Daily Mirror ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Sun “…a weekend party like no other”
The countdown is well and truly on for Wales’ biggest family festival as ‘In It Together’ announce their headline acts for 2024. Set to make for an unforgettable weekend – Sugababes, Rag’n’Bone Man andDizzee Rascal have today been unveiled as the headliners for the festival, which returns to Margam in South Wales next May.
Sugababes are one of the most successful British girl bands of the 21st century, scoring 6 UK number 1 singles, millions of global sales, and multiple multi-platinum albums. Joining them on the bill is 3 time Brit Award winner Rag’n’Bone Man, whose 4x platinum selling 2017 debut album ‘Human’ became the fastest selling debut album by a male artist of the decade.
Also announced today – Cat Burns,Eliza Rose,Craig David’s TS5,James Morrison, Diversity, Joel Corry, Eats Everything, and Sigma are joining a stellar line-up of international stars includingRazorlight, Sam Ryder, Billy Ocean, Blue, Scouting for Girls, Sister Sledge and Gruff Rhys.
With budgets in mind, and cementing their status as the biggest family-friendly festival in Wales, In It Together are also launching their ‘Kids Go Free’ campaign – where children can now attend the festival for free as part of a family ticket. This means access to 150 artists playing over the weekend – plus over 100 free family activities included at no extra charge.
Among the activities are the Climbing Wall, Tic Tac Skate School, Outdoor Cinema, Sports Academy, Science School and Junior Jungle all making a welcome return. Joining them for 2024 will be an Extreme Sports Arena with BMX, Parkour and Volt Stunt Shows and Workshops, Live Wrestling, a designated Baby and Toddler tent and brand new Street Food Village. So, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or fancy yourself as the foodie of the family – there is sure to be something to satisfy your cravings.
Another returning fan favourite is Steelworks which will be bigger than ever in 2024. The stage will showcase the best world music – everything from Reggae, Funk, Soul, Afrobeat to Dub and more. On Sunday the stage will be hosted by crowd favourites ChaiWallahs.
The festival’s iconic dance tent Panchaia will once again see the worlds of House, Techno and Drum n Bass collide in 2024. Elsewhere on site, the popular Rewind arena is back after an epic 2023 debut, playing the very best of 90’s and 00’s anthems. Garage Nation, Noughty 90s and Judgement will all host over the weekend.
As well as welcoming some of the biggest international names to the Welsh Valleys, the festival will once again be a proud supporter of upcoming local talent – with the Padlock Stage hosting over 30 Welsh artists, showcasing the country’s finest exports.
Speaking about this year’s festival Mark Hopkins, Head of Festivals said: ‘‘After much hard work behind the scenes, we’re thrilled to finally be able to announce Sugababes, Rag’n’Bone Man and Dizzee Rascal as the headline acts for 2024. “
Earlier this year the family-friendly weekender well and truly cemented its status as the number 1 festival in Wales, with headliners The Kooks, Anne-Marie and James playing to sold out crowds under the glorious May sunshine. A remarkable achievement for a festival which only made its debut in 2022.
Tickets for In It Together 2024 will be available from 10am on the Monday 27th November– register atwww.inittogetherfestival.com. Prices start from £159 for a weekend ticket or £319 for family tickets (2 adults with 2 kids going free). Secure your ticket for a £20 deposit and pay nothing more until after Christmas.
Back to Hyde Park again this sunny Saturday for some true British treasure in the form of Take That – the band that broke the nation’s heart when they broke up, and then came back as the ultimate zaddies of pop to woo all the mums again.
Before we all get too hot under the collar, Will Young is giving everyone at the main stage a huge wholesome hug. Not my usual fayre by any means but his voice is excellent, the vibes are funky, and I really like his frilly shirt and braces. Though he’s battled through extreme anxiety and more than his fair share of difficult times, Will is possibly one of the nicest men in pop music today. It’s hard not to smile through this performance, particularly when he goes over to hug the Great Oak stage tree, and then says “Hope you’re all hydrating yourselves, it’s hot today!”. Yes Will Young, I will do as you say because I think you’re darling.
Doors cover ‘Light My Fire’ has the whole arena singing along (and I must say it’s a very respectable crowd for this time of day) but ‘Leave Right Now’ and ‘Evergreen’ are the hits everyone came for, and he delivers.
Over on the Cuban Garage stage we witness the joyful beats of South London Samba, and some frankly incredible rainbow feathered moves from the carnival dancers (two of whom can jump drop into a split, amazing) before we grab some much needed dinner. There are a ridiculous amount of options here for a festival this size, but we try out a Buffalo chicken bowl (way spicier than I’d anticipated) and some ginger tofu Bao (faaaancy) – both great.
Sugababes hit the main stage with a set that surprised me, for the simple reason that I had no idea I knew *that* many of their songs. Starting strong with Adina Howard cover ‘Freak Like Me’ they come out looking every bit the pop princesses they always did, and are absolutely owning the stage for ‘Red Dress’. ‘Hole in the Head’ is fantastic, but if you’re a certain kind of person – even hearing the intro to ‘Too Lost In You’ will both make you think of Christmas AND make you irrationally angry… if you know you know.
“It’s an absolute honour to be here! Look at the weather, the sun is coming out!” they yell, before hitting us with classic trio ‘Push The Button’, ‘Round Round’ and ‘About You Now’. It’s a very clean and precise set, I think I’d like to see them loosen up a little but musically – it’s great, and I appreciate their long battle to reclaim their name and their lost music, to get here.
Ireland’s The Script are fun, and there’s a nice roundness to the fact that they used to tour with Take That back in the day too, but I can’t get by the cringeworthy bit that took a full ten minutes out of their set time to orchestrate. “I wanna call someone’s ex! Who right now is crazy enough to give me their phone?” yells frontman Danny O’Donoghue before grabbing one passed up by security. He proceeds to phone someone’s unsuspecting ex-boyfriend, tells them who he is and lets the crowd scream at them before singing ‘Before The Worst’ at him. Following the serenade, he has the whole arena yell “Goodbye Asshole” at the phone, which is just… not that funny and kinda gauche. ‘If You Could See Me Now’ is dedicated to the memory of their guitarist Mark Sheehan, it’s a great song, but they’ve kinda lost me with the stunt if I’m honest.
Heading into the final event, the arena has now swelled with people to the point of bursting. The toilet queues are out of control and stretch halfway around the arena, the bars are all loaded and the merch stalls are still going strong. We catch The Cuban Brothers doing another brilliant set on the Cuban Garage stage, but when heading over to grab a tshirt we find that the BST have racked the price up by a tenner since yesterday. Price gouging isn’t a good look for an event – especially when The Cubans themselves just said the tees were £20 on stage and would be when they hit the online shop. Not cool.
Heading down to the Golden Circle area to find a good place to watch Take That, we are immediately pulled into the throng alongside an excited lady wielding a giant face cut out of Gary Barlow (a little disconcerting) and we can see another woman in a Take That patch jacket down the front. This particular person was spotted last night, camping out in Hyde Park ready to be right there today, the dedication is on point.
As intros go, this one is pretty epic. A hoarde of dancers enter the stage seemingly from everywhere, and set themselves up all over the giant lighted staircase that runs from the backdrop right down to the main floor, in front of which a giant runway ending in a second smaller stage area has been set. The band emerge to ear-bleeding levels of frenetic fan screams all around us. The cacophony of the mums knows no bounds. Include me in that, because I cannot get enough of their fashion ensembles tonight. Howard is wearing something that I can only describe as… Newscaster-school-football-kit-in-the-seventies. It is ochre, striped and flared, and I want it. Gary has decided to come as Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty, and Mark is… well Mark is wearing an ostrich. A whole one.
There might only be three of them now (no sign of Robbie despite him also being on tour… boooo) but right out of the gates ‘The Flood’ sounds absolutely brilliant, seems like they’re going to be on top form tonight. Yelling “Good evening Hyde Paaaaaark!” the trio head down the long runway to the middle of the pulsing crowd, “…this is gonna be an amazing night tonight, we want you to sing along and dance along!” and huge blasts of ticker-tape confetti erupt from around them as fireworks go off along the front of the stage. It’s pretty clear they’ve come here to party and I’m instantly all-in.
‘Could It Be Magic’ brings glittery screens and their OG boyband dance moves, and I am shooketh to my core as I myself (ten years their junior) have injured myself getting out of bed, why only this morning. Special guest Calum Scott of Britain’s Got Talent fame, joins the band for ‘Greatest Day’ as he had been part of the reworked song for their film which was released last month, before taking the stage to himself for his cover of Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’.
BeeGees cover ‘How Deep is Your Love’ and ‘A Million Love Songs’ are the catalyst for a whole lot of overwhelmed fangirl sobbing, and my sister who had nipped to the loos at an opportune moment belted back to us to sing “AND HERE I AAAAAAM” in our faces. ‘Shine’ heralds a delightful outfit change, including a fancy white top-hat (which is later thrown out into the crowd, what an excellent bit of memorabilia for some lucky person) for Mark, a green velvet biker jacket for Gary (I would also like to own this) and a tux jacket with golden-winged lapels for Howard. They are taking this photo opportunity very seriously and I love it. Despite the air of professionalism, they joke “We might miss a few of our cues tonight, the runway is way longer than we thought… it takes ages to get back up there” and then mention how appreciative they are of everyone coming back to gigs after some weird years during the pandemic.
Stopping for a quick break to read some of the signs being held up in the front rows, we are treated to the truest representation of the British wit… “This song is older than us” Gary reads as two kids scream holding the sign, and another “I think of you when I shag my husband” with (presumably) the husband standing alongside the woman laughing. “I left my husband in hospital to be here” has the entire crowd in agreement on the state of her morals, but the best one by far was “Today is MY Greatest Day – I made it! F U Cancer!”. Having an arena full of thousands of people cheer you on and celebrate with you must be phenomenal in itself, but when the band dedicate the next song to Laura, holder of the sign, she looks absolutely beside herself with joy. It’s a lovely heartfelt moment.
Telling everyone this is the “Song that brought us back”, we are treated to a little acoustic guitar for ‘Patience’ before a huge singalong for ‘Pray’ and the most incredible original video dance moves, an absolute highlight. ‘Back For Good’ is also brilliant, and I can’t help but dance to Sigma cover ‘Cry’ under an obscene amount of ticker-tape spewing into the air above us.
Another quick outfit change into the most ridiculous giant white furry coats and it’s time for ‘Relight My Fire’ with the actual for-real LuLu, who is sporting some excellent sparkly flared trousers. ‘Hold Up A Light’ sees the crowd holding up phone torches across the arena, but ‘Never Forget’ is the true epitome of Take That-ness and every single person has their hands up for it. “You know the choreography, join in!” hardly needs to be said because we are all totally invested at this point of the proceedings.
Going out in style with ‘Rule The World’ leaves me in no doubt that Take That are making yet another triumphant return, following their performance at the Corrie-Nache earlier this year. Looking over to see my sister and her sister-in-law doing a little cry and singing along, I reckon they’ve gained another confirmed fan in me tonight, it was a bloody brilliant show, so Take That.