Wake up with Martha Wainwright

There are hundreds of acts at this year's festival. Alexis Petridis plots a course through the schedule

Those seeking a gentle introduction to Glastonbury could trek to the Acoustic stage on Friday morning, where Clayhill and the Ralfe Band will be plying appealingly wonky acid-folk.

A more boisterous start to the weekend is offered by the Undertones on the Pyramid stage: the absence of their original vocalist Feargal Sharkey may be mitigated by the emotional wallop Teenage Kicks is bound to pack at the first Glastonbury since the death of John Peel.

Anyone who subsequently finds themselves in need of comic relief should hasten to the Other stage at 5pm, where Britain's most unwittingly hilarious band, the Others, will be playing music that most closely resembles the Two Ronnies doing a sketch about a bad punk group. You can hang around after for Pete Doherty and Babyshambles, or if the inevitable crush of tabloid hacks overwhelms you, venture to the Avalon stage to see rock veteran Terry Reid. His reputation as a man in the bath when opportunity knocked - he turned down the offer to front Led Zeppelin - overshadows a genuinely remarkable voice.

Icy art-rock hauteur rarely works amid Glastonbury's benign, bucolic, hash-smoky atmosphere, which bodes ill for Bloc Party's early evening appearance on the Other stage. You might be better advised to try the overwhelming psychedelia of New York's Secret Machines on the John Peel stage, then stay for feisty Sri Lankan rapper MIA, whose debut album Arular is a headspinning stew of hip-hop, grime garage, bhangra, dancehall and Brazilian baile funk. Norwegian duo Royksopp's charming electronica is now so familiar from TV adverts that their success on the Other stage seems assured, but Friday night is strong on hip-hop. The JazzWorld stage has Britain's best rapper, Roots Manuva, while the Dance Lounge Bar hosts an appearance by mysterious foul-mouthed northerner Pitman, the answer to the rarely pondered question of what a collaboration between Eminem and Peter Kay might sound like. Reliably fantastic live, the White Stripes should tempt you to the Pyramid stage, but those in a more refreshed frame of mind might prefer Fatboy Slim on the Other stage, or a visit to the East Coast dance tent, hosted all day by the Chemical Brothers.

Saturday dawns with the appearance on the Acoustic stage of acclaimed singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright. Her confessional style might prove slightly intense before lunch - her debut single, it should be remembered, was called Bloody Motherfucking Asshole. If you can cope with that, you can probably cope with the equally early start afforded by the Clash's original tour DJ Barry "Scratchy" Myers, who is playing dub, roots, reggae and ska in the West Coast dance tent afterwards.

Anyone keen to check out hotly tipped new artists should try the lunchtime appearance, on the John Peel stage, of Morning Runner - tipped as contenders for Coldplay's crown - and stay for Art Brut's sarky, Fall-ish indie, bearing in mind that the latter can be hit-and-miss: at best, clever and funny, at worst like something terrible you'd see at a Rag Week concert. If Art Brut alone can't slake your thirst for irony, Chas & Dave are at the Acoustic stage.

Head to the Pyramid stage, where a back catalogue stuffed with hits almost guarantees indie-rockers Ash a mid-afternoon victory. Stay for The Coral, a reliably superb live band who should be in their lysergic element at Glastonbury. Equally well suited to the environment are the beatific blend of twinkly electronics, Beach Boys harmonies and altcountry twang being touted by the Earlies on the John Peel stage at 8.30pm, and the Magic Numbers, who follow them, and whose beards, sweetly romantic country-soul-pop and unfailingly cheery demeanour, could have been formed specifically to play Glastonbury.

By now we're into the realm where great artists' appearances inevitably clash (they're on at the same time that New Order play the Pyramid), and all thoughts of sticking to a schedule have probably gone out of the window. Finally, anyone who finds the lightersaloft anthemics of Pyramid stage headliners Coldplay too beige to bear is advised to paddle off to the John Peel stage, where The Go! Team's chaotic live show and joyous blend of hip-hop and northern soul beats, raging guitars, kaleidoscopic samples and general bonhomie provide a riotous, Day-Glo alternative.

Unless you're gripped by a desire to see the Glastonbury Town Band's traditional Sunday morning reveille, you can have a lie-in until Kelis's lunchtime arrival on the Pyramid stage. She's a genuine must-see, both for the injection of glamour - with its boggle-eyed, filthy patrons and river of human urine, few things need an injection of glamour more desperately than Worthy Farm by Sunday lunchtime - and the rarity value: sassy, sexy, groundbreaking R&B is hardly commonplace at Glastonbury.

Scarper before the arrival of the dreaded Jools Holland and instead stick your head in the East Coast dance tent to catch one-man dance music renaissance Mylo's DJ set, before pondering whether Hard-Fi's reputation as "the new Streets" is deserved on the John Peel stage. Then it's a toss-up between The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain (Acoustic stage) or Sunderland post-punkers Futureheads (Other stage) and Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson (Pyramid stage) or Oojami and the Belly-Dancing All Stars (JazzWorld stage).

Sunday evening brings the equally bizarre juxtaposition of Worthy Farm and the louche, witty and justly critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright on the Other stage. Then make sure you're at the John Peel stage for the superb punkfunk- techno soundclash provided by New York's LCD Soundsystem.

Immediately afterwards, Bright Eyes come highly recommended, although whether a doe-eyed US college rock poster-boy going on and on about how depressed he's feeling is what you want to hear after three days enduring medieval lavatory facilities and possibly waist-deep mud is surely a moot point at best.

Inveterate gamblers might consider a final punt by risking Ian Brown on the Other stage. On the one hand, Brown has what police officers call "previous" when it comes to festival performances, as anyone trampled in the crush to escape The Stone Roses's tuneless death throes at Reading 1996 will tell you.

On the other, his recent sets have been liberally sprinkled with Stone Roses classics. Indeed, gossip persists that the mythic band might reform for Glastonbury, although the chances are that this is simply a new addition to the pantheon of legendary myths that circulate around Glastonbury without fail (see also: Cliff Richard has died, or Prince is flying in to play a secret set on Sunday afternoon). A safer bet might be the East Coast dance tent, where 2 Many DJs are doing their reliably marvellous, wildly diverse set: a suitably eclectic finale to an eclectic weekend.

· The Guardian sponsors the Glastonbury festival. For details of how you can win one of 50 pairs of tickets see the Guardian on Saturday June 11.


Alexis Petridis

The GuardianTramp

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