V Festival 2006

Hylands Park, Chelmsford

by Joanna Orland

Even more than Preston and Chantelle, V Festival bridges the gap between NME and Heat Magazine. V showcases British bands at their best. I have to say, more than any other UK festival, V is British with a capital Indie.

Radiohead, Morrissey, The Feeling, Razorlight, The Charlatans, Starsailor, Paul Weller, Faithless, Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Ordinary Boys, Kula Shaker, Kasabian, Bloc Party, Keane, Editors, Fatboy Slim, The Go! Team, The Boy Least Likely To, Matt Willis, The Young Knives, Art Brut – it doesn’t come more British than that unless you throw in Oasis (see V Festival 2005).

Despite having a few classic acts on the bill, it was the younger crowd that dominated. Instead of watching Morrissey, people packed in like sardines for Razorlight. Hmm, perhaps that wasn’t actually the age thing, but just the fact that MORRISSEY SUCKS! Will someone put him out of his misery please?

Beck was the absolute highlight of the entire festival. I speak the truth. But during his performance some prat behind me was shouting on the phone: “Yeah, I’m just watching some guy called… Beck?” WHERE DO YOU LIVE MATE? UNDER A ROCK? People who know so little about music should not be allowed at festivals. I kept an ear on the crowd and most people (even on Sunday, one full day after Beck’s performance) were saying how Beck was their favourite. The reason being – PUPPETS! Oh man, what a genius! There was a puppeteer on stage, mimicking the band’s movements in miniature form. The puppets were even wearing the same clothes as their mortal counterparts. Sheer genius! Not to mention the bit where Beck stood alone with his guitar while the rest of the band sat at a wooden table grooving with cookware and cutlery. And that puppet video coverage of V – that was CLASSIC. Oooh and he had a male dancer, a man with geek glasses and tie. I actually, for a moment, wondered how any band, even Radiohead, could follow that! (But then Radiohead came on and yeah, it’s Radiohead!)

Matisyahu – the king of heeb hop – made a welcome appearance in the Virgin Union Tent. Last time I saw him, at Roskilde Festival, he was full of energy and had the crowd going full on. This performance was the polar opposite, but somehow still brilliant. The man is not one dimensional in any way. His music works on so many levels – as both a fast-paced energetic experience, or a more subdued, serene, political and musical journey. Hats off to you (no racial fashion pun intended) Matisyahu.

Cardeargans – yes folks, Loose Lips was supposed to interview the Cardigans and The Dears (yet again). What happened you ask? Why can’t I find these interviews on your website you ask? Well, The Cardigans fell victim to a corporate scandal. Despite the fact that this was a Virgin Festival, with Virgin Mobile being very prominent in their logo display, there was no phone signal at ALL between 7 and 7:30pm on Saturday when I was supposed to meet them. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that I’m on O2 and NOT Virgin Mobile? One will never know. And The Dears? Well they just punked us off.

To sum up, I really had a great time at V. If you’re a fan of British indie, there is no other festival that can come close to their stellar line up. International acts such as Beck, The Dears, Matisyahu, Rufus Wainwright and We Are Scientists cover all bases of the global indie scene. I enjoyed it so much so that I’m going to run out, buy myself some übertight jeans and get some ridiculously fringeworthy haircut. Cheers to V!

PS. Rufus Wainwright, brilliant as always, asked any members of the press in the audience to give a shout out to the ‘fact’ that Madonna has stolen his mock crucifixion thing. He also asked for photo proof to help build his court case. Anything for Rufus:

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