If you need a reason why Live Aid was the event of the decade, whilst Live 8 just came and went, you need only to compare the festivals on offer now and then.

In 1984, festivals were a rarity. Pop bands were sworn rivals and of a different generation to rock statesmen that's why Live Aid was such an event. All thosebands together on one stage, on one day! Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet! And how else could you get to see rock legends The Who or Paul McCartney? Now you can hardly keep Roger, Pete and Paul away from touring. And festivals are two a penny; you can take your pick from Glastonbury, V Festival, T In The Park and now O2 Wireless, which has the same venue as Live 8, Hyde Park.

Elton John would later slate the Hyde Park venue for having no atmosphere. But they've jazzed it up a bit in the last two years and it's somehow more uplifting
than Clapham Common's Get Loaded In The Park. Just a shame that litter, in the form of discarded paper cups, is everywhere. And on your arrival officials have the mega cheek of asking a fiver for a guide to bands' timetable and which stage they're on. Wonder what penalty might face the enterprising or just plain
civic minded who photocopies the list or hands out printouts from the website for a quid? Due to that ancient law laid down in the Magna Carta, not enough
women's lavatories are put, on so they're forced to queue in the men's line while lads use the nearby urinals. Though not all lads, as some of the less penis-shy prefer to urinate on a canvas fence but a few metres away from vacant urinals.

A mini fun fair is installed near the back of the park, and that's the best context for this kind of gig. You sample the different treats on offer, try not
to spend too much, and hopefully not get too nauseous after. However, the funfair does rather distract from the Tuborg Stage perhaps one reason why the 1990s are performing to a half-empty venue. The Scottish trio were lively enough, and with the drummer upfront on the stage with the spotlight on him, you sensed they owed a lot to the early Who, when they were flirting with Carnaby hippyism. In particular their summer song Arcade Precinct (Couple of girls from the catholic school/Turning their heads to look back, Whoooo!) owed a lot to that Pictures Of Lily, with a dash of 5:15. "Don't worry, the last song's not too long!" said Jackie McKeown. "We know you want to see the Kaiser Chiefs!"

With Supergrass now seemingly out to grass, this lively three-piece should have the field to themselves they just need something big, something out there with which to align themselves.

With the various venues within Hyde Park, you can amble across to different bands as and when you please. You can get to see a top band like the 1990s
without being caught between the awful crush of spectators who are alternating between po-going and looking oppressively bored. On the downside, you just can't
see all the bands listed. To enjoy the 1990s, I had to miss out on both The Rakes and The Editors surely something of a swizz.

On the other hand, there's something relaxing and enjoyable about pitching up at the tiny Sgt Pepper-style Bandstand to check out some unknown little band while
sitting in a deckchair and devouring an ice cream, while others get hot and bothered in the XFM Stage. A band like The Ryes, for instance, exhibit plenty of
bouncy joie de vivre, a whiff of ska and something of The Fratellis. "Hopefully we'll be playing over there next year," says frontman Paul Canning, the stylish
James Spader lookalike, gesturing towards the main stage. "You know, busking in Oxford Street..." Lads, if you want to make it the main stage, update your website! August '06 is a long time ago to be mentioning your last event. Or is it just MySpace now?

A word of advice to bands playing the Bandstand: insert some sort of barrier between yourselves and the audience when you warm up. Australian duo Angus and
Julia Stone, the latter in a lovely Sophie Ellis-Bextor style yellow dress, get out there, sulk a bit, faff about, go off, then come back on. Eventually we get nice, eerie, plaintive songs, fairly improved by a quarter of teenage nymphs who dance and prance on the grass. A touch of the late 80s Helena Bonham-Carter/Tanita Tikarem/10,000 Maniacs about singer Julia Stone.

Lou Rhodes is another (female) singer whose acoustic songs benefit from this intimate surround, even if the Bandstand acquires a wistful melancholy all of its own as the sun goes down and events on the Main Stage hot up.

The Bandstand offers strong acoustics, and the sound doesn't overlap with the nearby XFM Stage, but if you were caught picnicking in between the two, it's an
ugly discordant noise. Leeds' Pigeon Detectives get a great reception and pack out the XFM Stage, lead singer Matt showing a Northern chippiness: "Sing in
yer best London accents!" It's noticeable how few bands in their press releases mention their city origins: the PR is canny enough to know it's a divisive point. Otherwise, the band did prove the notion that A&Rs are looking for soundalikes these days, and Pigeon Detectives seem a bit Razorlite mixed with the Kooks.

Saturday's headliner Daft Punk gets everyone up and dancing, but there's a point when I realised that the DJ set might as well just be recorded music, and the
sight of two guys dressed in space suits and wearing metal helmets holds limited appeal. In contrast, Sunday's headliner Kaiser Chiefs are quick out the gate with their famous hits, Every Day I Love You Less And Less and recent number one, Ruby, which sound just as good as on the record.

While frontman Ricky Wilson is musically the bastard son of Simon Le Bon and Paul McCartney, his onstage patter and persona is a huge contrast to Daft Punk and owes something to Peter Kay. While whip-thin Mick Jagger is still flouncing across the stage from Tokyo to the Isle of Wight, it's somehow reassuring to see a tubbier Ricky Wilson hurry across from left to right you almost expect him to bang on about garlic bread or fling his arms out and throw himself along the floor like in Kay's Northern weddings sketch.

Just occasionally it gets a bit much the audience seem baffled at one point on whether he's asking them to applaud or chant. And during their most famous song,
there's a cock-up when Ricky gets stranded on a bit of scaffolding that's one thing he didn't predict.

Otherwise, the band are full-on, the scattershot lighting showing them off to their best. On this evidence the band seem happy to be stuck with the footie crowd, in their role as cheer-uppers to the nation. You can't see Kaiser Chiefs doing stadiums. Not with music like 'Everything is Average These Days' it's just not uplifting enough. But they know how to rally the troops in their dugouts and they have the hits to front it out. A shame, perhaps, that history
couldn't have fixed it so the Kaisers and The Killers were just a bit more famous by the time of Live 8.