Set in the beautiful, conservation status village of Tynemouth, The Mouth of Tyne Festival is set for its thirteenth annual edition. Headliners such as Elbow, Laura Marling and Tom Odell will perform at the Priory and Castle Arena, as well as other musical acts on the Sunday, and also other kinds of events at Playhouse Whitley Bay and the Surf Café as well as amazing, local craft beers.
There’s a heavy focus on art and music, particularly local and community art with hundreds of children from the area taught new skills in the weeks leading up to the event and they’ll be kicking things off with a parade. Later, ticketed live music concerts will be happening in the majestic grounds of the Tynemouth Priory and Castle – an English Heritage property. “Local street food pop-ups trade under festoon lighting whilst customers gather around shipping bobbins and on reclaimed driftwood seats” – this as well. At a nearby pub, looking over the sea, a jazz stage will fill the seaside air and a free programme of international street theatre will provide the entertainment. You can also take surf lessons on the sandy beach, or get stuck in with a spot of beach volleyball.
Here’s more from the organisers:
“There’s an innovative programme of dance and one-off attractions on the platforms of Grade II listed Tynemouth Station, as well as evening concerts at Playhouse Whitley Bay and Tynemouth’s Surf Café. As part of the festival, the 45 seater café played host to a BBC Introducing night, an intimate album performance from The Futureheads Barry Hyde and their fastest selling event ever – an acoustic night with Gomez’ Ben Ottewell – in 2016.”
Common People might be the littlest sister of UK behemoth Bestival, but it certainly packs it’s own unique punch. Held on Southampton Common (with a twin over in Oxford now too) it’s a two day hedonistic escape without the sleeping-on-a-rollmat or not-showering-for-four-days element, and as such, is an altogether pleasant affair.
Saturday sees the likes of Elvana (Elvis fronted Nirvana) doing, well… exactly what it says on the tin I suppose, and Loyle Carner whipping a tshirt around the stage and rapping hits from his debut album, to a sun-drenched and almost feverish front row made almost exclusively of ladies. Over on the Uncommon stage, local lads Fever are whipping up a storm with their classic punky rock vibes to a packed tent.
The arena itself is decorated with a well-known Josie Da Bank feel to it, silk flags flutter in the breeze and there are fairy lights, lanterns and rainbow streamers everywhere, but it’s the heart installation which simply reads ‘Manchester’ which stands out the most. After such a terrible event, it’s affirming to know that people will still make their way to a festival like this, but the increased police presence was very noticeable.
Despite the somewhat sobering feeling of walking past armed police to enter the festival, the atmosphere is free spirited and fun. The Kids area is packed with people attempting circus skills, hula hooping, bubble blowing and getting their faces painted. Hidden away in a magical little copse, it really does have that hazy secret summer feel to it, and the Jam Jar Bar is serving up delicious treats for the bigger kids. Did someone say Rhubarb Martini?
Over in The People’s Front Room, which is dressed up as a shabby-chic front room in case you were wondering… people are grooving along to funky sounds, but it’s pretty tightly packed so we’re off to check out the food options, which never disappoint at CP. Back in the dark old days of UK festivals your best hope was paying over the odds for some soggy chips and a distinctly grey looking burger, but at Common People your culinary compass can spin all around the world. From Paella to Macaroni Cheese, to thali boxes or soft shell crab burgers, there is nothing common about this menu. We can particularly recommend the brie, pear and walnut from The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Co. which was pretty flippin decadent.
Back at the main stage there are rows upon rows of screaming, glitter-bedazzled girls greeting a very dapper looking Tom Odell who is playing a roaring set from behind his giant centre-stage piano. Calling out “Southampton! Closest I’ll get to a home gig this season, back home, back in the badlands” Tom is returned with a chorus of “Marry me Tom!” from a group of young ladies who look like they might faint at any moment. One particular hardcore Odell fan has actually travelled with her father and sister from Brazil to see him here, now that is commitment!
Next up is Sister Bliss playing a Faithless DJ set in the deep evening sunshine which naturally has everyone up and dancing. ‘We Come 1’ is so heavy it rattles the panels of the helter skelter and Bliss looks right at home here in her sequinned bomber jacket.
Over to Pete Tong and The Heritage Orchestra to bang out some Ibiza classics and honestly, it is overwhelmingly amazing. Conductor Jules Buckley stands, arms spread wide in front of three tiers of orchestra and Pete Tong perched amongst the rafters at an LED lit mixing desk and they begin. It’s a strange sensation knowing these classics to be, to put it bluntly, somewhat simple musically speaking – but hearing them performed by the orchestra just brings them to a whole new level. Massive hits such as Fatboy Slim’s ‘Right Here, Right Now’ and Faithless’ ‘We Come 1’ get the full orchestral treatment but bathed in lasers and smoke. It’s strangely satisfying and retains the intensity of the original tracks. Pete also pays tribute to Manchester noting that it’s ‘on our minds’ before introducing Ella Eyre to sing ‘Good Life’ and Rudimental’s ‘Waiting All Night’ which are insanely good. Finishing up with Becky Hill on ‘You Got The Love’ has the whole crowd singing along and Pete Tong quips “We can’t pretend to go off and come back on again, there are too many of us!” as they close the show. With a mass surge out of the gates and into the town, day one of Common People is over and it’s been a blinder.
Sunday on Southampton Common seems a lot quieter, there are a smattering of people milling around for the first bands but it’s pretty sparse, at a guess some people went very hard last night and are nursing some pretty epic hangovers today.
The Novatones who come out strong and belt around the stage with their classic punk rock sound and jumping antics, it’s a great set and a shame so few people were out to see it. The Black Kat Boppers make short work of getting everyone who has made it in, up and dancing some sort of hybrid swing-come-dad-moves.
to being ‘stuck in traffic’ Nadia Rose appears to have all but missed her slot and Calum Lintott, who has just finished a set on the Uncommon Stage is hauled in to fill the time. He looks nervous as hell at first, forgets to plug in his guitar… “That’s a good start isn’t it! I did not expect to be doing this today” and waves awkwardly at his family out in the arena, but he pulls off a frankly fantastic second set anyway. Even the security guards are clapping along by the end and Calum seems pretty stoked about getting to play the main stage, ‘English Daisy’ and ‘Baby I’m Insane’ are going straight on the playlist.
Whilst Signals are mid set-up and sound check, Nadia Rose finally makes it to the main stage – albeit shoe-horned into the side with the DJ booth, accompanied by a large posse. Rocking a red bomber, with matching trainers and visible pants, as well as her signature space bun hairstyle – she is every bit the rapper celebrity the young front row have come to see. Busting out ‘Skwod’ and ‘Boom’ she has boundless energy and is absolutely fierce in her delivery, but it was maybe a little unnecessary of her to complain that “I’ve got a short set today, because I was put on late, but whatever” when it doesn’t seem like anyone was really at fault for that.
A brief but substantial downpour sees herds of people diving into bars and tents for shelter, which Amy MacDonald finds highly amusing “It seems a lot of people are scared of a little bit of rain… that’s a drizzle in Glasgow… southern softies eh?”. Standing in front of a broadway-esque red ruched curtain, the Scottish musician plays a storming set highlighted by recent hit ‘This is the Life’ but the rowdy contingent of Common People are squished side by side into the rainbow-ribboned Uncontained Stage area for Fat Man Scoop. Stalwart of the school disco, Fatman Scoop is of course playing an absolute cheese-fest of hits. Rocking lounge shorts and pool slides he leaves the decks to dance with three stunned kids who’ve been pulled from the crowd for DMX’s ‘Party Up’ but decides to get them to cover their eyes for his brief bout of topless shimmying. Good call Scoop, good call. ‘Be Faithful’ is exactly as obnoxiously loud and fun as you’d imagine, and with the appearance of Goldie, it’s just what we needed to get out of the grim weather funk.
Over on the main stage the House Gospel Choir are giving huge club hits in their distinctive style, notably a cover of Robin S’ ‘Show Me Love’, to a massive crowd. Up next British Sea Power aren’t garnering the same sort of response due to their softer, melodic sounds, but the front few rows seem to be die-hard fans who are absolutely loving them and their strange selection of stage-foliage.
Natives are shredding the Uncommon Stage with loads of people dancing and jumping around in the tent, and the bouncy castle has been dried and re-opened to hordes of terrifyingly fearless children. With a single experimental bounce and what thankfully was a minor collision with a manically grinning cannonball of a small girl, it’s time to escape to safety. Off to a less violent affair, lashings of glitter makeup from Dust & Dance and obligatory hair braiding, before heading over to see Wild Beasts. Flanked by flashing panel lights and a giant backdrop from their latest album ‘Boy King’ they have a distinct electronic rock sound that is definitely piquing some interest in the now quieter arena. I think they’re going to be the hot playlist add following the weekend, but I’m not sure they’re quite what everyone was waiting for.
Groove Armada pick it back up with a solid set of classic dance music, and I know it’s specifically listed as a DJ set but they really are holed up at the back of the stage behind a giant table. Why can’t DJ’s be at the forefront and engage with the crowd in any way other than that wistful sort of pointing into the sky reminiscent of Steve Zissou? Anyway… as they continue through the set the crowd builds and gets increasingly rowdy, during a remix of Breach’s ‘Let’s Jack’ security are rushed into the main stage pit to hold the barriers as people push against them whilst dancing.
After a couple of choice cocktails at The Day of the Dead Bar it’s down to Sean Paul to close out Common People 2017. Swaggering onstage in a dusty trenchcoat and a pair of sunglasses, Sean Paul looks every bit the nonchalant celebrity, but as ‘Get Busy’ begins it’s clear he is here to move and shake that thing as much as the crowd is. Flanked by two extremely energetic dancers, Sean Paul makes his way through a plethora of his classic hits such as ‘Baby Boy’, but it’s his version of Sia’s ‘Cheap Thrills’ that we are both wincing at, and simultaneously loving. It also then mixes into Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ and honestly It’s hard to assign one feeling to something like that. To explain, he changes the words… a lot. Enough to have no idea what’s going on except for the tune.
Calling out “We’re bringing you music from around the world tonight… we’ve got music from Jamaica, we’ve been to Australia with Sia… the UK with Ed Sheeran… who wants to go to Trinidad and Tobago with me?” we can’t help but think he’s playing the metaphor because his driver (easily spotted by being the only one at the back of the crowd sporting a full suit and tie) is looking horrified at the idea of driving anywhere other than home after this.
The crowd is getting considerably louder and wilder as the show goes on, and during ‘Temperature’ two girls are hauled over the barrier by security for having a scrap over which one can get closer to Sean Paul. It’s 50-50 on the funny/baffling ratio. Ending with a chant of “Say no no no, we ain’t going home” is fun until it’s actually time to go home and return to the real world, but at least there’s a bank holiday tomorrow to recover. Oh Common People you have once again been superb, with your eclectic mix of music, beautiful décor and incredible extra-entertainment options you are really anything but common, and you know it. Roll on 2017, and if you can’t wait that long for your fix, there’s always the larger scale Camp Bestival and Bestival to continue those CP feels.
But that’s not all, The Common Stage will see sublime dancefloor duo Groove Armada hitting the decks to provide their own inimitable brand of booty shaking brilliance with appearances from Wild Beasts, Foals (DJ set), The Selecter + The Beat, Saint Etienne, Amy MacDonald, House Gospel Choir and Lucy Leave On Saturday in Oxford, while South Park’s Sunday mainstage action will see BRITs Critics’ Choice winner 2017 Rag’n’Bone Man’s staggering vocals and gospel-powered grooves, plus music from Becky Hill, The Cuban Brothers, Elvana: Elvis Fronted Nirvana and Coldredlight.
And in Southampton, The Common Stage will see BRITs Critics’ Choice winner 2013 Tom Odell’s charismatic swagger and rave legends Faithless on the ones & twos, plus there will be appearances from Loyle Carner, Becky Hill, Stefflon Don, Seán McGowan, Kassassin Street, Elvana: Elvis Fronted Nirvana and Black Kat Boppers on Saturday. And Groove Armada, Wild Beasts, British Sea Power, Amy MacDonald, Nadia Rose, Novelist, House Gospel Choir, Signals and The Novatones will appear on Sunday.
Filling your dancing boots throughout the weekend, the Uncontained Stage will be jumping with My Nu Leng & M8s and very special guest Goldie, Novelist, Redlight, GotSome and Klose One, all stepping up to the plates to drop bombs on Saturday in Oxford and Sunday in Southampton, while hands in the air behaviour will come courtesy of Moxie presents On Loop featuring sets from Joy Orbison, Midland, Kornél Kovács, Felix Dickinson and Or:la on Saturday in Southampton and Sunday in Oxford.
Discovering new music is what gets the man like da Bank out of bed in the morning, it’s the very the lifeblood of the Bestival team! So, we’ve teamed up with fellow new music evangelist and Oxford institution Nightshift once again to showcase the best new local bands alongside some of the most exciting acts around on the Uncommon Stage, including ShaoDow, Zaia, The Balkan Wanderers, Jess Hall & Barney Morse Brown, Kanadia, Vienna Ditto, Death of Hi-Fi, Leader, Young Women's Music Project, Rhymeskeemz, The Shapes, Low Island, Desert Storm, The Epstein, Little Red, The Pink Diamond Revue, Catgod and Slate Hearts.
And continuing our long and illustrious partnership with The Joiners in Southampton we are delighted to present Beans on Toast, Black Honey, Natives, Happy Accidents, Cassava, Fever, XOCKHA, Feeble Grandpa, Scarecrow Boat, Nakamarra, Gun Shy and Deltorers.
Oxford will see universal dance adventures at The Pig’s Big Record Club Stage, hosted by the Shellac Collective 78s DJs and ensuring the party always swings, there will be a host of local DJs from Southampton and Oxford across the weekend.
With amazing music keeping your feet moving throughout the bank holiday weekend, we’ll be bringing a little taste of our legendary madness and mayhem ramping up the Bestival antics to transform Common People into an amazing festival wonderland, with plenty of our off-the-wall shenanigans including boss boogying at the Disco Shed in Oxford, and the World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle in Southampton, plus both shows will have the old-time pleasures of Vintage Funfair Rides, surprising Pop-Up Performances, brass-powered Horns of Plenty in Oxford, and Saints Brass in Southamptonwith the savoury delights of Scrumptious Street Food, decadent drinkies from Cocktail Bars, a fantastic Kids Area withthe gymnastic pageantry of Circus,Face Painting, Crazy Inflatables, and much more!
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.
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 Brew, Tim Garcia featuring Afterhours, Paddy 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.
“Make sure you pack your sun cream…it’s going to be a scorcher next weekend!”
These words did not end up ringing wholly true. In fact, this was one of the wettest, muddiest festivals I have ever experienced…and I've been to at least 20. If you are going to have your festival in the Lake District, who knows what weather you are going to get, but this was a Northern festival, with proper double-hard Northern people who were ready for anything.
…then this little guy turned up and showed us all how it was done…
We arrived early on Thursday, this being the first year to allow entry the day before the main festival. After finally getting up our beast of a tent, we caught the first half of Craig Charles’ thumping set in the Glow tent, before some Yorkshire Ska in Chai Wallah, courtesy of The Talks.
Friday started out in the real ale tent, and not even for beer (this time!), but instead to avoid the first heavy downpour of the weekend. Samba bands were a feature across the site, and kept everyone entertained until the stages started. By the early afternoon the rain had stopped, giving way to sack races and plenty of activities to keep families busy in the Ladybird Kids area. Teenagers got their dancing shoes dirty early on at the Jägermeister stage and in the House Party tent. The first big crowd of the day was for The Dub Pistols, a band who just seem to be made for festivals, getting everyone stomping those wet weather blues away.
There was disappointment for some as the next act Ella Eyre was unable to attend due to illness, but fear not…The Sunshine Underground served up an extremely last minute indie dance set that kept everyone happy while they refuelled in anticipation of De La Soul…
Unfortunately, owing to an accident on the M6, their set was cut short, but the enthusiasm they provided more than made up for it. “Me, myself and I” put lots of smiles on faces. With as many years of experience as they have they worked the crowd as you would expect.
Just enough time to grab some food. There was plenty on offer, ranging from exotic burgers (Llama; wild boar and wagyu beef) to delicious momos from the Tibetan Kitchen (my photographer is now completely hooked on these badboys).
Suede headlined Friday night and began with a quiet opener “The Next life” from their first album. They had won the crowd over by the third song “Trash”, followed by “Animal Nitrate” giving everyone a chance to sing, and Brett Anderson to strut his stuff like the mid 90’s were here again. Mid set we were given a new song “Tightrope” which the crowd were not really sure about, and their set finished with “Beautiful Ones”.They closed the main stage with an encore of “She’s in Fashion”, and a wonderful rendition of “Stay Together”.
After hours there was plenty to do with particular highlights being the Britpop set in the Tim Peaks Diner and the jazzy breaks of Mr Scruff.
As morning broke on Saturday, the site was turning to a liquid red thanks to the Cumbrian mud and morning rain. That didn’t stop large numbers of aliens, and sci-fi characters emerging from their tents to lighten up the gloom. The Glow Tent hosted a mass moonwalk to the song “Billie Jean”, as hundreds of MJ’s strutted their stuff.
Mid-afternoon, as the sun peeked out, Newton Faulkner played to a background of bubbles drifting across the field, “Teardrop”, and Justin Timberlake’s “Like I love you baby” bringing the crowds in. Athlete continued the summer vibe, and the sunglasses were out by the time Razorlight took to the stage. Sporting a lovely beard (trust me, I know about beards!) Johnny Borrell and the boys played a high energy, hit filled set.
Then, it was ALL about Madchester, with bucket hats and Lennon glasses being the necessary uniform. The Happy Mondays began with Bez informing us of his political intentions, which is either genius, or the most bonkers thing you’ve ever heard. The majority of this crowd would definitely vote for him. Shaun planned to keep it a PG performance, and entertained the crowd by never being quite sure which songs were coming next. Rowetta looked fantastic in her cowboy hat and tassels, and people were literally climbing the trees to get a good view. The sound was great and the whole arena was rocking to party classics from “Loose Fit”, to “24 Hour Party People”.
Frank Turner started his set with a smaller crowd, hampered by the rain, but that crowd grew and got to enjoy a very special headline slot. This being his third time at the festival, he’s definitely earned his Kendal stripes, and when he announced how honoured he was to play, you really knew he meant it. His band, The Sleeping Souls, threw themselves around the stage and really stepped up the volume, with stomping tunes like “Photosynthesis” getting the crowd all clapping and singing along. He dedicated his new song “Angel Islington” to all the Northerners. Despite a re-tune mid song and a broken string, nothing could faze Frank tonight!
Sunday, originally predicted to be the best day for weather, was the worst, with frequent showers turning the main arena into a mud bath. Children and adults kept their spirits up by sliding down the hillside, and one of the great moments of the weekend was the chap in neon and a flat cap, cruising round a pool of mud in his electric wheelchair, chasing people. The Lancashire Hotpots played at lunchtime and won the award for most costume changes, and as they said, it was like a Lady Gaga gig! Conga lines, beach balls and songs including “We Love the North”, and “Chippy tea”, were just what was needed to keep everyone from flagging.
Reel Big Fish were the afternoon high point, Masters of styles they gave us the Ska Punk we all expected, but also a touch of Disco, and even a bit of Square-dancing. With choreographed kicks they finished with “Take on Me”, and as the dancing increased, the mud was flying. Tom Odell didn’t go in for quite the same level of onstage action, but instead let his music do the talking. It only took him to point to the girls at the front to get them all screaming, as he hammered away at the piano. A new song “Jealousy” from his upcoming album was particularly well received.
Miles Kane was taking no prisoners with a straight up rock and roll show. Dressed in a psychedelic shirt, his strutted around owing the stage, scissor kicking as he went. By the time he played “Don’t Forget Who You Are”, he had the audience joining in from the front to all the way up the hill.
The final act on the main stage was Example, the biggest crowd of the weekend, and everyone wanted to be at the front. The sound from the stage was massive, with filthy bass lines shaking the sodden ground. Dressed in black he electrified the entire field, with lasers and a completely awesome neon drum kit. “One more day (Stay with me)” “Changed the way you kiss me” and “Kickstarts” were by far the biggest sing-a-longs of the weekend. As the set finished with air cannons and ticker tape, the epic firework display was a worthy end to a sometimes challenging but ultimately celebratory weekend.
After the main events, we headed back to Tim Peaks Diner for some energetic table dancing and a storming funk and soul set from Tim Burgess. Just time to pop back to the real ale tent, this time for a well-deserved pint, we’d all survived!
Words by Reuben Crowther Photographs by Andy Sawyer
This unique festival now in it’s 14th year is an established event on the Wakeboarding circuit with contenders travelling from around the world to compete in the pretty tourist village of Abersoc, a haven for the sailing and surfing community on the North Wales coastline. Growing in popularity over the years and attracting a youthful and increasingly diverse crowd of stylish music lovers, the festival now encompasses some of the best new music talent from the UK and beyond with an exciting mix of stars from the indie, folk and electronic club scenes.
This year WAKESTOCK GŴYL Y MOR (Festival of the sea) 2014 will hit the shores of Cardigan Bay from the 11th – 13th July, with a thrilling line up of festival headliners; TOM ODELL, FRANK TURNER & THE SLEEPING SOULS and JOHN NEWMAN.
The partying crowds will also enjoy not only the best of British music, but a bounty of great comedy, poetry, arts and hospitality with a range of food and drink from across Wales. This year guests can also look forward to a daytime programme filled with entertainment and activities for the whole family including workshops, amazing art installations, a fantastic fairground and a celebration of Welsh music, art and culture.
The festival takes place over three different sites in close proximity. The music festival site is set in a stunning location with camping, glamping and Tipees available, whilst the pretty Pwllheli Marina and heavenly Abersoch Beach play host to the Wakeboarding and Watersports activities.
Festival Organiser Stuart Galbraith says;
‘’Wakestock is 14 years old this year and we’re super proud of its history and the various line-ups we have brought to North Wales. We’ve been busy thinking of ways to evolve the festival this year and so alongside our usual star names from the world of music and fantastic sporting action we have also decided we want to widen our reach and encourage the whole of the Llyn Peninsula to take ownership of the event and get involved. Our first step is the addition of Gŵyl y Mor to the top line festival name as a celebration of our unique geography on one of Wales’s most beautiful coastlines. We’ve got fresh new artwork and we have lots of exciting plans in the pipeline so keep checking our website and social media for news and more. On a wider note Wakestock Gŵyl y Mor is not just the Llyn Peninsula’s festival but a festival for the whole of North Wales to enjoy. We can’t wait for the summer already’’
FRIDAY NIGHT HEADLINER: TOM ODELL Last year Tom’s critically acclaimed debut number 1 album, Long Way Down went gold, he won the BRITs Critics' Choice Award in early 2013, with two Brit award nominations for the Best British Breakthrough Act and Best British Male Solo Artist.
SATURDAY NIGHT HEADLINER: FRANK TURNER, the former punk rock front man, who started out in the dirtiest, smallest clubs, relentlessly touring, is now filling arenas following the success of ‘Tape Deck Heart’, his album release late last year… which captured not just the mood of a generation, but the moods of at least three generations with his emotive, heart on sleeve lyrics and devil may care approach to love, loss and waking up still at the party from the night before.
SUNDAY NIGHT HEADLINER: JOHN NEWMAN is high on a wave of euphoria himself right with two No 1 singles, a number 1 album, collaborations with fellow chart toppers Rudimental and two Brit awards nominations. His sound blends the raw feel of Sixties soul with the thick pulse of modern pop and the energy of piano-driven house music.
Clean Bandit, Duke Dumont, Razorlight, Gorgon City and Frightened Rabbit will also be performing on the main stages across the three, day event with more great acts and some very special guests still to be announced.
Musical icons Suede, rock heroes Fall Out Boy, chart topper Katy B and BRIT Award nominee Tom Odell. Plus Brit Award winner with Rudimental Ella Eyre, The Pretty Reckless, Anna Calvi, Starsailor, Boy George, The Struts, Alison Moyet, Amber Run, Inspiral Carpets and The Doors Alive all join this years Isle of Wight Festival lineup.
These exceptional artists will be appearing alongside the award winning rock trio Biffy Clyro who headline the Main Stage with an English Festival exclusive on Friday 13th June, ahead of Calvin Harris who closes the night. On Saturday 14th June, the legendaryRed Hot Chili Peppers bring a UK & Ireland exclusive performance to the Main Stage and this will be their ONLY UK show! Tennessee four piece Kings of Leon then make a much-anticipated Festival exclusive return to the Main Stage on Sunday 15th June rounding off another unmissable Isle of Wight Festival.
Tom Odell said: “When I was a bit younger, I used to climb up on the hill near to where I grew up and stare at the Isle of Wight. I remember knowing that a grand music festival was held on the island every year, and I dreamed at some point I would be there, playing. That day has come and I am thrilled."
John Giddings, the Festival’s promoter said:“It just gets better and better. We are honoured that these incredible artists are coming to our Festival to kick off the summer festival season in style.”
With an impressive collection of hits to their name, the iconic band, Suede now bring a very special live performance to the Festival. Multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated Chicago rockers Fall Out Boy are making their debut appearance on the Main Stage. Having just secured her first number 1 album, Katy B knows how to get the crowd on their feet so don’t miss her special performance in the Big Top. Next up, making his Isle of Wight Festival debut is the incredible Tom Odell, plus a welcome return from Starsailor, who are back for an exciting show at the Festival this summer.
Also appearing will be The Pretty Reckless, featuring Taylor Momsen, star of hit TV show Gossip Girl. What’s more we’ll have performances from the talented Alison Moyet and singer songwriter Ella Eyre, whose collaboration with Rudimental scoped the top of the charts last year. Across the weekend festivalgoers will be treated to sets from the iconic Boy George, unstoppable rock & roll quartetThe Struts and the critically acclaimed Anna Calvi. And if that wasn’t enough, hot newcomers Amber Run, much loved Manchester band Inspiral Carpets and tribute band The Doors Alive will all be there… Roll on June!
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Kings of Leon – Biffy Clyro – Calvin Harris
Alison Moyet – Anna Calvi – Amber Run – Boy George – Chlöe Howl
Clean Bandit – Dappy – Deap Vally – Duke Dumont – Ella Eyre – Fall Out Boy
From The Jam – Gorgon City – Inspiral Carpets – John Newman
July Talk – Katy B – Lawson – Neon Jungle – Nina Nesbitt
Passenger – Peace – Rudimental – Starsailor – Suede – Swim Deep – The 1975
The Doors Alive – The Horrors – The Move – The Polyphonic Spree
The Pretty Reckless – The Selecter – The Specials
The Struts – The Strypes – The Vamps – The Waterboys
An overnight wash out and soggy campsites do nothing to calm the excitement of the campsites, particularly not the shock-and-awe naked guy who leapt into our front garden (code for hangout area in between tents) yelling loudly that he wanted everyone to join him in being “Tattooed and handsome”, but the sun is peeking out here and there as the dressed up masses head towards the main arena. Walking around, it’s clear to see the rain hasn’t dampened the British love for dressing up, as mer-men, sailors, jellyfish and sharks roam freely. We asked one enterprising soul if her freezer was now full of fish fingers, as she’d fashioned a costume from Birdseye boxes, she replied “Yeah, we’ll be eating them all winter…”.
2013 debut album smash-hitters Bastille turn out in style dressed as members of Team Zissou and play all the favourites to a packed out arena. ‘Bad Blood’ and ‘Icarus’ go down a storm but it’s ‘Flaws’ that really packs a punch and a cover of ‘Rhythm of the Night’ is weird but kind of brilliant at the same time. Ending with ‘Pompeii’ Bastille do themselves justice, with the whole crowd singing along.
Following Bastille is A-Yo featuring Mark Ronson Vs. Zane Lowe with a Bestival party-mix, and over on the big hill, the Bandstand is playing host to the Zee Guveya Heritage Band. Getting up for ‘The Pizza Dance’ whilst a cardboard Viking longship (with a Viking hoarde aboard) sails/walks past is extremely bizarre, but sipping our Bestivale’s and sampling the amazing food on offer provides a little Bestival downtime. We munch our way through fresh grilled corn on the cob and the most delicious lobster and chips (which were caught just round the corner in Ventnor apparently) before dragging ourselves to the peak of the hill for a look across the site. The magnificent scale of Bestival is only surpassed by it’s colour, from the tents to the arena areas, the flags and the works of art – Bestival really is a beautiful place.
At the top of the hill is the secret hideaway for lost souls known as The Solace Tent. The interior is all leather chairs and wicker sofas, comfy cushions and tables you can write messages on – enough of a sanctuary in it’s own right, but the lovely bods there will give weary travellers a cup of something hot and a tasty bit of cake (baked by IOW churches)… for free! Re-energised by the Solace saints, a trip to tiny town is a giggle – the kid sized village which you can take amusing photographs in, before heading back down the hill via a rummage in the second hand tents (nanna-knits everywhere) and a few cheeky tasters at the Crabbies bus.
On the main stage, Rudimental are showing off their status with an absolutely packed arena, busting out big hit ‘Right Here’ accented by a weird burst of what tasted like flavoured smoke (?!) before a cover of Fugees’ ‘Ready or Not’ and closing with the huge ‘Feel The Love’, with everyone pogo-ing like mad. Next up are Glaswegian punk-pop rockers Franz Ferdinand with a blast of hits starting with ‘No You Girls’. ‘Do You Want To’ is only slightly marred by the enormous downpour that drops in, but as the skies clear, the boys of FF bring it home with ‘Take Me Out’. They might be accused of being a bit samey sometimes, with jarring chords over marching-band beats, but they do what they say on the tin, and perform well. It’s probably a shame for them that they’re playing right before their practical antithesis – Snoop Dogg.
With giant red, yellow and green Rasta banners and posters of his own face – it was inevitable that Snoop Dogg would roll out with as much swagger and self-confidence as he displays on screen. Rocking a leather jacket and Adidas sweatpants, The Doggfather churns out hits ‘PIMP’, ‘Gin and Juice’ and Katy Perry cover ‘California Gurls’ featuring the dancing skills of some scantily dressed ladies giving him a lapdance. ‘Next Episode’ and ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ prove Snoop to be a great showman, and he finishes Saturday night on a high (probably quite literally in his case). See the full headline review for more details!
Sunday is a soggy morning too, but everyone seems determined to go full out for the last day of this truly special festival, so it’s on to do a bit of dancing with Bestival mascots The Cuban Brothers. With quite a lot of swearing, manly gyrating and costumes that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination (fringed, metallic lycra jumpsuits to be precise) they’re probably not the act to take your kids to, but damn are they good fun. Guest vocalist Mica Paris belts out ‘So Sweet’ which is from the new Cubans album ‘Yo Bonita’ (which we later got signed by Miguel and Kengo-San over at the Sunday Best tent) and breakdancing skills are busted out by Archerio, Kengo and newbie ‘One-Erection’. Miguel gets suitably excited about all the dancing (after having a broken foot and not being able to participate last year), takes off his white captain’s pants and thrusts the mic-stand like a pro. After telling a story about their times at Bestival… “We were in the woods eating philosopher’s stone mushrooms and we were lost… we were so cold we had to set our socks on fire to keep warm” and stuffing the mic into his spangly undercrackers, it’s time to say goodbye to the crazy Cubanos for another year.
Next up, Tom Odell croons his way into the ladies hearts with his soulful piano laden music, but it is a bit of a comedown after the hype created by The Cuban Brothers, but everyone warms up again for Chic feat. Nile Rodgers and a bit of boogying on down.
Disasterously scheduled at the same time as the Sunday headliner – Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip’s Swamp Shack appearance has nevertheless garnered a pretty massive crowd around the strange run down house style stage, and as the smoke billows from the beat-up cars that set the scene, the duo drop right into classic ‘Beat That My Heart Skipped’, sending fans wild. Calling out “I’m all adrenaliney, I’m all shaky” Dan busts out the beat for ‘Sick Tonight’ and Pip launches into it with power, swinging on the (actually quite fragile) porch of the shack. After being handed two curly wurlys by some odd gentleman in the front row, Dan and Pip give us a tasty treat back in the form of new tracks ‘Stunner’ and ‘Gold Teeth (feat Flux Pavillion)’, the latter played for the very first time ever. Taking on a darker side the songs have everyone getting rowdy with Pip swishing water off the Shack’s decking to the beat.
Heading over to join the biggest crowd of the weekend at the main stage, Rock Royalty, Sir Elton John is giving us a tour through his vast collection of hits, wearing a trademark sparkly jacket. Elton’s packed set includes ‘Candle In The Wind’, ‘Crocodile Rock’ and ‘Rocket Man’, with the crowd singing along to closing ‘Your Song’ (See the full review for more details!). As the stage goes dark, Bestival’s closing ceremony commences, with an even bigger firework display than last year, a giant circular 10 being set alight and ticker tape explosions from the stage. Way to go out with a bang.
As usual, it doesn’t end there – Knife Party are playing at The Port and Easy Rider is on in The Amphitheatre… the night is young at Bestival, and we intend to make the most of it before we have to leave it behind for another year, but it’s safe to say that Rob and co. went all out this year, it truly has been a spectacular celebration and we would like to doff our captain’s caps and say HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY BESTIVAL!
Photos by James Bridle for the Summer Festival Guide
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.
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, JonRichardson 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!!