My initial thoughts on V festival were a devil’s advocate approach. I decided not to listen to my friend’s anger towards the festival and ignore torrents of judgement towards the age of the fans and the “chaviness”. I was hoping I’d be positively surprised.
We set up stall opposite the “Chill-out” tent (which we later learned was the tent for people that had “overdone” it) and the God tent (Which just seemed to sell tea and coffee), our pitch was perfect for people watching over the weekend. There were many fights, throwing up and passing out all for us to watch with quizzical horror.
My first encounter with the fans was pretty standard for a festival; a wave of super short shorts (from both men and women) and ray bans filled the arena for the Friday evening. On the Friday there’s no live music, but everyone embraces the silent discos and PG movies, which boggled my mind until I remembered half the people there weren’t allowed to watch anything over a 15. Throughout the night I wondered around chatting to people, which is normally one of the best bits at other festivals, but to be honest lad chants and people asking me to buy them booze aren’t my favourite topics of conversation, so after a couple of hours I retired to my tent a bit let down.
The Saturday morning was the first time I’ve ever seen crowds sprint through gates into the arena, which was a hilariously sad thing to see, and UV paint doesn’t have the same affect at 11 in the morning, but it works well with Hunter wellies seemed to be the ethos of the day..
I spent Saturday wondering around the event and stopping briefly for each band I passed, staying if it interested me. My surprise of the day had to be Labrinth, who I managed to see EVERYWHERE, His best set was an acoustic set, although he played on the 4music stage and collaborated on the Virgin Media stage with The Script, although I bumped into him 3 times, his music was still engaging and you could just tell he was absolutely loving it. The talk of the weekend seems to be Beyonce’s set, which there was a lot of controversy over due to her leaving her devoted fans out in the rain for 20 minutes which, to be honest was really annoying, but at the same time if you asked anyone who was there I don’t think it would be the rain they would be talking about. Beyonce created a mishmash of her tunes mixed with other well known beats and stuck some covers in there as well, alongside some amazing dancers, outstanding video backgrounds and a load of fireworks, we were in full ore of her by the end.
The Sunday was much of the same stories, while I was watching artists on both days I was really enjoying myself, Tom Odell with Seasick Steve was outstanding and Rudimental managed to get the crowd into a right tiz. As the weekend came to a close I watched the tanned bodies and muscle vests stagger out of the festival and it was at this point I realised that in theory the festival was a great crowd pleaser, but the lack of research and dedication you have to input to find the bands you want to see meant that V tends to attract a different crowd to other festivals. The difference between V and other festivals seemed to be the percentage of the crowd that thought of the weekend as more of a weekend-long, grassy night at Oceana. But, I suppose everyone’s entitled to their fun.
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