by Joanna Orland
As the saying goes “What a difference a day makes”, nevermind ten years. My first ever festival was V Festival 2000 and fast-forward ten years, here am I at V Festival 2010, celebrating its 15th year. This year’s V Festival has an eclectic line-up with an attendance estimated at a whopping 155,000.
Having missed all of the good bands (Passion Pit, Feeder, Magic Numbers) by the time we settled down at 1:30pm on the Saturday afternoon (Yes, the important/interesting bands came on early), we decided to occupy ourselves with the only entertaining band on in the 3 o’clock slot. The 8 Welsh boys/men comedic rap music group Goldie Lookin’ Chain, they managed to pack the small Virgin Union tent out with an overflowing crowd. Goldie Lookin’ Chain certainly didn’t disappoint with their energetic set filled with explicit songs poking fun at the chav culture. They even had a dancing robot for one number!
Pressed for acts to watch on the Saturday, we caught Swedish pop princess Robyn belting out her dance-pop hits. Her mixed genres of Electropop, Synthpop with R&B are refreshingly catchy with infectious beats. Never in my lifetime can I quote I saw an act, dancing and eating a banana at the same time. Her 80’s inspired dance routine infused with a deep sense of conceptual art demonstrated her showmanship. Robyn ended her set with her biggest hit to date – the crowd pleasing With Every Heartbeat.
The scale of V Festival has expanded to the extent that the main stage is possibly three times its original size from ten years ago. Watching Saturday’s headline act Kings of Leon from miles away did not damper one’s spirit, however the lack of audience participation and appreciation did. The earnest 4-piece thanked the under appreciating crowd and played with gusto during the hour and the half set. Departing from the obvious, Kings of Leon played Sex on Fire and Use Somebody mid-set and saving their best songs from their earlier albums Youth And Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak to the end. The band finished their set early at 10:25 when scheduled to finish at 10:50pm. This was an obvious bid for an encore. Did the crowd respond? No. They stood there in silence. The band waited 5 minutes before coming on for their encore in spite of the lack of a warm reception. They deserved better!
With a more stellar lineup on Sunday, we started our day storming back to Nissan Jukebox Arena along with what seems like a million others just to catch Peter Andre playing at noon. Peter Andre’s 35 minute set was filled with confusion and bewilderment. Clearly there is a lack of songs from his own catalogue. Pete dedicated three songs to the legendary King of Pop – Michael Jackson. After miming to The King of Pop medley, Pete covered another song by The Police before closing with the predictable but ever popular, Mysterious Girl. All we can say was WTF was that!!??
Running between stages, the day proceeded with La Roux, Seasick Steve, Calvin Harris, Doves, Mika, The Pet Shop Boys and The Prodigy. Worth mentioning is Doves came on stage to an audience of Prodigy fans on the Channel 4 stage. The restless audience had been entertaining themselves with countless bottle fights. To make matters worse, Jimi Goodwin of the Doves came on rightfully asking the crowd “What on earth are you doing?” Their excellent set was marred by the numerous objects being thrown on stage which included a bottle of Linx. Goodwin, rightfully annoyed, threatened to “beat the ***t out of the next person to throw something”. Before the Doves left the stage, Goodwin thanked the crowd insincerely and said this is an “interesting” experience and declaring V the “last festival [they’ll] visit in a while”
My encounter with Mr Goodwin didn’t end after the Doves on stage. Having had a glass of water chucked directly into my face while watching The Prodigy, I decided to retreat to the comfortable and civilised world of V’s hospitality tent. Coincidently, I have came into V’s hospitality tent just in time to catch Goodwill march past me towards the bar. Followed shortly by Andy Williams from the Doves sprinting into the tent to catch up with Goodwill. What appeared to me as a minor squabble soon unfolded with both grown men storming out of the tent into the rain. Doves = Drama.
Mika was another traumatizing experience. I managed to get right up front for his set as I got there a few minutes early to an empty tent. Immediately after positioning myself with a good spot, the crowd stormed in to greet the flamboyantly annoying Mika and his bizarre vocal stylings. Mika’s set was fantastic and the man is talented, I can admit that. While I am very entertained by him, I simultaneously want to punch him in the face. It takes an amazing amount of talent and annoyance to get such a strong mixed reaction from me! Well done Mika!
Why I want to punch Mika
Since I was already at the front after Mika, I decided to get right in there for The Pet Shop Boys! Front row baby!!! The Pet Shop Boys are FANTASTIC! Amazing music, amazing visuals, amazing amazing amazing. Shame for them it wasn’t that busy for their headline set as they were on the second smallest stage with Air simultaneously playing in the smallest arena, and Prodigy and Kasabian taking over the bigger stages.
Overall, V Festival 2010’s crowd was disrespectful and ignorant at best with our experience tainted with rude and outrageous behaviour. Minus the people, V Festival was an average experience. Not for the faint hearted but if you are up for a good fight, there are lots of worthy opponents at V!