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Summer Nights: Stereoboard's Ultimate Festival Moments

Tuesday, 25 June 2013 Written by Stereoboard.com

Festivals are a unique proposition for music fans. Life-changing moments can occur in the midst of a sea of humanity in front of Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage, nestled in a tent at Reading or Leeds, alongside flailing arms at Global Gathering or sat on a bank at Download watching the mayhem unfold below. 

With Glastonbury just around the corner, we've assembled our own personal festival highs, from indie darlings to '60s legends, punk mainstays and one particularly funky bloke. Dig in, and bring on the summer!

Capdown – Reading, Concrete Jungle Stage, 2001

Festivals throw you the odd curve ball from time to time, and at Reading in 2001 I found myself blown away by a band I'd previously only seen in clubs. Capdown remain one of the best punk bands to come out of the UK and at their peak put on an unstoppable live show. Playing the Concrete Jungle stage, they reduced the place to a sweaty mess in minutes. One of those rare occasions when the good guys actually won. - Huw Baines, Stereoboard Features Ed.

Ray Davies – Glastonbury, Pyramid Stage, 2010

A Glastonbury where the sun shines for five days is special in itself. Make it the festival's 40th anniversary and throw in a set from legendary Kinks frontman Ray Davies and you have something remarkable. Rattling through his incredible back catalogue, it was hit after hit. Davies was joined for a handful of tracks by the Crouch End Choir, who added extra depth to classic songs, but one moment stood out above all others. Dedicating an emotional performance of Days to the recently-deceased Kinks bassist Pete Quaife, Davies had a tear in their eye as he looked skywards. A fabulous set filled with timeless songs. - Dave Ball, Stereoboard Reviews

The Libertines - Reading, Main Stage, 2010

I’ve had many ‘festival moments’. I’ve been hit in the face by one of Wayne Coyne’s plastic balls. I’ve kissed a total stranger while in the presence of Leonard Cohen. But in 2010, after years of reunion rumours, I spent a beautiful summer night with the Libertines. Homoeroticism! Overpriced beer! Vera Lynn! Carl Barat caught Pete Doherty in a brotherly embrace, and for a moment it seemed that love and friendship could conquer anything (even drug abuse, long-standing personal grievances and robbery). A true festival highpoint. - V.O.H, Stereoboard Reviews.

Prince – Hop Farm, Main Stage, 2011

There is no doubt about this one. It is not often you get to see a bona-fide legend playing half an hour from your house, and Prince certainly didn't disappoint at the Hop Farm Festival in 2011. During a blistering two and a half hour set, there was so much funk flowing it is hard to pick out one ‘special moment’ but it just has to be ‘Purple Rain’. Confetti canons sprayed purple paper high in the air as I stood back in amazement and watched one of the greatest superstars ever to grace this planet do what he does best. - Ryan Crittenden, Stereoboard Reviews

The Flaming Lips – T in the Park, Main Stage, 2003

When Jack White broke his finger in a car accident just before T 2003, the assembled crowd had no idea - due to there being no internet on phones back then - that the Flaming Lips would be playing their slot instead. When Wayne Coyne and his band bounced on stage to a Seven Nation Army cover, you knew you were in for something special. It was a set filled with dancing, confetti, zorbing, a Happy Birthday song for Jack White himself, and their now infamous B-Side Thankyou Jack White (For That Fibreoptic Jesus You Gave Me). - James Ball, Stereoboard Reviews

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Guilfest, Main Stage, 2008

July 4, 2008 was not only the day I snagged a wife, but also the start of the now defunct Guilfest. Heading straight over to Stoke Park for our musical honeymoon weekend, the very first band we saw were mid-set on the main stage. Embarrassingly, I hadn’t heard of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. The fantastic, psychedelic guitar interplay, the sheer number of band members, the frontman playing a tambourine and singer/guitarist Anton Newcombe’s unconventional side-on stance all created an experience to remember. From that moment on I had a new favourite band. Discovering music you cannot live without, in such circumstances, will never be bettered. Oh, and Happy Anniversary Ingrid! - Graeme Marsh, Stereoboard Reviews

Iggy Pop – Download, Main Stage, 2004

Iggy Pop is known for his controversial stage antics, but this was just mental. He was coming towards the end of his set and the next thing you know, he’s inviting the entire crowd to join him onstage. I don’t think I’ve ever seen security look so scared. They were flapping, and Iggy didn’t seem to give a shit. The crowd went crazy, leaping up on stage to join their idol. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. - Gemma-Louise Johnson, Stereoboard Reviews

Ash – Reading, Main Stage, 1996

Great musical memories always soundtrack special moments in time. Summer 1996 - I'd finished my A-Levels, said adios to school and was ready for university. Before that, my mates and I had one last hurrah at Reading. With fuzzy power-pop gems like Kung Fu, Goldfinger and Girl From Mars, Ash stole the show. Their gloriously hook-laden, romantic recollections of youth sent the crowd wild and resonated perfectly with my past and forthcoming adventures. As the summer sun blazed down during Oh Yeah's communal sing along, the future seemed truly magical and full of endless possibilities. - Simon Ramsay, Stereoboard Reviews

Gallows – Reading, Lock Up Tent, 2010

Walking aimlessly without a band to see, at an unusually sunny Reading, we stopped in our tracks at the sight of Gallows front man Frank Carter on the Lock Up Tent’s big screen. All around us, hundreds of startled punters wheeled around and began pouring in to the tent. In a snap, boredom was replaced by shock, adrenaline and euphoria. On came the circle pits, the wall of death, even a guy in a wheelchair crowd surfing. Only belters like Abandon Ship, Orchestra of Wolves and London Is The Reason, from Britain’s best punk band for generations, could create a reaction like that. - Owen Sheppard, Stereoboard Reviews.

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