IT'S Glastonbury Festival 1997 and Radiohead have taken a huge gamble, playing largely unheard songs to an expectant crowd during their headlining set.

The band debuted much of their seminal sophomore album, OK Computer, in a high-risk setting and it's become the stuff of legend, a benchmark against which all other headliners will be judged.

And for one person in the crowd that day, it proved to be a life-changing moment. 

Tom Smith, frontman of indie rockers Editors and former Archway School student who grew up and still lives in Stroud, was in the crowd at Worthy Farm that night.

Now, the 40-year-old has spoken of his 'moment of clarity' during that show for a new book - View From The Stage: 50 Years of Glastonbury By The People That Played - by fellow Stroudie Paul Jones, who now edits the County Gazette newspaper in Somerset, having previously been a reporter in Gloucestershire.

"I spent most of my late teens in my bedroom, on my own, writing songs on my acoustic guitar," says Tom.

"I had friends and things, but I spent a lot of time doing that.

"At school and in life, I didn’t find something that I wanted to do."

But is was in that Somerset field in June 1997 that the realisation hit that he already had found what he wanted to do - writing songs.

"Being at Glastonbury, and seeing performances of music that resonated with me, particularly in ’97, Radiohead, that was the moment I realised - that was what I wanted to do," he goes on.

"A moment of clarity. And I decided to put all of my effort and energies into that from that moment.

"Being successful as a musician, as a band, you can’t give up.

"After going to Glastonbury, it was like, ‘This is what I’m going to do’."

The rest, as they say, is history and Tom, with Editors, has since performed at Glastonbury numerous times, including on the legendary Pyramid Stage - and he talks about his experiences as a performer in the book.

But he also reveals it wasn't just the music that makes those Somerset fields so special.
"Also, with Glastonbury, there’s an element of being surrounded by people you feel a kind of kinship with," he adds.

"I didn’t feel like there were people I would meet in a ‘normal’ walk of life; the left-field, alternative people and culture, the message of love, unity, tolerance, charity, wonderful things that really resonate with me.

"It’s a powerful place."

View From The Stage: 50 Years of Glastonbury by the People That Played is available now for just £6.50.