Indie rockers Blur returned to Glastonbury Festival on Sunday for the first time in 11 years to close out three days of music that included sets by Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young.
The recently re-formed Brit pop kings played classics including Song 2 and Park Life as the sun set on the temporary city of 137,500 people gathered here in southwest England for the world-famous music and performing arts event.
Michael Jackson s death and torrential storms on Thursday and Friday – almost a prerequisite for the gathering which is known as much for its terrible weather as for its lineup – created a muted start to this year s festival.
Many fans sported t-shirts remembering the king of pop, who died Thursday, while acts including Lily Allen and Dizzee Rascal paid tribute to Jackson during their performances.
But a weekend of sunshine and Springsteen s enthusiastic performance at Saturday s prestigious headline set ensured the crowd, though exhausted after days of heavy partying and sleep deprivation, should go home happy.
The US rocker s dynamic show, along with Young s much appreciated Friday night slot, vindicated the decision taken by festival organizers Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily to return to their rock roots despite the success of last year s Jay-Z experiment.
The organizers were fined 3,000 pounds ($5,000) after Springsteen s set went nine minutes over the curfew of half past midnight, but Eavis said he was happy to foot the bill for such a spectacular performance.
I know I always say this but it really must be the best one ever. I ve been waiting for Neil Young for 39 years and Bruce Springsteen did a hell of a show – what energy he s got, Eavis told reporters on Sunday.
I m already on the phone to try and get next year s headliners and these are people who haven t played here before.
Eavis has hosted Glastonbury since 1970, and he is expected to pull out the stops for its 40th anniversary next year. U2 and the Rolling Stones are among those who have never played the event and are thought to be on his wishlist.
Sunday s highlights included performances by New Yorkers Yeah Yeah Yeahs and their livewire frontwoman Karen O, who invigorated the audience on The Other Stage with a relentless hour-long performance of their disco rock hits.
Representing the current plethora of female singer-songwriters meanwhile were Ladyhawke and Bat for Lashes, playing at the same time on the John Peel and The Other Stage.
New Zealander Ladyhawke s 1980 s inspired melodies, including Paris is Burning and Back of the Van, cut through the stifling atmosphere in a packed John Peel tent.
And Anglo-Pakistani star Bat for Lashes and her brand of enchanting folk pop fitted perfectly into the rural surroundings as she repeated the success of her first appearance at the event in 2007.
Real name Natasha Khan, she is the cousin of Pakistani squash player Jahangir Kahn.
While Blur s long-awaited set brought the official festival to a close, thousands of determined revelers were likely to stay up through the night before heading to the alternative Green Fields area with its very own stone circle to watch the sun rise over the site for the final time.
Work will then begin on dismantling the 20 official stages and the 3.5 meter high perimeter fence, as the site is transformed back into its everyday existence as a sleepy dairy farm.