This would be first day festival I have attended this summer, well actually my first one ever, I was unsure on what the atmosphere would be like and how it would differ with the full weekend events.
The morning started well, bright beautiful sunshine and clear blue sky’s which was a change from the last two weeks constant down pours. 15,000 tickets had been sold before the event and with the opportunity to buy tickets that day the sun would defiantly draw in a lot more people.
The future sound of Nottingham winner “The Afterdark Movement” were the first band to play on the main stage, the soulful six-piece band fusing hip hop, rhythm and blues with a dash of pop brought the early festival goers to their feet with their enthusiastic show coupled with the engaging presence of the main singer Bru-C.
Along with The Afterdark Movement, Nina Smith, Indinia & Sinners Highway, all future sound of Nottingham finalists played at the festival. The festival was really geared towards local bands and promoting the best of Nottinghamshire music.
Towards the late afternoon and early evening the big names from past and present started making appearances on the Main and Jagermister stages.
Levellers made a huge impact on the Jagermister stage with hundreds of true fans crammed as close to the front as possible singing in sync to every song and every lyric and even getting myself singing to some of their classics such as “What a Beautiful Day”
Katy B was the highlight of the day for me, known for the chart topping singles “Katy on a Mission” and “Lights On”
Dizzee Rascal ended the festival but not until leaving his fans waiting for 20 minutes, the late start was made up for with a high energy and high impact set which sent the crowd into a frenzy with a few mosh pits within the crowd. Pyrotechnics and CO2 cannons added to the whole atmosphere and Dizzee used every available space on stage giving everyone, left, right or centre a good view.
After a long sunny day the festival was at a close with a wide range of musical acts and genres on offer at the festival, from the local unsigned bands, to world music, and big names from the past and present every Nottinghamshire resident should have this marked in their calendar for next year.
So after nearly an 8 hour drive and 420 miles added to the clock, we arrived at a rather pleasant Rockness. The torrential rain of Midlands which had turned Download into a wash out was not present here with the weather being slightly overcast. After finding a space to pitch the tent it was time to make the way into the arenas.
The first couple of hours stayed placid with the Mystery Jets on the main stage slowly building the crowd for the headliners later on, whilst in the GoldenVoice Arena, Wretch 32 with his Grime & Rap hyped up everyone listening for an hour of madness. Golden Boy Ed Sheeran totally stole the show again in the GoldenVoice Arena, packing it out within seconds of starting his very interactive performance, getting everyone to join in and even take over with singing.
The Redbull sound stage playing underground sounds of Drum & Bass and Dubstep, Redbull also had a cocktail bar giving out complementary drinks to Artists and Friends such as Rockberry, Rumbull which of course all contained Redbull.
Mumford and Sons where the last act on the main stage for the evening, drawing a mass of festival goers and played just into the start of Friday night/Saturday morning.
Sub Club Sound system stayed open till gone 3am with the likes of Hudson Mahawke & Eats Everything providing entertainment for the hardcore party people.
Saturday morning started with rain, rain and more rain keeping many people in their tents as long as possible before heading over to the arenas, Miraculously 12 O’clock came and rain stopped for the second day of festival festivities.
The early morning stayed quite with the smaller acts taking to the various stages and tents providing a more chilled out atmosphere.
The first big act of the day was Darren Foreman known better as Beardyman. Looking like an employee directly from a call centre he entertained and at times confused the crowd with his beatboxing skills and with the use of a new looping setup he created an entire DJ set just from his voice.
For the second time around (previously at PlayFest) I was able to see the renowned Pigeon defectives, again full of energy from the second they appeared on stage with Matt Bowman nearly losing the microphone on several occasions through swinging the microphone a little too hard.
17 year old Hugo Pierre Leclercq, known by his stage name Madeon also played in the GoldenVoice, His unique twist on Electro and Pop music took allot of people by surprise along with his appearance, looking allot younger than 17.
DeadMau5 or also being talked about by some festival goers as “Dead Mau Five” was defiantly worth the entire day waiting for. He appeared on stage a few minutes before his set, unknown to everyone he was inside a crate that burst open with him inside. Unusually he started without his iconic mau5 head piece on and quickly put this on after a quick hello and wave to everyone.
He set as always was spectacular with lots of visuals including his 900+ full LED mouse head, a very heavy bass which when standing close made it hard to breathe.
Sunday morning started with news that The View who I managed to miss yesterday would be playing once again, Due to a massive turnout at the small tent (think 10 deep around the outside) their set had to be postponed due to health and safety.
Jakwob kicked off the dance music in the GoldenVoice tent, known for his remixing of mainstream artists such as Ellie Golding and combines elements of Dubstep, electro, ghetto-tech and breakbeat into these. Even though they only had a small crowd they provided lots of noise and used the entire tent to dance.
The Cuban bothers, who I would say where the most unique act of the weekend, played a mix of Soul, Funk and Disco, also throwing in allot of Comedy and Sensational dancing, they really looked like they were having fun and entertaining the crowd too they ended their show by stripping down to “thongs” and playing a musical rocky homage.
Later in the evening a private helicopter landed at the festival which many of the press and reporters thought was Biffy Clyro which in fact turned out to be Knife Party. Founded by 2 members of the electronic rock band Pendulum, Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen they packed out the tent before even starting the set, There upbeat mash up of Dubstep & electro styles whipped up everyone into a frenzy with a sea of hands moving in time with the music being the only thing visible in the red glow of the lights.
NME’s and Q’s best live Band, Biffy Clyro provided the finale to weekend of music at Rockness, with an impressive stage setup of huge hanging mirrors, Co2 cannons and pyrotechnics provided a high to end on and showed everyone present to why they are the best live band in the world!
Saturday was looking to be a scorching day with the weather forecast to be bright and sunny and a huge line up to keep the majority of tastes in music happy with the likes of ASH, Pigeon Detectives, Shy FX and Roots Manuva playing late into the night.
Throughout the early afternoon the seven stages took host to some of the smaller and local artists with a very chilled-out atmosphere in the crowds of people that were starting to form, the only place where this was an exception was the bright fluffy neon pink mobile disco booth ingeniously named the “Porta Party”, Throwing out cheesy and classic disco tunes, it seemed that more people where dancing here than everyone in the Dance Arena.
As the evening progressed and the sun started to set was when the headliners came out to play for the evening and the chilled out atmosphere changed to more of a concert vibe, Roots Manuva completely filled the Big Top tent with people spilling out left, right and centre and certainly getting the party going. Ash being the last act on the Main Stage on Saturday night did not disappoint with everyone at Play Fest going wild right up till the last song.
Sundays day was not the best of starts, Waking up to a flooded tent due to the torrential downpours throughout the night, But what’s a UK Festival without a little bit or even allot of rain, after a quick stop off at the car to put on a dry set of clothes it was time to head back to the stages and see what todays festivities bring.
Due to the sporadic rain, the open air main stage stayed very quiet for the early afternoon, with the dance tipi being a big hit with both old and young. Dumbfoundus managed to change this filling up the main stage during their performance and even inviting a festival goer who was dressed as Chewbacca onto the stage for the entirety of their set, their party vibe defiantly made people forget about being cold and wet and put a smile on everyone’s faces.
The main stage acts continued where Dumbfoundus left off, Scroobius Pip in my eyes being the best act of the entire weekend, his mix of electronic bears with hip-hop spoken lyrics making for a very rowdy crowd, exacerbated by him deciding to go crowd surfing.
The Correspondents, being the last act in the Big Top, provided a very visual and energetic performance; I’ve never seen anyone with as much energy on stage and not keep still for anything longer than a split second for the entire time being on stage.
Despite the rain, Sunday easily matched if not beating the expectations left by the sunny Saturday already amazing day.
I’m sure everyone who was at PlayFest over the weekend is already looking forward to “Playing” again next year.
Set in the spacious grounds of Croft Farm, the lakes and Malvern Hills provided an idyllic and breathtaking back drop. The lake also provided a second purpose of being used for water sports for those who dared to brave the cold waters.
With the last few weeks of torrential rain across the UK, a very muddy and messy festival was expected, fortunately the weather held out for the entire weekend, with even a break in the clouds to allow summers rays to shine down.
The atmosphere of the festival was something I’ve not experienced before; friendly would be an understatement to describe the festival goers, staff and numerous dogs.
The Garden Tent, The Roots and The Blossom Stage all had their own unique blend of styling, atmosphere and music. The children’s area was a hit for both children and parents, with music sessions, arts & crafts, horse rides and entertainers, such as the two stilt walkers who seemed to amuse more than just the children.
Gloucestershire’s biggest band in history EMF took the stage on Saturday evening for their first gig of the year; they delighted festival goers both old and young by performing Schubert Dip, their acclaimed multi-million selling debut album, in its entirety.
Straight after EMF’s electric performance, Reef performed pretty much instantly keeping the crowd dancing and singing along to their best known hits "Place Your Hands", "Come Back Brighter" and "Consideration" The bands vivacious energy kept on right up until the end of their set.
Among those two, festival folks were also able to indulge in music from the likes of Top Loader, 3 Daft Monkeys, Miles and Erica of The Wonder Stuff , Avert Francis and Chesney Hawkes.
In spite of still being a small event, the organisers managed to pack a huge amount of festivities into the two days. This was “the one and only” way to start the summer festival season.