Tickets on sale 9:00am Friday at vfestival.com and all other information regarding Tickets can be found below.
Pushing the parameters of what is jovially known amongst us music journalists as ‘festival season’ lies Boundary Brighton. Boasting an impressive line-up for its inaugural year, this one-day dance music extravaganza definitely made its mark. Exhibiting an impressive list of DJ’s and acts across four stages, the festival collaborated with clubs and venues across Brighton alongside party innovators Elrow, music publication Mixmag and the infamous LWE to curate something pretty brilliant to witness.
The main stage combined one of Brighton’s most beloved venues, Concorde, with the go-to publication for all things clubbing and dance music; Mixmag. Artists such as Bondax and Groove Armada (DJ set) took to the stage, as well as the energetic Gentleman's Dub Club, a delightful surprise, whose combination of ska and dubstep, suited appearance and Yorkshire accents over reggae vocals, brought an incredible live show. A DJ set by Wilkinson closed the stage down with an immense stamina and an energetic collection of tunes.
Notorious party-starters Elrow teamed up with Brighton’s The Arch – formerly known as Digital – to create a colourful psychedelic stage. If you haven't yet heard of Elrow, that's about to change, as the Barcelonian party enthusiasts have been putting on nights left right and centre; most notably the Ibiza classic Space. The Vibrant tent hosted the likes of Solardo, Seth Troxler, and Richy Ahmed all cocooned in a tent trying to be Woodstock, yet sounding pretty far from it.
One of London’s biggest underground events organisers LWE teamed up with Brighton club Patterns; still relatively new on the club scene since the death of Audio not too long ago (may it rest in peace) and I must say, whoever had the idea to build a fake London Warehouse as the set up for an inside stage was a genius. Entering the ‘building’ transported you into a club-like arena, where the likes of Jackmaster, Joy Orbison wowed the crowd, as well as sets from Patterns residents themselves. Last but not least, Boundary also set it’s very own bandstand. The smallest stage but still able to attract a crowd, the masked man Jaguar Skills played a hit-heavy set, albeit sounding a little rusty.
The man of the hour award definitely goes to Craig David and his new DJ project TS5. After the build up of one of the biggest revivals in garage history, Craig David’s comeback is definitely going strong. Though rumours of TS5 being a little rusty are still floating around, by the time the headliner hit the stage you could tell he’s cleaned up his act and his setlist was selectively fine tuned to please everyone from the 90’s kids in the crowd to old school garage fanatics. Being a fan as I am, I must say I’m probably a little biased but listening to Fill Me In and Seven Days live was enough to complete my summer of festivalling and if the attitude of my fellow punters in that crowd was anything to go by, I’m guessing they’d agree with me.
Craig David/ TS5 headlining the main stage.
This being said you can tell Boundary is still finding its feet. Though it’s had some great ideas and, in my opinion, had a pretty successful launch, it could do with a few tweaks. There’s no specific wristband system so punters are let in with no chance of re-entry if they leave, which would be fine if it didn’t make for a very confusing entry, there are no maps or clear labels as to which stage is which and punters have to check paper set times to make sure they catch who they want to see, It’s also pretty small. Though it held a 20,000 capacity, the festival site felt similar to a village fete making the four stages feel pretty squashed together. Nevertheless, in a way, this worked as a positive, as it promised big, energetic yet friendly crowds for each stage.
The acts themselves put on a great show, but with the renowned names on the bill and the brand of Brighton nightlife surpassing the name of the festival itself, this is hardly surprising. Though despite each stage’s own collaboration, all the music did feel a bit samey, samey. DJ’s and dance music aren’t always all too different and you come to appreciate the skills of each act you see, as well as their ability to captivate a crowd, but maybe next year it would be good to focus on a specific subgenre for each stage instead of mixing it up across the board. Do this, and Boundary could quite possibly become the next dance/club pilgrimage of the summer.
This summer has been something of a festival adventure for me. From the Valencian coast to the Garden of England, I’ve experienced a whole mixture of music, workshops, performers, and events, but V Festival is by far the biggest festival yet, and definitely the most commercial. The style of the festival has definitely changed since it’s conception 21 years ago. Although Kaiser Chiefs took the MTV stage, and Jake Bugg played a beautifully executed set of Country Rock and Roll on Sunday, the presence of typical rock, indie bands or simple singer-songwriters seemed almost banished from the premises, different from the days when Kasabian, Paul Weller and the Courteeners would take the stage. The festival this year boasted iconic pop headliners instead, with Justin Bieber taking the Saturday slot in Hylands park and Rihanna closing the Chelmsford site on Sunday, their 90,000 people capacity can definitely be seen packed across the various stages.
V Festival is one of the main chapters of the British festival season. It’s increasingly popular, features a lot of various stalls from sponsors, and a tonne of fairground rides. For a festival this size there are only two campsites, which though both incredibly large, are meticulously separated at ticket purchasing. When buying a V festival ticket You can choose to camp in either red or yellow, and if you have friends in another campsite or make some there who happen to have chosen differently, too bad, the security will probably bite your head off for suggesting you pay them a visit. This being said, the campsites themselves are pretty well organised, lit and have their own food vendors to satisfy their chosen ones, not to mention your fellow neighbours are friendly enough. Contrary to many rumours of tent burning, I saw absolutely no mindless violence or foul behaviour, but maybe that's because they were all in yellow camp, so I guess I’ll never know.
V is technically only a two-day festival, but with the vast majority of punters arriving on the Friday, the Arena is open, which at this point fairly clean, and the Radio 1/MTV stage showcased the likes of the incredible DJ EZ and Eric Prydz, who although had an incredible light show, played a set perhaps a bit too house inspired, and the silent disco is open until 1am to subdue the crowds and simultaneously adhere to the residential sound level of the Chelmsford area.
Saturday rolled around, and boasted a whole load of dance acts, such as the Smirnoff house stage, where Tinie Tempah’s DJ (if you could call him that) somehow wowed the crowds with his repetitive mix of hits. On the live music front, however, Rick Astley made a comeback with an incredible live performance. A big turnout and lots of fun, he threw in a cover of Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk before ending his set with his beloved classic Never Gonna Give You Up, he certainly didn’t let us down. Also on the MTV stage, John Newman blew away expectations with new track Olé, as well as some classics and his Rudimental beginnings, also throwing in a surprising lone acoustic song written only a week previous, and performed for the first time on that stage. Emotional messages for loved ones graced the lyrics of the song, and although widely unexpected, it was a touching moment in an otherwise jam-packed show. Saturday also saw the likes of pop princesses Jess Glynne and Zara Larsson play, as well as the actual Tinie Tempah, and the elusive Sia’s strangely captivating stage show, which although fifteen minutes late was incredibly entertaining.
Performers at Sia
But really we need to talk about Justin. Rumours about a cancelled set were floating around on the Friday, and when he took the stage Saturday evening it was clear to see why. Looking desperately hungover, and clinging onto signs of life in his various backup dancers, any energy was almost non-existent and he’s half-hearted miming to about half the set was not fully appreciated by the crowd. This, paired with the fact he kept treating the whole show as another stop on the Purpose world tour; and calling the crowd ‘London’ over and over again, made for a pretty disappointing set, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, advise him to take an Alka-Seltzer next time and put it down to illness.
One thing that V festival has upped it’s game on is the food vendors around and inside the arena. After some freshly ground coffee, a chicken Caesar Salad with soft poached eggs and (my favourite) a four-cheese Mac N Cheese topped with Jerk Chicken, I can safely conclude you will be able to find something amazing to eat, which you’re going to need to keep you going as you power walking through the absolutely massive festival site.
Sunday came around even quicker than expected and brought with it a lot of more guilty pleasures. All Saints made their reunion on the main stage, and my childhood was made in the few minutes it took them to perform Never Ever and Pure Shores. Following on the Girl Band theme of the day, Little Mix also took the main stage, though opening with Salute and rocking khaki leotards, took a very Destiny’s Child turn, which, alongside a bubbly, high energy stage presence, worked for them massively, as well as bringing Lethal Bizzle on stage with them, driving their fans wild. The main stage also saw the likes of Travis, which though nostalgically fun, didn’t really fit with the other artists, and Example, who seemed to be experiencing some technological issues around his sound, but was fun to watch all the same.
Over on the MTV stage, Big Sean brought the fire and got the crowd going, ending with his signature ‘I don’t F**k with you’ – a big favourite among the Adidas, flower garland-wearing crowd. Katy B also hit the MTV stage, performing a few of her old tracks, as well as some new ones. Jake Bugg played the MTV stage shortly after, which although backed up by only a band, some simple lights and a colourful backdrop, blew the smaller crowd away with his faultless voice and mesmerising lyrics. David Guetta was the second to last act on the mainstage, just before Bad Gal RiRi herself closed the festival, taking inspiration from the art deco style of the 80’s with her stage show, and seemingly channelling Michael Jackson from beyond the grave, she gave a show-stopping performance. A set which combined the Dirty Diana/ Billie Jean styled tunes of ANTI – Desperado and Love on the Brain amongst my favourites, alongside a lot of fan favourites, including a medley of Run This Town, Live Your Life, and Love The Way You Lie. Although the mass amount of crowd around us were rather uninteresting and seemed content at watching the show through a smartphone, her voice, performance and crowd-pleasing setlist was enough to make us move and put the biggest, guiltiest smile on my face.
The crowd and general atmosphere of the whole festival was pretty boring, a lot of the festival goers seemed a lot more interested in their image than the acts, which was a bit of a first for me. Because the Lineup at V is so commercial, you don’t really get to stumble across many new bands or acts, as I’ve been lucky enough to do at other, smaller festivals. The smaller stages boost either DJs, already established artists or other acts such as comedy – which although enjoyable – doesn’t scream the festival atmosphere I enjoy. Where I appreciate that V is one of the most expensive of the British festivals and therefore needs to pack in a crowd-pleasing list, it's lineup is actually pretty small, and doesn’t hold nearly as many artists as one of its main rivals, say Reading + Leeds, who still manage to support and showcase new bands.
I knew from the get-go that V wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, and with this in mind, I did still have a great time. It’s sheer size and sponsorship means that they get some big names, and they know how to accommodate them, the stage show for each performance fairly mesmerising and well planned. There’s also a fair amount of things to see and do (provided you’re willing to pay) but if as long as you like the music, walking, camping, and are adamant that you want to be surrounded by like-minded Instagram happy crowds, then V is the one for you, and you will definitely have fun.
As one of Bestival's satellite babies, Common People Southampton was always going to be hit and in it's inaugural year 2015 proved you can have all the feel of the festival in the middle of a city, but now round 2 has started on the common and there's a new sense of ownership, like Southampton has taken CP to heart.
Over in Oxford a new dawn rises on a sister festival, but we're getting the kinks-ironed-out experience of a trialled triumph and the site looks incredible. Towering high right inside the main gates is The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle, a Bestival x Something Creative collaboration that looks like it should have been made by Willy Wonka or be home to a herd of unicorns. Apparently it can comfortably hold one hundred people at a time, but we bet the somersault-police couldn’t catch us in that many…
A decent queue is forming already but it’s off to the main stage we go for first band of the day, Wild Front who to be honest look a little scared to be there. After a sort of quiet start, the Hampshire lads get their rhythm and there are some full on dancing fans down the front.
Next on are West End Kids, an energetic musical troupe who buzz through hits from all the biggest stage shows, followed by the legendary kids comedy duo The Chuckle Brothers. Who can resist a bit of to-me-to-you with Paul and Baz (…and Tinchy Stryder)? The massive and rowdy crowd singing along with them is decidedly younger than they should be for long-time fans, I can only assume they’ve been hitting up youtube in preparation for the festival…
Rapper Lady Leshurr gives us a short but energetic set, after being over an hour late due to ‘traffic’ but dressed head to toe in camo and waxing lyrical about her weave and being from Birmingham, hit ‘Brush Your Teeth’ goes down a storm. Though she clearly doesn’t trust us – yelling “Has every single one of you brushed your teeth today?” “I feel like some of you are lying”. The Sugarhill Gang crowd-please with ‘Apache (Jump on It)’ and ‘Rapper’s Delight’ with Hen Dogg sporting epic double-denim and a rather fetching gold tipped cane.
Over on the Uncommon Stage Southampton crew Our Hollow, Our Home have drawn a big crowd, and Chris is jamming on the guitar in The People’s Front Room. Elsewhere the Jam Jar bar is packed with people sipping fancy martinis and the kids area is awash with laughter from the wonky bicycle trials.
Hometown band Signals pack out the Uncommon stage, as mermaid-haired frontwoman Ellie bounces about, we get a taste of the curiously named genre ‘math pop’. Ghostpoet is getting soulful on the main stage to a big crowd, and Gaz Coombes is rocking less of the Supergrass era sideburns and more of his second solo album ‘Matador’.
Public Enemy get the crowd moving with the likes of ‘Don’t Believe The Hype’ but it’s just not the same without clock-toting weirdo Flavor Flav who apparently wasn’t allowed to come for some reason – “F–kin governments. Flava flav can’t be here because of F–kin governments”. The kid in the front row wearing a PE tshirt and a bedside alarm clock around his neck is obviously devastated.
After a tasty dinner at one of CP’s many amazing food outlets (Soft-shell crab burger? Brie and Pear toastie? Truffled mushroom quesadilla?) we are ready to take on the night, and so are Primal Scream. Rocking an eye-offendingly bright pink blazer, frontman Bobby Gillespie lopes about the stage looking every bit the archetypal boho rockstar. It’s a great, powerful set from the band with new album Chaosmosis material hitting the mark. Over on the Uncontained Stage (read: rave station) Kurupt FM are winding up the absolutely rammed arena into a frenzy, there are bodies everywhere – it’s a mostly teenage rampage.
On the main stage, the much anticipated return of Southampton son Craig David has drawn practically everyone from around the site and it’s not without a touch of nostalgia that we’re singing along to hits ‘Fill Me In’ and ‘Re-Wind’. Though the TS5 moniker is largely being ignored, it is fun to hear him mixing in tracks from other artists and sampling some proper legendary stuff, but to be honest – we all just love a bit of him singing his own name over and over again. Ahh memories.
Sunday stacks up a bit cooler but everyone still seems to be rocking up in bright festival-attire, and the telltale signs of yesterday’s sunburn are found in every bald head or exposed shoulder today. Shrieks of mayhem are emanating from the behemoth bouncy castle and a quick peek inside is like looking at a candy-coloured warzone. Kids are tombstoning each other, toddlers are being skimmed within millimetres by their falling parents and the flip-police have no hope of stopping the teenagers intent on putting the maximum effort into possible neck-injury. It’s awesome.
Next door on the Uncommon Stage, Arid Wave are rocking everyone’s socks off, but it looks like Hercules Morse on the main stage have fallen foul of the Sunday hangover absentees – there just aren’t that many people here yet. M.E.R.C.Y. – Southampton Urban Collective take over the main stage in the absence of Xylaroo, with two of the most adorable… sorry, SICK, hiphop dancers Jamie and Jamal giving us proper attitude and a heap of up and coming artists alongside.
Later on, Mr. Motivator draws a massive but spacious crowd as young, old and anyone in-between are getting their groove on with the positively ageless Mr. M and his lovely wife. Sporting a dazzlingly terrible-yet-amazing lycra onesie he plugs in his jams and off he goes doing squat technique mixed with curious life coaching “If the grass is greener on the other side, you probably aren’t watering yours. No man's gonna water my grass”. Telling us we’re “Much better than Oxford” only serves to endear this living legend to us more, and with classic moves such as ‘drive the car’ and the possibly slightly inappropriate for a younger audience ‘whip the horse’ – what’s not to love?
Brighton scenesters The Magic Gang look like they’ve stepped right out of Empire Records and give us a good dose of proper melodic indie pop before Chas & Dave take to the stage (flat-cap mandatory) to tell us about those ‘London Girls’.
Now we brace ourselves for the powerhouse of unmentionably bad behaviour that is The Cuban Brothers. The CB’s are of course rocking a new set of crazy patterned suits for the occasion, throwing down headspins, flares and insane flips all over the shop, as Miguel assures parents that all of the rude things he says will go right over the kids’ heads. This would be fine, but there’s no way you can make those kids un-see him pretending to slam his willy into a microphone whilst wearing only a thong, now is there? That right there is seared into some young memories. Newest member One Erection almost smashes his teeth out doing a massive front tuck off the stage into the pit and gets thoroughly told off by security for hopping into the crowd. M.E.R.C.Y lads Jamie and Jamal are invited on stage to dance with the CB’s and their faces are absolutely priceless when the guys hit the stage in their holographic fringed jumpsuits. However they are visibly horrified when Miguel dons a pair of extremely skimpy Bjork-esque swan pants. ‘Mike For President’ is the only song I remember because there was so much happening. He gets my vote though.
Jamie Lawson’s ‘Wasn’t Expecting That’ has everyone up and singing in the sunshine – he even managed to get us to do a decent job of harmonizing, but it’s Katy B’s set that really lights the place up. Bathed in the setting sun her sequined dinosaur dress shimmers all over as she dances around the stage with her troupe, and the likes of ‘Lights On’ and ‘Katy On A Mission’ has the arena jumping – especially when she doubles up the tempo. Chalk up another win for Southampton as Katy yells “Southampton, you are abosolutely smashing oxford right now I have to say”.
As the last of the daylight goes and the Helter Skelter and Big Wheel go neon, there’s just one more act to finish off what has been another amazing Common People festival, and it’s no small fry. Eighties synth-pop legends Duran Duran blow through a hit parade of absolute classics such as ‘Wild Boys’, ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ and ‘Girls on Film’. With tributes to both David Bowie and Prince, it’s a special one and ending with anthem ‘Rio’ couldn’t be more fitting on the costa del Southampton. As the arena clears and the crowd spills out into the streets to head home, it’s obvious that once again CP has been a massive success, and it sounds like Oxford is loving the CP vibe too.
You know him from banging 90’s/noughties garage and R&B hits with Artful Dodger, cool club classics for the shell-toed, bucket-hatted nation, but how the melee of under 18’s in the front know his entire back catalogue is a mystery. There are hundreds of screaming girls causing themselves airflow restriction as the legendary CD takes to the Common People stage as the Saturday headliner in his hometown of Southampton. It’s clear he’s happy to be home as he drops straight in with original mega-hit ‘Re-wind’ and he’s lost none of his showmanship or vocal range in his haitus from the mainstream.
I’m sure more than a few of us are still baffled as to what Bo Selecta actually means, or why we should be saying it in a crowd, and it doesn’t help that the entire show predicated on Leigh Francis’ lampooning of the song and Craig David himself is being acted out all over the arena.
From behind his stacked mixing desk, the tell tale sounds of ‘Fill Me In’ elicit a huge roar from the crowd and it seems everyone still knows the words, for a mass rendition. Mixing in his own stuff with samples from other hits seems to be the raison d’être of TS5 (glad to find out, had no clue what that meant) as Whitney Houston’s ‘It’s not right but it’s ok’ is woven into the story and his energetic bouncing has everyone throwing shapes alongside him.
Yelling “You can take the boy outta Southampton, but you can’t take Southampton outta the boy!” CD scores big with a site-wide roar of appreciation – Common People is smack in the middle of the city, so this really is a home crowd reception.
‘Walking Away’ gets a new backing track from ‘Still Dre’ and a ‘No Scrubs’ excerpt leads way to a massive Bieber singalong for ‘Sorry’. CD might have the better voice of the two actually…
With a bit of Beyonce’s ‘Run The World’ and Robin S’s ‘Show Me Love’ CD really knows how to hook this crowd before busting out a bit of his own smooth classic ‘7 Days’, and calling out “It’s been an incredible journey… from the garage days of the 90’s to now” endears him to the over 30’s in the audience, who remember them fondly, or at least, shamefully. With one last Biebs sample (apparently his momma don’t like you, and that’s bad) and a heartfelt “I’m incredibly proud to be from Southampton” Craig David more than proves he’s worthy of Common People’s headline slot.
All photos © A. Hyams – Do not use without permission.
The Bestival family has a long and august history of going that extra mile, making the world of festivals bigger, better and brighter. And this year is no exception, pushing the boundaries of bobbing up and down to the very limit, we’ve teamed up with our old muckers, Cardiff-based Something Creatives to make what we think is the world’s biggest bouncy castle! Aiming to add to our accolades for the world’s largest fancy dress party, the biggest busk ever and our colossal disco ball, this could well be the greatest inflatable on Earth, and it’s making its debut at Common People in Southampton this coming bank holiday weekend!
Rob da Bank says: “We do love breaking a record and this is one of our funnest builds so far. Me and my mate Matt from the infamous Inflatable Church had a pipe dream about five years ago of building the world’s biggest bouncy castle, and this summer we’re making that a reality. So polish your socks and step up for what will be one of the most innocent of pleasures – bouncing up and down with gay abandon with your mates, family or friendly strangers. See you on the castle!”
Something Creatives’ Matt the Hat commented: “I’ve always been the first kid in the sandpit and consider play a fundamental part of everyday life. Everyone should find the time to play. The playful spirit of creating joy and fun is shared by Rob da Bank and all of the Bestival family and has made this brilliantly bonkers idea a reality. Whether you’re young or old, what could be more fun than jumping around inside the biggest bouncy castle in the world? Just watch out for the ‘bouncers’, and remember if you’re wearing shoes then you can’t come in!”
Everyone loves a bouncy castle. That’s a fact. And we’ve got even more facts about our blow up bastion that could see us heading for the record books once again. Smashing an almost 20-year-old record and measuring a frankly epic23.8 metres long and 20.7 metres wide our bouncy castle stands 12.8 metres tall at its highest point; the side turrets are equal in height to the walls of Cardiff Castle, making it taller than the Great Wall of China and roughly three times the size of the Berlin Wall! Filled with 1143 cubic metres of air it can comfortablyaccommodate 100 pleasure-seeking festivalgoers at one time.
Quite simply massive, it’s an inflatable legend in the making, don’t miss the chance to have a jump around on our historic bouncy castle at Common People, Southampton this 28th & 29th May, and then at Camp Bestival 28th-31stJuly and Bestival from 8th – 11th September.
Bouncy Castle Comparison:
Length Width Height
Word’s Biggest Bouncy Castle: 23.8m 20.7m 12.8m
Previous Record Holder: 19m 19m 12m
The clock is ticking and Common People tickets are flying so grab yours now at www.commonpeople.net
We all know how most UK festivals work- you show up, you camp somewhere, usually muddy and wet, you sneak a few bottles under your shirt/short/hat/combination and you head to the arena for some musical action. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive festival fan, but the Great Escape is a different kind of festival altogether. It’s almost completely focused on ‘new music’, and with that tagline comes a whole new era of ‘festival’ in general. Although it is a brilliant collection of new music, with everything from up-and-coming indie bands to an underground grime scene, whether it’s festival status is truly deserved, is debatable. You don’t have the same camaraderie as camping in a field and getting wasted with your friends, it’s a completely urban environment and I can imagine for a non-brighton dweller can be quite hard to navigate.
For those of you who are unaware of what the Great Escape is, it’s a four day extravaganza in which various venues around Brighton host gigs and events under the same umbrella.
I grew up in Brighton, and seeing the Great Escape flourish every year has been a real beauty to behold. It puts the city in a good mood, there are loads of artists wandering around, I get to go to venues I’ve never been to before or wouldn’t go to without reason. It’s nice to promote new talent and isn’t massively overpriced for what it is. There’s a lot of nice little treats that come with your wristband, like a couple of free drinks at certain places or discounts on food and fringe events. It makes the city way more lively and you look at Brighton through rose tinted glasses, it brings a bucket load of atmosphere to my friendly city.
The long weekend itself was hectic, Some of the acts were unrefined, some were okay and some to be quite frank, some were pretty dreadful – with new music comes it’s fair share of risk – but when you get the one show that gives you the ‘I’m going to be able to brag about seeing these guys before they were famous’ feeling, it gives you goose bumps and an air of cockiness that lasts all evening, and that’s what GE is all about.
The festival is well known for its urban music vibes, with patterns showcasing Lady LeShurr in a packed out, madly energetic gig, however even with Stormzy playing a ‘spotlight show’ and music from Craig David’s new DJ act TS5, there was a very melancholic, Scandi-Pop, indie vibe to the majority of the festival, but that might be tailored to maybe the shows I happened to catch. A few favourites to call out were HER and SISKA, both French and both very different. The first was oozing sex all over the hope and ruin and had powerful vocals with highly sensual lyrics. The latter was a soulful, almost folky, bass filled vibe with some of the best vocals I heard all weekend.
Alongside all the lesser known artists, there were still some heavyweights pulling crowds to bigger venues, with Jake Bugg bringing the energy to Wagner Hall, which in itself is a masterpiece, even if a little hard to find. An amazing tucked away venue behind Saint Peters church- outdoors, fairy lights, and a cute little bar with a stage surrounded by foliage. It’s the type of place you had to stay at all day to see the one act you were actually interested in at 21:30. Mystery Jets also played a lively set, with a more prog-influenced feel than anything we’ve seen from them before at the Corn Exchange, a venue more central, capable of holding bigger crowds, and one of the best organised throughout the festival. The newly rejuvenated ‘Old Market’ also saw its fair share of action, with The Temper Trap playing a beautiful Amazon Live: Front Row gig, bringing a fresh lease of life to the venue.
Alongside the full blown Great Escape, is its rebellious little sibling that crops up all over the shop, The Alternative Escape. Although technically still a branch from the same tree, the Alternative Escape boasts something a little different, showcasing newer acts from specific labels and the Black Lion pub even hosting a few more learned events and East Street Tap remaining a hot spot for music and some definite refreshment throughout the evening.
It’s been over ten years since its humble beginnings in 2006, and although it’s continuing to bloom into a must-see of the summer, I do feel it needs to be slightly refined. They’ve got some great ideas and concepts, but the venues need to be stronger, maybe a few more outdoors stages, a few more quirky events, and just that little bit extra on top of the music. The music is great, but when you hit a three hour lull in the middle of a saturday afternoon, I can imagine those of us not from Brighton would feel quite irritable, which is the last thing you want in a crowd. But I say this from the perspective of a mum wanting to see it’s baby do well. The focus is on the music and the bands, and that’s something that gives it an edge, which can be lacking from the larger, more mainstream festivals these days. Things are only going to get better, and I for one can’t wait till next year.
In an exclusive headline festival performance, Olly Murs and his band will close the show on Sunday night with a breathtaking 90 minute show featuring all his classic hits from ‘Troublemaker’ and ‘Heart Skips A Beat’ through to his recent hits ‘Wrapped Up’ and ‘Kiss me”. The six time BRIT Award nominated artist was catapulted into the limelight when he stole the hearts of the nation with his cheeky charms on the X Factor 2009. Murs can now boast 3 Number One albums and a sensational live show that sells out arenas all across the country.
Jason Derulo has brought us mega-hits ‘Talk Dirty’, ‘Ridin Solo’ and ‘Whatcha Say’ and the massive number 1 single ‘Want to Want me”. The American singer, songwriter and dancer has sold over 50 million singles, with three singles going platinum in the UK. He is now hitting Liverpool’s Otterspool Promenade for Fusion Festival 2016 with all of the hits to headline the first night of the biggest pop event of the summer.
Derulo says: “I’m honoured to be headlining Fusion Festival 2016, it’s a great line up and I can’t wait to get out there to perform in Liverpool with Fusion Festival & Capital FM – it’s going to be amazing!”
Now in its 4th year, Fusion has grown into one of the UK’s most popular music festivals. The move to Liverpool coincides with the city being declared a UNESCO City of Music due to music’s place at the heart of Liverpool’s contemporary culture, education and the economy. Liverpool has a rich music heritage and the team at Fusion Festival are excited to become a part of that.
Graham Sarath, commercial director of Capital Liverpool, said: “It’s great for 107.6 Capital FM to be able to launch in Liverpool with such a huge local event and help bring it to the city of Liverpool – Fusion Festival will be fantastic for music fans and for the city. We know that for lots of listeners, Fusion will be one of the highlights of the Summer and we’re delighted to be a part of that.”
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool said “We take great pride in the events we hold here in Liverpool. Each year we strive to offer something new and exciting, not only for our own residents but for those visiting the City too. That is why I am delighted to welcome such a distinguished music festival to Liverpool.”
Continuing our mission to connect like-minded party people on common land, the Common People team are very pleased to announce the line-ups for our Uncommon Stage. Flexing his all-encompassing musical muscles Rob da Bank has joined forces with legendary, longstanding music publication Nightshift in Oxford and acclaimed venue The Joiners in Southampton, to bring you the cream of the up-and-coming music scene, featuring some of the most exciting new and underground bands, this coming May Bank Holiday at South Park and Southampton Common.
Common People curator Rob da Bank says: “The beating heart of all our festival adventures is getting people to discover new music and uncover new bands. Our curators, Ricky from The Joiners in Southampton and Ronan from the seminal Nightshift magazine, are experts in these matters, so please be upstanding and make much noise for The Uncommon Stage.”
Nightshift’s Ronan Munro says: “It’s fantastic that so many local acts are getting the opportunity to play at Common People, with the opportunity to play to a whole new audience, and it’s great that we get the chance to show the variety of music that comes out of Oxfordshire – from hot jazz, reggae, hip hop and blues to doom metal, electronica, punk and even pirate pop. I’ve always tried to make musicians proud to come from Oxfordshire, and Oxfordshire be proud of its musicians and this weekend is proof that Oxfordshire is home to a wealth of music talent”.
The Joiners’ Ricky Bates says: “We at the Joiners are utterly thrilled to be directly presenting the Uncommon Stage this year with some of our favourite touring acts of old and new in one space! Plus, we have some amazing home grown local talent throughout the day covering everything from ska to metalcore to indie rock n’ roll across the weekend, it’s going to be the most righteous fun weekend, don’t stay in! See you down the front”.
Saturday in South Park, Oxford will see the Uncommon Stage shake to the sounds of local seven-piece vintage r ‘n’ b and hot jazz outfit Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band, east Oxford’s roots-inspired Zaia, the glistening pop hooks of Neverlnd, Chipping Norton’s Esther Joy Lane, the doomladen Undersmile, and Cowley’s Cameron A.G. who recently scored a Hottest Record in the World Right Now on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show. There will also be rum-soaked fun from Peerless Pirates, gothic blues pop sounds from Death of the Maiden and looped vibes from mind-blowing cellist Duotone.
Sunday’s super-fresh action will see Oxford-based, pan-European gypsy-ska-punks The Balkan Wanderers heading up a coruscating line-up that will include local electronic types Maiians, electro rockabilly blues from Vienna Ditto, Witney’s Little Brother Eli, Oxford-based beats cooperative Inner Peace Collective, Chipping Norton sibling duo Cassels, purveyors of porch folk with attitude The August List, Cowley’s Young Women’s Music Project and the experimental, ethereal sounds of Oxford via Stockholm’s Julia Meijer.
On Southampton Common, Saturday’s dazzling new sounds will come courtesy of much admired Cambridge five-piece Lonely the Brave and experimental Brightonians Tall Ships, with sets from singer-songwriter Sean Mcgowan, stadium-ready post rockers New Desert Blues and BBC 6 Music-supported Bel Esprit, all of whom hail from Southampton. There will also be live music from the Isle of Wight’s math-pop four-piece Signals and the home turf triumvirate of Our Hollow, Our Home, Elixir and Vicki Musselwhite, with the first of our soon to be announced I Want to Play at Common People winners also making an appearance.
Sunday will see NME-championed Palma Violets topping a bill that will include garage rockers Pretty Vicious, Portsmouth’s Kassassin Street, and a cavalcade of local heroes including Science of Eight Limbs, The Rising, Bigtopp, These Septic Stars and Cassava, with two more I Want to Play at Common People winners completing the line-up.
Showcasing the very best in ambitious new music, don’t miss discovering your new favourite band at Common People’s temple of innovative sound, The Uncommon Stage.