V Festival

Monday, August 21, 2006
9:57 AM

Chelmsford

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They may have had to dodge heavy showers but nothing could dampen the spirit of tens of thousands of revellers at the V Festival.

The weekend sellout at Chelmsford is East Anglia's premier music festival and was headlined by Radiohead, Morrissey and Faithless.

On Saturday night, Radiohead rocked the crowd to life with a three-guitar attack and then hypnotised them with the heartfelt angst-ridden sound of new and classic material.

Last night, the limelight was shared by Faithless and Morrissey. Faithless celebrated their fifth year at the festival and prepared the crowd for Morrissey's emotional barrage with their iconic and contagious dance sound. As one of the most influential figures in alternative rock, the former Smiths frontman seemed the ideal candidate to close the festival.

Equally, former member of the Jam and the Style Council, Paul Weller, proved why he deserved to win the 2006 Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.

Much of the festival was dominated by the hottest new property in indie, with Kasabian, Bloc Party, Editors, Kubb and Keane - while those more interested in long-established bands enjoyed Kula Shaker, the Cardigans and the Charlatans, and timeless quirky classics came from the Divine Comedy, Echo and the Bunnymen and the Beautiful South.

Surprisingly for a rock-based festival, the Sugarbabes and Girls Aloud proved extremely popular.

The festival also showcased emerg-ing music, and the Young Knives stood out from the crowd. The band won the Road to V competition last year and opened the 2005 festival.

Since then their old-school guitarist and punchy tunes have been enter-taining rapturous crowds disaffected by the present wave of soft indie.

On a different note, overnight star Sandi Thom, who recently rose to No 1 fame by broadcasting her music over the internet, performed warm and soulful songs which will soon be heard at Norwich Arts Centre.

The most zany performance went to Hayseed Dixie with their blue grass classic rock covers from the south.

Hot on the heels of Faithless there were some great dance performances from Fat Boy Slim and Groove Armada. On Saturday, Fat Boy Slim made his V debut, whipping the crowd into a frenzy, while on Sunday, Groove Armada proved why they had been invited to V for the fourth time.

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