands had good performances this year and I expect we'll see them somewhere on the bill next year," she said.

But she denied that playing at the Equinox was part of a deal for Franz Ferdinand to headline next year's festival.

"It's not as cut and dry as that but it's a little taster… It's good for the village to get things first."

Tickets for next year's festival will be available to buy, or reserve for a £50 deposit, from 5 October.

The passes will cost £175 and all fans must have registered their details with the festival before they can book their places.


SEE ALSO
Early sale for Glastonbury 2009
24 Jul 08 |  Somerset
Glastonbury 2008: the verdict
30 Jun 08 |  Entertainment
Festival shrugs off Verve comment
30 Jun 08 |  Entertainment
Reporter's log: Glastonbury Festival
29 Jun 08 |  Entertainment

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