Southside Festival 2022

Finally, festivals again. First time since 2019, first time at Southside for us. Quick wiki summary: Southside Festival is a medium size festival in the south of Germany, and the sister festival of Hurricane Festival in the north. Blazing sun and 28 °C welcomed us and the forecast was solid. We travelled by coach this year, rather than driving, and enjoyed free transport by train both to and from the festival with our festival ticket. In terms of encouraging environmentally conscious travelling and reducing the traffic, pretty good going.

Friday

To pass the time between setting up camp and the arena opening, we took a walk around the campsite. Enough campers were armed with super soakers that the walk was actually quite refreshing. The ally along the tarmac in the main camping area had everything you could need for the weekend: food, merch, ATMs and air brush tattoos.

Welsh metal band Skindred opened up the Green Stage, arguably the main stage. Managing to tease an impressive amount of energy and participation out of an already overheating crowd. Heat warnings went out via app, advising to wear sun cream and keep hydrated. The latter required more effort than it reasonable should have done; we were only aware of one drinking water station for the majority of the day meaning every water bottle refill turned into a mini odyssey across the site. Compared to previous festivals, the water supply was limited and poorly signposted, not great for a weekend expect up to 30°C. As the weekend went on, more were put up so people weren’t relying on hand washing sinks as much.

Provinz opened the Blue Stage with a short (only 30 min) and sweet set. The band is local and grew up going to Southside, so understandably they were quite emotional about standing on the stage this year rather than in front of it. They drew a massive crowd for a Friday afternoon slot. The crowd that was singing along from the first song, taking over entire choruses. A fun set of carefree dancing in the sun.

Getting to the Blue Stage for Tones and I’s German festival debut, the obvious thing that stood out was the purple-green crooked house that took up the entire stage. The band were neatly contained in the front garden, behind purple picket fences. Equally cute and unsettling, definitely a unique stage design, and more than you would ever expect from a Friday afternoon slot. Tones and I switched between walking up around the stage and playing keyboard on the balcony of her house. The set included covers of Forever Young by Alphaville and Diamonds by Rhianna, keeping her hit Dance Monkey for second to last.

Switching from sunshine dancing to good ol’ fashioned rock, Royal Blood’s fierce riffs rang out from the Blue Stage. The guitarist of the duo, Mike Kerr, introduced his “gbass”, a bass with guitar strings, responsible for the distinct Royal Blood sound. The drummer, Ben Thatcher, was set up on a raised platform with a massive gong behind him, which he satisfyingly hit after an impressive drum solo with crowd countdown.

Alice Merton’s set, played in front a pink sky backdrop with boulders across the front of the stage took us back from head banging to dancing in the sun. The set had several new songs including Vertigo, a song she wrote as part of getting over the anxiety she developed around performing during the pandemic. Her hit Roots got everybody moving.

My personal Friday Highlight, Kummer, played his first festival show accompanied by a massive cube made from halogen ceiling lights. Normally the lead singer of popular band Kraftklub, Kummer released a solo album in 2019 with the intention to tour in 2020 and then return to the band. The pandemic threw a big old spanner into those works, so now the project is being finished along side his work with the band. Chaotic for him, great for us, as we were treated to the live debut of the new Krafklub song Ein song reicht. A fantastic set, with guest performances from Blond and the singer from Provinz.

Trying to get across the arena to Kings of Leon turned out to be harder than expected. Crowds coming away from rapper Kontra K’s show completely congested the middle of the site, meaning I missed the start of the set. Normally the one-way system commonly used at German festivals works quite well, but the fact the arena is quite narrow meant there was no way to walk around the back of the dense crowd. Your best hope was to join one of the many conga lines snaking through the crowd as they passed.

Although sounding great, the long day and heat eventually got to us, and we had to bail from Kings of Leon about halfway through. We enjoyed Use somebody from our tent, including the crowd singing along, but were asleep before Sex on Fire. Maybe we’re out of practise after three festival-free years, maybe we’re getting old, who’s to say.

Saturday


Saturday morning was a race to get out of the sauna-like tent and into the shade. While we fully woke up, Bilbao was opening the Green Stage including a cover of The Killers’ Mr Brightside. After grabbing a smoothie-coffee-bakery breakfast at the camp site stall, we headed into the arena for day two.

Matching the desert level temperature, The Dead South gave us southern cowboy vibes on the Green Stage.  With songs about bar fights and their love of whiskey along with catchy banjo tunes, the set had people linking arms and dancing in circles. Also, the bassist/celloist wore his cello like a bass guitar, so Jack Black was right.

OK Kid played on the Blue Stage, stepping in for Gayle at short notice. Being regulars at Southside, they had been hoping for a holiday, but were more than happy to jump in the van and come over.

Giant Rooks played their first Southside festival this year. Lead singer, Frederik Rabe, thanked the crowd for choosing this stage to be at. Which was cute considering there was a queue of people wanting to get into the area in front of the stage.  The set included new songs, which the crowd loved, and a cover of Tom’s Diner by Susanne Vega previously recorded by Giant Rooks and AnnenMayKantereit. After the standard “everybody good?”, the lead singer asked if everyone’s neighbour was good, and instead of just shouting “yeah”, everybody actually turned to their neighbour to check which was very sweet. The most impressive thing about this wonderful set was the fact the lead singer kept throwing his guitar halfway across the stage to the roadie and there were no broken guitars by the end.

Surprise highlight for me was LP, who’s crowd was quite thin, likely because everyone was over at Giant Rooks. She was exceptionally cool, and the band were clearly having a great time on stage. A girl in the crowd was holding a sign asking for a kiss, LP invited her on stage to get one, saying “you gotta to ask for sh*t”.

Expecting there to be queue for The Killers, we headed over during the act before, Dermot Kennedy. The gates were only opened between acts which was a bit of a shame considering people leaving meant that the crowd could get pretty sparse in front of the stage at times. The Killers opened with Mr Brightsidewhich I would have expected to be near the end of the set. The set was a run through the classics with one song from the new album (Dying Breed) and a cover of Shadowplay by Joy Division. It was a little odd to see a band like The Killers not in a headlining slot, with only 1hr 15min to play and missing all their usual confetti and fireworks. I guess even with the large crowd, they don’t quite hold the sway in Germany that they do in the UK.

SDP played the Blue Stage, bringing their usual party chaos with pyrotechnics and giant inflatables. Their last album tour was cancelled due to COVID, and they’d just released another album, so the set contained two albums worth of new music alongside the classics and a cover of Die Ärtzte’s Schrei Nach Liebe. It was a great, fun, juvenile time.

Green Stage headliners SEEED packed the arena right to the very back with their reggae hip-hop set. Playing a combination of their own songs, front man Peter Fox’s solo songs and covers including Paper Planes by MIA and SexyBack by Justin Timerlake, the set also included long instrumental sections, perfect for dancing.

This time we made it to the last act of the night, Martin Garrix, headlining the Blue Stage. As you would expect from a DJ set, the whole stage was made of screens, with a big plus hanging behind him. The set went pretty heavy from the start with pyro and smoke alongside glitchy graphics and soul vibrating bass.

Sunday

Sunday morning was much like Saturday morning: wake up, recover from the sweltering temperature of the tent outside in the (scarce) shade, get breakfast and head into the arena. Walking over to Nothing but Thieves, all available shade was completely filled with people, every bin, fence, and shade throwing object fully utilised. Despite the heat, Nothing but Thieves, drew a pretty big crowd, more than capable of singing the choruses to Trip Switch, Sorry and Amsterdam.

Over on the Blue stage, German rapper Juju was absolutely dominating, the front duo hyping up the crowd to no end. A fan joined them on stage for Intro and she undeniably nailed the entire song, the crowd celebrating her accordingly. The set included a couple SXTN songs, JuJu’s former band. A ridiculous amount of energy all round for a Sunday early afternoon.

Bristolian punk rock band Idles treated the us to a rowdy performance on the Blue stage. Half the crowd ending up embroiled in a part mosh pit, part dust bath for a solid chunk of the set. Moving from punk to punk-rap, Antilopen Gang played over on the Red stage, the smallest of the main stages.

K.I.Z. can safely be described as not politically correct in the slightest. Coming on stage in matching psychiatric clinic outfits and a provocative song to match, it was a set of very dark humour, pyro and smoke. The trio were surprisingly silly in between songs, clearly having a great time, waving at the people in the Ferris wheel at the back of the field. Very high energy, a lot of fun, not for the easily offended.

As a light-hearted pallet cleanser compared to K.I.Z., Von Wegen Lisbeth took to the Green stage as second to last band. The set had a long panel of black and white squares that switched between colours in various patterns. Their well-known marimba sound and glockenspiel solos were the perfect sound for the setting sun and the singer was grinning the whole time. The set included everything from the oldest to the newest songs as well as a cover of Believe by Cher.

Blue stage headliners, Twenty One Pilots, came on stage wearing ski masks and kicked their set of with Heathens. Shortly after, the masks came off as the drummer, Josh Dun, back flipped off the piano. The band started towards the back of the stage behind low screens but came forward during various songs and solos. The set included a cover of Benny and the Jets by Elton John in the middle of Mulberry Street. At one point there was suddenly a little bonfire on stage which the band sat around with acoustic instruments to play a medley of covers including I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash, My Girl by The Temptations, Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Careless Whispers by George Michael. The campfire session finished with House of Gold and We Don’t Believe What’s on TV. There was a brief intermission in which the trumpeter played 99 Luftballons by Nena, which of course the crowd got on board with straight away, and the Halo theme, for which the band came back on stage and transitioned into Jumpsuit. I got a little emotional at Level of Concern considering it was one of my lockdown associated songs, it felt good to sing it in a crowd. Singer Tyler Joseph was no stranger to the crowd, standing on them at one point and crowd surfing back from the central tower in the most nonchalant way I have ever seen, just flopping on to the crowd and jokingly complaining his legs are too tired and that he’s like to go back to stage please. A fantastic and very varied set.

Final headliner, Deichkind, gave a show that more closely resembled a performance art piece than a live gig. It included everything from giant moving set pieces through countless costume changes to mini trampolines and office chair races. Several songs were performed in their famous triangle head masks and one in a giant barrel being rolled through the crowd. The final song bought complete chaos both to the stage and the crowd: the curtains drew back to reveal something akin to a Harlem Shake video with inflatables, balloons, even more random costumes and a cut out of Inauguration Bernie Sanders. One band member was surfing over the crowd in a huge inflatable ring, covering the crowd in feathers. It was a perfect finale to the weekend.

With the free trains and shuttles to and from the festival, it’s a great one to stop off at if you’re travelling in the area on the summer. The arena is relatively small, smaller than Hurricane, which has the same line-up. The timings mean you can move between acts as the alternate between the two biggest stages, so you can easily fill your timetable to see a huge number of bands as long as you’re happy to occasionally miss the first and last songs. As the day goes on the overlaps get a little bigger but unless you’re a diehard fan you can enjoy the vibes of each performance and then move on. By moving while acts are still playing you also avoid the large traffic of everyone leaving a stage in one direction at once.

From previous experience of other festivals run by the same company, the amount of water stations has been higher in the past, so you didn’t have to walk far out of your way at any given point to fill up. Maybe this year the organisers were a little out of practise or didn’t expect the heat, but I’d say that was the weakest point this year.

Leaving on Monday morning, we had to be at the shuttle bus to the train station at 6 am to get our connections back to the UK, and there was already a queue of people waiting. I feel like that’s very German, at a UK festival people may have slowly started leaving in the late morning. The shuttles ran until very late/early in the night Sunday to Monday, so most traveling plans would have been accommodated.

Overall, it was wonderful to be back at festivals given the past few years and Southside was a perfect one to start with. Big enough to offer a range of both German and international bands, small enough not to get overwhelmed with what’s on offer. Perfect, if not a little too hot, weather. Great vibes, good food. A good, fun time.

Sziget 2020 announce huge lineup

Sziget makes its first 2020 announcement as one of the world’s biggest and most diverse festival line-ups to date with Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, Kings Of Leon, Major Lazer and The Strokes plus over seventy-five more massive names across the seven day celebration on The Island of Freedom. Sziget is the fifth largest festival in the world and takes place on 5-11 August 2020, in the heart of Budapest on Óbuda Island. Other artists locked to play include Anna Calvi, A$AP Rocky, Denzel Curry, Diplo, FKA twigs, Foals, Kaytranada, Khalid, Lewis Capaldi, Mabel, Slowthai, Stormzy and more. Tickets available now from €199 and can be bought online:  szigetfestival.com (prices due to change of 3 March 2020).

Over the years Sziget has played host to some of the most prestigious names in music, including the likes of David Bowie, Oasis, The Stone Roses, Iggy Pop, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Sex Pistols and Kendrick Lamar.

The massive 80 act announcement showcases a wide variety of musical genres that Sziget has always been beloved and well known for. Ranging from stadium rock to trap, from singer-songwriter to folktronica, from funk to psychedelic pop providing the hottest names for each style. The party literally never stops across the 7 days. The festival even has a beach within the festival where you can relax and cool down under Budapest’s hot summer sun.

Returning to Sziget for 2020 is certified hit-maker Calvin Harris who boasts hit collaborations with some of the world’s biggest stars. The BRIT Award and GRAMMY recognised Scottish DJ, producer and song-writer needs no introduction having been famed for bringing a massive atmosphere to his live performances. Some of Calvin Harris’s modern dance classics include songs like Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’, Dua Lipa’s ‘One Kiss’ and Sam Smith’s ‘Promises’ amongst an abundance of others.

Sziget will open their arms with a wide welcome back for multi-award winning Kosovo-born Londoner, Dua Lipa, after her debut in 2018. As one of the most streamed female artists in the world and now dubbed the Madonna of Generation Z, the pop sensation colossus has a multitude of futuristic disco bangers that she accompanies with jazzercise-style dance routines bringing a standout live performance. With a stack of floor-filling hits including ‘One Kiss’, ‘New Rules’ and ‘Electricity’ Dua Lipa already has two UK No.1’s at the age of 24 with no signs of slowing down those chart rulings.

Kings Of Leon are another act preparing to take to the Sziget stage for the second time after their crowd-wowing performance in 2015. Having emerged onto the scene early in the new millennium, the Nashville band have gone on to build an enormous global fan base releasing multiple-platinum selling albums and becoming undeniably one of the biggest bands in the world. After achieving critical acclaim for their first two albums (Youth and Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak), Kings of Leon have bounded to stadium status with further breakthrough albums, and cult hits such as – ‘Use Somebody’, ‘Sex On Fire’ and ‘The Bucket’.

Sziget will be graced with two performances from three-time GRAMMY winner Diplo – one solo show and one as part of the infamous Jamaican-American electronic dance trio, Major Lazer who are also set to light up the Hungarian-stage ahead of their upcoming final studio album. The genre-blending, party-starting collaborators have given the world a decade of some of the most iconic beats across music today with enormous influence on electronic acts such as Justin Bieber and Ellie Goulding. Major Lazer are famed for their highly energetic and entertaining performances – expect dancers!

Coinciding with a brand new album in 2020, New York indie legends The Strokes will be grabbing their guitars for a hit-guaranteed appearance at this year’s Sziget. Having laid low for the last decade the new album will be The Strokes’ first LP since their 2013 smash, Comedown Machine. Often credited with having spearheaded a revival of 1960s-style garage rock during the early 2000’s, The Strokes will return with a bang this year, blessing the Sziget mainstage in the process.

More than just its massive host of musicians, Sziget brings together a programme of theatre, cabaret, installations, performances and art. Set in the heart of Budapest on Óbuda Island, Sziget is a true city within the city with its 500,000+ Szitizens attending from over 100 countries each year.  Sziget invites you to explore, get lost and find yourself again on The Island of Freedom.

Lineup 2020

Calvin Harris
Dua Lipa
Kings Of Leon
Major Lazer
The Strokes

Alice Merton
Alison Wonderland
Altin Gün
Amyl and the Sniffers
Anna Calvi
A$AP Rocky
ATLiens
Bakermat
Bikini Kill
Black Honey
blackbear
Bob Moses club set
Briston Maroney
Camelphat
Caribou
Chris Liebing
Claptone
Clutch
Daughter
Denzel Curry
Diplo
Dixon
Droeloe live
Ezra Collective
Fever 333
FKA twigs
Floating Points live
Foals
Foster The People
Gerd Janson
Giant Rooks
Glass Animals
I Hate Models
Jade Bird
Jamie Jones b2b Jeremy Loops
Jon Hopkins live
Joris Voorn
Joseph Capriati
Kaytranada
Keane
Kensington
Khalid
Kokoroko
Kölsch
Lewis Capaldi
Little Dragon
Little Simz
Lola Marsh
Loyle Carner
Mabel
Mark Ronson
Matador
METZ
Miles Kane
NGHTMRE
Of Monsters And Men
Parquet Courts
R3hab
Rilès
Sam Feldt live
Sasha
Seasick Steve
Sevdaliza
Sigrid
Slowthai
Solardo
Stanton Warriors
Stormzy
Tom Walker
Tourist
TroyBoi
Viagra Boys
Volac
What So Not live

Kings of Leon and Duran Duran to headline Gibraltar Music Festival

Bringing some of the world’s biggest live acts to Gibraltar each year, GMF is back in 2015 with its biggest lineup to date in the picturesque and intimate surroundings of Victoria Stadium on the Rock of Gibraltar.

Headlining proceedings this year are none other than Nashville rock heroes Kings Of Leon who come to GMF as a British exclusive performance. Since bursting into the public consciousness with breakthrough album ‘Youth & Young Manhood’ back in 2003 they have spent over a decade becoming one of the greatest bands of a generation.

Also headlining will be pop icons Duran Duran. Having sold over 100 million records worldwide and with a new album set for release in mid-September of this year featuring highly anticipated collaborations with the likes of Janelle Monáe, Kiesza, Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson, the band are as vital and festival ready as ever. Expect a career spanning set filled to the brim with the band’s huge arsenal of hits alongside new material.

Joining the headliners is a supporting cast of some of the world’s best talent including award-winning piano balladeer Tom Odell, breakthrough singer-songwriter Rae Morris, powerpop superstars The Feeling, pop-rock chart smashers Lawson and reggae veterans Third World alongside names like Reach,Strange BrewTim Garcia featuring AfterhoursPaddy Taylorand many more still to be announced.

Providing the perfect end to the festival season, GMF is a family-friendly festival in the sunshine. Affordable and easily accessible, Gibraltar Music Festival rolls a holiday and a festival into one incredible weekend.

Isle of Wight Festival 2014 Review

First up on the elite list of larger festivals this summer was the Isle of Wight Festival. It was a rousing success all around, promising a vast array of acts to be seen, with what happened to be bright & consistent weather to make it that bit better. It was an event where as the adverts promoting the festival said, you simply had to ‘be there’. 50,000 festival-goers agreed & took the advice, making their way across the Solent on whatever method of boat travel they could find, camping gear at the ready. The festival is one of the few in the UK that has the most varied mix of musicians performing, from Red Hot Chilli Peppers & Kings of Leon to Cher Lloyd & Dappy, with Boy George in between. You get the picture.

On Day 1, it was the Thursday performance of the ever-exuberant & flamboyant Boy George whose soulful-sing-alongs propelled the early festival-goers into a flashback to the 80’s with hits such as his old band Culture Club’s ‘Karma Chameleon’ & ‘Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?’. The crowd most definitely didn’t want to cause any harm to the hit-maker, they loved his cheerful disposition & playful interaction with the clearly pleased audience.

On the Friday, it was up to the Scottish folk of Biffy Clyro & Calvin Harris to step up to the act of being headliners, & each did it spectacularly. Over the years we have gradually seen Biffy Clyro head further up the festival posters with their name getting bigger & bolder each time. In an explosive 90 minute set that clearly included a very talented technical team, the stage at times became a pyrotechnical dream- ablaze with fireworks & glitter, raging riffs and hard-hitting sentimental lyrics- something of a rarity some might say in rock music. Coming on stage at 9pm, it would have been better to see the visual impact of the display had they not performed in the daylight.

London based quartet Rudimental have had phenomenal success in the UK for a band with just the one album under their belts, but so it seems, they prove one album is all it takes. 2012’s album release ‘Home’ certainly brought home the goods for the audience who were treated to a mix of drum’n’bass, soul, & funk with added backing vocalists, rousing drums & a trumpet thrown in for good measure to add to the party. Hits like ‘Feel The Love’ really brought the crowd together, & with excellent crowd interaction from the band it was a magical moment for the audience, who made their hands into a heart sign throughout the feel-good song, drunk festival-goers included, some attempts looking more blob shaped than heart shaped.

Hit-maker Calvin Harris closed Friday night in the coveted final slot of the main stage. Mr Harris has ploughed up to immeasurable amounts of success with the record-breaking album ’18 months’, & his large spectrum of collaborations has been the real ingredient to his popularity with dance fans around the world. During his DJ set, robust vocals from Rihanna to Florence Welch could be heard to name a few, with smoke machines & laser lights beaming out onto the euphoric crowd. A remix of last year’s headliners The Killers- ‘When You Were Young’ was played to add an element of surprise to the set, otherwise it may have been abit too predictable, he has been very busy performing over the past few years & a lot of his sets have been televised after all. All in all, a spectacular set from the Scottish DJ.

Away from the main stage there was talent to be seen in the Big Top stage, in the form of uber-cool Katy B. Belting out hits into the humid Isle of Wight air from acclaimed album ‘Little Red’ with striking synths throughout, Katy reminded us why she’s a sell-out in both gigs & album sales with a brilliant mix of stage presence, crowd interaction & electronic-infused songs that made a brilliant set list.

Saturday’s at festivals are always the big ones. Halfway through so you sort of feel disappointed it’s half over already, & then you remember the great bill ahead of you on Saturday morning & don’t feel so bad after all. The weather was a lot cooler, which some might say is a good thing, but those clear blue skies had diminished. Non-the-less, the vibe of the festival was still upbeat, with festival-goers saying they were enjoying themselves. The Waterboys made an appearance to fill in the unusually seen genre of Irish folk at the festival, & merrily played uplifting songs such as ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ & ‘Whole Of The Moon’, using less commonly seen instruments such as fiddles, violins & harmonicas, it was a refreshing change. I’d liked to have seen more interaction, but it may have been they were not used to main stage slots at large festivals & felt slightly overwhelmed.

Next up was the fabulous John Newman, a man with motown, retro RnB & soul in his (very) dancing feet. A brilliant blend of upbeat tap-your-toes songs combined with melancholy-filled ballads about heartbreak, he packed a lot in to the 40 minute slot that brought the audience almost on an emotional journey, some feeling the obvious meanings of the songs to Newman. When he left the stage you couldn’t help but want an encore, but like the band that made him famous, Rudimental, he too has one album to his name, but in a few years’ time I can see him doing longer & more varied sets with big-name collaborator’s perhaps joining him on stage. The crowd pleasing summer anthem from last year ‘Love Me Again’ was the right song to choose to end an excellent & energy-filled set.

Later on was the band thousands had travelled high, low & far away for. After a seven year hiatus from performing at a festival in the UK, Californian based Red Hot Chili Peppers made a triumphant return. Eccentrically bounding around the stage playing universally-known hits such as ‘Can’t Stop’ & ‘By The Way’, their energised performance made the crowd go wild at times, exactly what a classic rock band who headlines should do. From lead singer Kiedis’s rap-singing in parts to the funk-infused riffs, it was a you had to be there set, & those who were torn between the headliners & the world cup England match made the right choice if they avoided the later. (A match they lost anyway!). Perhaps what made this set so enjoyable clearly by both the band & crowd was the fact that it was something of a rarity & they aren’t regulars. That’s what made it so anticipated, & overall, the Chili’s certainly didn’t disappoint. Although arriving 15 minutes late & not playing ‘Under The Bridge’ may have put a downer on some, perhaps some will wonder if that lateness contributed to them not playing the iconic song, but speculate or not, it was a superb set, & one can hope they can start planning a UK tour soon.

On the final day of the festival, we were all treated to a performance from the red arrows. Causing a load of colourful synchronized smoke to grace the skies, it was a few moments where you saw more necks than faces from people looking up in wonderment, only to then get back to the hustle & bustle of the festival deciding on where & what to see next. The final headline performance was from festival regulars Kings of Leon, clearly an expert in this field, quite literally, from their vast experience of festival performances. Playing hits from their six studio albums to date, from up-tempo songs like ‘Supersoaker’ & ‘Fans’ to the obvious major hits like ‘Sex on fire’ & ‘Use Somebody.’ Caleb Followill’s yowl gave raw intensity to the set, with an added genius moment of guitarist Matthew Followill playing the opening riff of more mid-paced track ‘Closer’ with his teeth. As the final song of the festival came to an end, arms were put around each other, & appreciation was obvious for Kings of Leon with cheering & clapping echoing around the stage & beyond. Now it was time to get back to tents, & our ones.

After a long weekend of music, rides, balloons, bubbles being blown, alcohol, a surprisingly good selection of food, & seeing people dressed up in odd unusual costumes, it was time to pack up & go. The Isle of Wight Festival is so worth the travel from afar if you live miles away like I do, it’s one of the very few festivals where you really feel like it’s worth every penny with the high amount of quality bandssingers your seeing. After this year’s success, Isle of Wight Festival 2015 will have a lot of living up to do, organisers best get planning!

Photos by James Bridle

Kings of Leon to headline Isle of Wight Festival 2014

Kings of Leon’s Grammy Nominated 6th studio album ‘Mechanical Bull’ entered the UK charts at number 1 and now they’re taking the top slot on the legendary Main Stage on Sunday 15th June.

John Giddings, the Festival’s promoter said: “It’s a rock ‘n’ roll weekend! Biffy Clyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kings of Leon- rock the Wight!”

Travis said: “We’re made up that we are making a trip back to the Isle of Wight, last time was a top gig. There's a lot of rock and roll history gone down on that little island and it's great to be a part of it again.”

We’re also excited to announce appearances from a selection of the best new and established acts, including chart toppers Travis,Clean BanditThe Specials and John Newman. What’s more we’ve got LA duo Deap Vally, half Scottish, half Swedish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt, Mercury Prize nominees The Horrors, plus the hotly tipped Gorgon City and The Strypes, all performing over the weekend.

Choral rock outfit The Polyphonic SpreeFrom The Jam, featuring Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler and four-piece girl groupNeon Jungle will be heading to the Island this summer.  Along with, Swim DeepChlöe Howl and The Selecter.  But if that wasn’t enough, we’re also pleased to have top producer and DJ Duke Dumont, indie rockers PeaceJuly Talk and iconic British bandTheMove all on the bill.  Finally, rounding off this spectacular list of artists we have Dappy, British pop-rock band Lawson and newcomers The Vamps…roll on June!

With an English Festival exclusive from Biffy Clyro on Friday 13th June, a UK & Ireland exclusive from Red HotChili Pepperson Saturday 14th June and now Kings of Leon on Sunday, we’re counting down the days until this incredible Main Stage line up lands on the Island.

Kings of Leon to headline Rock Werchter 2014

The Summer Festival Guide 2014 can now reveal that Kings of Leon will headline Sunday night at Belgium's Rock Werchter.

They join Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Jack Johnson, Major Lazer, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Pixies, Placebo, Skrillex, Stromae – who said himself on Facebook this week that he’d be there – The Black Keys and Triggerfinger, all already announced for Rock Werchter 2014. Festival tickets have been on sale since early December. Ticket sales for Rock Werchter 2014 are at 60,000 and still counting. The 18,000 day tickets for Saturday 5 July are already sold out. Still on sale: combi-tickets and day tickets for Thursday, Friday or Sunday. More festival news to come soon.

Kings of Leon

About Kings of Leon:
”There is no festival we’ve played more,” said singer Caleb Followill to the Werchter crowd last year. The pleasure is ours, Caleb. No name has graced the bill as often in such a short space of time: in 2014 it will be the sixth time in eight years. This mutual respect tells a Werchter fairytale: young band makes headliner status through repeat visits. The first time around, in 2007, Kings of Leon were honoured by a visit from Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam). Two years later they topped the bill. By then “Sex On Fire” and “Use Somebody” had brought them world fame and they were heaping up the gold records. The album “Come Around Sundown” (2010) was overshadowed by internal stresses, but that was only a glitch. “Mechanical Bull” (2013) sees them back in good form. More roots than arena rock. Good stuff.

V Festival Review 2013

This year’s V Festival came to a close this weekend, with the event displaying perfectly how to showcase some of the biggest chart stars in the world, as well as give some exciting up and coming artists a platform to shine.

The festival kicked off on Saturday afternoon and despite the unsettled weather, a buzz filled the air and the main stage began to fill up early with people eagerly awaiting the performance of a lady that goes by the name of Beyoncé.

First up on the main stage were The Fratellis, who played a triumphant set to seal their comeback to the music business. They helped set the tone for the day and had the crowd up on their feet and singing along to popular hit Chelsea Dagger amongst others.

 After this I headed to the 4music stage, stopping along the way to grab a drink and meet a group of lads who were dressed as power rangers. Here I had a little wait before the next act, so I chatted to a pair of girls who had been watching Gabrielle Aplin serenade the crowd at the arena stage, with her “gentle tone and heart-warming lyrics.”

Finally, out came Maverick Sabre who provided the crowd with a laidback soulful sound to accompany some late afternoon sun. He was shortly followed by Of Monsters and Men who continued in the same fashion by mixing an inviting atmosphere with some uplifting melody’s to get the crowd going.

With about 40 minutes to spare before Labrinth took to the 4music stage I darted off to the arena stage where I saw Jessie Ware get lost in the moment as she delivered a faultless set. Then I was quickly back to the 4music stage to see the previously mentioned Earthquake singer bring down the house with an electric set that included hits Express Yourself and Sunshine. Not to mention some onstage flames which lit up the crowd as the sun slowly started to set.

 I, like many other people then made my way to the main stage where a huge crowd gathered to see Jessie J do her thing. Rocking her recently famous short bleached blonde hair and dressed in a unique skimpy black and white ensemble, fitting of her personality, the singer delivered the only way she knows how, with a punch. Popular tracks Price Tag, Do It Like A Dude and Domino were accompanied by fist pumping and strutting from the 25-year-old as she got the crowd in the mood for the rest of the night.

The penultimate act to grace the main stage on Saturday evening was The Script. Despite the mellow rockers trying their best to hype up the crowd, many used this time to head to the bar and stock up on as many drinks as they could carry, or stuff their face with something from one of various food vans. However the crowd did all come together to sing along to The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, whilst frontman Danny O’Donoghue took the opportunity to connect with one of his many female fans by getting hold of her phone and singing to her ex-boyfriend, ‘Am I better off dead?’

As darkness descended on the Chelmsford site, it was finally time for what most people had been waiting for. The crowd, a mixture of Single Ladies and men too, were all there waiting to see the woman they adored, and wait they did. The delay of 25 minutes consisted mostly of fans chanting ‘Beyoncé Beyoncé’, as rain started to fall on the huge crowd. Leaving some wondering whether they should be over at the 4music stage watching as one of the world’s biggest DJ’s, Steve Angello, made an awesome replacement for Beady Eye.

The former Swedish House Mafia star absolutely smashed it with an amazing laser light show alongside dropping massive hits like, Don’t You Worry Child and Save The World,to get the respectable sized crowd raving the night away.

V Festival 2013

Back at the main stage and at last the music hit. Run The World (Girls) blasted out of the speakers and the crowd went crazy as out stepped Beyoncé. Dressed in a beaded leotard and sporting a new blonde bob hairstyle, Queen Bee dazzled the masses not only with her colossal hits but with her sophisticated video interludes, leaving them in awe. With the crowd all singing along to Love On Top, Irreplaceable and Halo, Beyoncé took the opportunity to show off a number of amazing outfits which just demonstrated that she really does know how to put on a show. All this combined with her fantastic all-female band and faultless dancers left people talking about the brilliant performance well into the early hours of the morning.

Sunday morning rolled around and with the sun shining in the sky, many people emerged from their tents looking a little worse for wear after last night’s antics. This however didn’t stop the lively atmosphere and many people were quickly back on the booze, including a large group of men spending the festival dressed as women.

I started off the day at the 4music stage where Lawson quickly got the crowd going with an excellent cover of Don’t You Worry Child. I then made the long trek to the arena stage to roll back the years and have a good ole sing-song with Five. A bigger crowd than was probably expected gathered to watch the 90’s boy band relive their youth with hits Keep On Moving and Everybody Get Up.

After stopping to grab a drink and an overpriced pizza, I headed to the main stage where I caught the end of the Jason Mraz set before getting amongst the crowd for Essex’s own Olly Murs. He provided the audience with plenty of opportunities to find their dancing feet, but it seemed like most were after a more exciting sound.

Luckily this came at the 4music stage as Rudimental’s late afternoon set attracted a large and energetic audience. Songs Waiting All Night and Feel the Love got the approval of the masses as most were going for it with their drinks being sent flying.

Later the early evening mellow atmosphere was accompanied by the elegant Emeli Sandé, who graced the main stage with her delicate vocals providing the crowd with the perfect opportunity to sit and take a break from the tiring day. Beneath Your Beautiful echoed amongst the audience as many joined in with the chart hit.

Having spent a couple of hours at the main stage, I once again made the long walk to the arena stage where I watched a very enthusiastic Ellie Goulding wow the crowd with not only her excellent voice but her ability to play multiple instruments.

With night fast approaching, it was left to two huge acts to fight out for the attention of the party-goers. Calvin Harris was in charge of headlining the 4music stage whilst Kings of Leon were given the same responsibility at the main stage, I was lucky enough to catch both.

The superstar DJ attracted a huge crowd as he closed the 4music stage in spectacular fashion, with a set of immense tunes including, Drinking From The Bottle, We Found Love and new song, Under Control. Combining this with lasers and an abundance of fireworks he was able to perfectly captured the spirit of the festival.

Meanwhile at the main stage Kings of Leon were keen to prove they were back on form ahead of their new album release, and they did just that. With new single Supersoaker and with a number of festival favourites like Sex On Fire and Use Somebody they had the crowd in raptures. With everybody singing at the top of the voices to the raw and exciting sound of the American rockers, the festival came to a close for yet another year.

All in all, V Festival again did what is does best, showcasing the best chart toppers in the business,  and with its friendly vibrant atmosphere it is easy to see why the festival is so popular among a variety of age groups. The organisers yet again managed to attract some of the biggest stars in the music industry, all of whom delivered to put on one hell of a show.

So after a successful 2013, festival expectations for next year are high, and with confidence that V will deliver it will be a weekend you won’t want to be missing, I know I won’t be. 

V Festival Preview 2013

With festival season in full swing, V festival returns this weekend with its fun loving atmosphere and a line up to suit a wide range of music tastes. Headlining the festival this weekend will be superstar diva Beyonce and Grammy winning American rockers Kings Of Leon.

Kings of Leon

As well as this the festival, which takes place between August 17 -18 at Hylands Park in Chelmsford, Essex and Weston Park in Staffordshire, will include a huge number of other amazing artists including world famous DJ’s Steve Angello and Calvin Harris, who will headline the 4Music Stage across the weekend.

Other acts to look out for over the weekend include: Jessie J, Emeli Sande, The Script, Stereophonics, Rita Ora, Labrinth, Basement Jaxx, Ellie Goulding, Fun and Tom Odell.

And if you fancy a break from the music why not check out the Glee Comedy Tent where Eddie Izzard is confirmed as the headline act with other acts including Josh Widdicombe, Jon Richardson and Paul Chowdhry also performing.

The sold out festival looks set to be a massive success once again, providing spectators the opportunity to dance to some of the best DJ’s around, rock out to some quality bands and also have a good old sing song with arguably the biggest female star in the music industry.

So it is definitely a festival you will not want to miss!!  

Tennents Vital lineup get bigger with The Undertones, Naughty Boy and more added

The biggest ever Tennent’s Vital just got bigger… With one week to go until tens of thousands of music fans descend on Boucher Road Playing Fields for three days of incredible live music, Tennent’s Lager and MCD are thrilled to reveal that Northern Irish legends The Undertones, the hugely in-demand rapper/songwriter/producer sensation Naughty Boy and Dublin rockers The Minutes will complete the Tennent’s Vital 2013 line-up. Organisers have also announced that the gates will open at 4.30pm each day over 14th – 16th August.
 
The three acts announced today complete an ultra-impressive bill bursting with the hottest acts on the planet. Tennent’s Vital 2013 kicks off on Wednesday 14th August, when Kings of LeonThe Vaccines, The Undertones and The Minutes take to the stage on the opening day. Snow Patrolplay a massive homecoming show (their only European date this summer) when they headline Day 2 of the festival, which also features Jazon Mraz, Kodaline and Foy Vance, with Avicii, Tinie Tempah, Rudimental, Naughty Boy and Tommy Trash continuing the party on Day 3.
 
Avicii
 
Iconic punk/New Wave legends The Undertones are sure to receive a rapturous reception when they play Day 1 of Tennent’s Vital. The Derry band reformed in 1999 to the delight of music fans across the globe, winning over a new generation of fans with classics from their seminal back catalogue such as Teenage Kicks and Here Comes The Summer. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the release of their seminal debut single Teenage Kicks, and fans can look forward to hearing all the hits in Belfast next week.
 
After spending years penning and producing hits for the likes of Rihanna, Wiley, Professor Green and Chipmunk, Naughty Boy (aka producer Shahid Khan) deservedly emerged into the spotlight in his own right with the smash hit Wonder feat. Emeli Sandé. Its chart-topping follow-up La La La is currently dominating the charts as the tune of the summer, and has well and truly cemented his status as one of the hottest new rapper/producer stars around. Having co-written and produced Emeli Sandé’s record-breaking, million-selling Our Version of Events, the unstoppable pair team up once again on his hotly anticipated forthcoming single Lifted, with the Scottish songstress also lending vocals to his debut album Hotel Cabana, which also features a guest spot from fellow Tennent’s Vital act Tinie Tempah.
 
Dublin rockers The Minutes complete the line-up. Channelling raucous, high voltage garage rock ‘n’ roll with elements of the blues and gospel, they went down an absolute storm at Tennent’s Vital last year and will make a welcome return to Belfast this summer when they play Day 1 of the festival.
 
The countdown to the biggest ever Tennent’s Vital continues tonight at The Limelight in Belfast at the second of two official Tennent’s Vital warm-up parties. Fans can register for tickets for the warm up parties on facebook.

John Newman, Idris Elba, Naughty Boy and more added to V Festival lineup

With only 3 weeks to go until crowds of music fans descend upon its gates, V Festival 2013, sponsored by Virgin Media, announces that John Newman, Idris Elba, Naughty Boy, Seasick Steve and Lawson will join this year’s stellar line-up. V Festival takes place across two sites, on 17 &18 August and is headlined by Beyonce and Kings of Leon.

Seasick SteveBrit singer John Newman shot straight to the top of the charts earlier this month with the hit single ‘Love Me Again’, and is ready to bring some soulful vibes to crowds at both sites. He’s joined by man of the moment Idris Elba, who is taking time out from leading roles in the forthcoming blockbuster ‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’ and BBC detective series ‘Luther’ to perform at this year’s festival. The Brit, Golden Globe winning actor and critically-acclaimed musician will make a debut festival appearance bringing some hip-hop, dance grooves to crowds.

Fresh from a string of highly anticipated summer appearances, Naughty Boy will be making his way to V Festival, and Seasick Steve returns for a second time to perform his brand of blues/rock. Popsters Lawson have also been announced performing hits including their recent Top Ten smash ‘Brokenhearted’.

V Festival prides itself on the quality of artists that perform each year, aside from headliners Beyonce and Kings of Leon other incredible acts across the weekend include Stereophonics, The Script, Emeli Sandé, Calvin Harris, Beady Eye, Jessie J, Two Door Cinema Club, The Vaccines, Basement Jaxx, Olly Murs, Paloma Faith, Jesse Ware, James, Rita Ora, The Courteeners, FUN., Labrinth, Ellie Goulding, Rudimental, James Arthur, Little Mix, and Laura Mvula.

Beyonce

2013 once again sees a wide spectrum of acts playing across the stages, guaranteeing yet another year of unforgettable appearances.  The popular Glee Club Comedy Tent will also make a return this year, with side-splitting performers to be announced. There is something for everyone at V Festival.