No other festival divides peoples opinion like the V Festival, the detractors say that it is too mainstream and does little for ‘new talent’, whereas the supporters say that it has a great mix of established and popular artists.  This years V Festival certainly had a line up of more commercial bands than previous years, but it also had some old hands with headliners that the majority of festivals would have died for.

V Festival was the first festival to embrace sponsorship and this year was no different.  The Bacardi tent was replaced by the Virgin Media and Nokia house party with DJ’s collective Moshi Moshi, if you wanted to take the weight of your feet you could enjoy a glass of wine or champagne.  Near the Arena there was The Southern Comfort Juke Joint which kept people partying into the small hours.

The festival is renowned for providing VIP facilities, one for festival goers with private toilets, Jamie Oliver food , entertainment and a well stocked bar.  The other was for the artists and celebs with deck chairs, beach and pink flamingos.

As the sun broke through the clouds on Saturday morning in Chelmsford the florescent paints were out in force as boys & girls created their body art, and before we knew it the Fun Lovin Criminals were on the main stage with a laid back set which included Scooby Snacks and  The Fun Lovin Criminal certainly a great way to get the day underway.

Over on the 4 Music stage Big Country were proving they still have the ability to make their guitars sound like bagpipes, their greatest hit set went down a storm and culminated with a barnstorming version of Big Country.

Aloe Blacc was next up sporting a leather bow tie, performing a set which had a funk and soul feel  and will definitely be added to our playlist

The weather took a turn for the worse and the sun was replaced by heavy rain so we went inside to watch Beardyman, this one man beat box started laying down his tunes which got the whole tent shouting cheering and dancing, Saturday was well underway.

Over in the Arena Kele walked on stage and announced that “A bit of rain aint gonna stop us’” which was the excuse everyone needed to have a bit more fun (as if it were needed).

During Chipmunks set he wanted everyone to   “show us your V s” and everyone made a 2 fingered V sign in the air (well we were in Essex) . He also asked who was following The Only Way Is Essex, to which he got a mixed surprising reception of 50% cheers and 50% boos.

Up next was Professor Green who stirred everyone saying “they had sited his lyrics for starting the riots so let’s show them Chelmsford what a riot looks like”. Tracks included were Jungle and Need You Tonight.

On the 4 Music Stage Example pulled the biggest crowd of the afternoon and Love Kicks Starts Again brought a cheer which could be heard at Stafford.

The Kaiser Chiefs returned to V after a couple of years away, their set was a mixture of old and new, Ricky Wilson was on top form getting everyone involved the highlight of the set was Ruby .

Over in the Undercover From Virgin Media Stage Airbourne Toxic Event  were delivering a short set of honest rock’n’roll , front man Mikel Jollett introduced I Fought The Law by dedicating it to a number of locations where there had been riots in the US and Europe.

Katy B has such a powerful voice for a petite lady during her set she included a mega mix of classic Disco tunes which showed off her background as a DJ.

V Festival August 2011-1-2

On the 4 Music Stage Razorlight showed how much they have matured in the past few years, their performance was not all about Johnny Borrell, but more about a band delivering a set of high quality music without gimmicks.

The headliners on the Virgin Media Stage were the Arctic Monkeys, young lads no more but a mature band came on stage to Hot Chocolate’s  “You Sexy Thing” not sure if this was a reference to Alex Turners new 50’s style haircut.  The set opened with Library Pictures, closely followed by Brainstorm, much of the set was from their new album Suck It And See and it was noticeable that people started drifting away either to watch Dizzie Rascal or Chase & Status.  For those who stayed throughout the set they were treated to an encore of Mardy Bum, Fluorescent Adolescent and 505.

The headliners on the Arena Stage were Chase & Status before they arrived on stage we were treated to a video screen playing classic songs such as Oasis and White Stripes which had the whole tent singing along word perfect.  We had been looking forward to all day so we arrived early to be at the front. Alas this was actually the mosh pit so we hastily retreated further back to see them deliver their usual full frontal attack on the senses in a tent full to capacity. Their set included Let You Go and End Credits. Having seen these guys a few times this year we still don’t remember seeing them on the stage as we were too busy dancing!!

Bring on Sunday!!

Read Day 2

Article By Iain, Linda & Mick Game
Photography by Tracy Morter