LIVE: V Festival 2013

Just a few people. Photo: James McCauley

Just a few people. Photo: James McCauley

V Festival gets a lot of criticism. Some get all snobby about it because of its commercially orientated line-up, and thus the audience it attracts. At the end of the day though, it’s still just a load of people wanting to have a good time. OK, so there’s WiFi and the cast of TOWIE (or Hollyoaks if you go to the Stafford one) and fake tan and laughing gas (never seen so many balloons in my life) – BUT there’s LIVE MUSIC in a field and that’s what counts!


I started the day at the Arena stage with the lovely Katy B. Her music is amazing and I love her and she sounds even better with a full band. “This song goes out to anyone who’s been in a club, and the lights have come on and you’re not ready to go home yet” – still gets me every time.

By the time I’d queued for a drink, Mark Owen began his solo career, singing Take That‘s “Shine”. I won’t comment on the amount of people in the tent.

A return to that stage was necessary later in the day for a bit of DJ Fresh/LIVE. This man has taken so many emerging dance genres right to the top of the charts and always puts on a great live show. A cancellation last year put them on the 4Music stage, where they nailed a set in front of 60,000 people – it was a real shame to not see Fresh back on the big outdoor stage.

Over on the main stage Jessie J was being fierce in look and song. She went off on one of her speeches (like on The Voice) in the middle of the set, but we’ll let her off for being an Essex-ish girl, so she was getting quite emotional. Fun pop, always catchy.

She spent £1500 on Nando’s, she’s got new hair (and a baby), its Beyoncé. Let’s set a few things straight: She was late (when is a headliner on time?). There were a lot of costume changes. She was only booed before she came on (like every late act ever). It was hardly raining. She can SING. She can DANCE. She looks GOOD. She is freaking amazing to watch. That is all.


When I say one of the highlights of the line-up was late nineties boy band Five (or 5ive, er well, 4our) you might laugh in my face. Well screw you, they were awesome. Although I could only hear them and not actually see them as the Arena stage they were on was beyond full and spilling out across the park. That crowd sang along to every word.

The other (surprisingly) awesome boy band from the past would be McFly. Much more rock than you’d expect, with real guitars and drums and everything.

And the other ‘spilling out across the park’ band would be Rudimental, whose rise to the top of the charts was clearly reflected at the 4Music stage. The crowd was dense all the way up the hill and around the corner. Their high energy, feel good set came with the hottest part of the afternoon sun and it was bloody marvellous. I had ice cream and beer.

The main stage had given me mixed feelings early on the Sunday. Jason Mraz was very pleasant, but I got angry at myself for singing along to Scouting for Girls (I like a few of their tunes, but there’s just no excuse for their Greatest Hits album). The perfect sunset set came from Stereophonics who first played V in 1997! They were just a real joy to sing along to and I had pizza and beer.


We don’t have an Amplified. award ceremony, but I’ve commissioned this one off prize just for V Festival and it goes hand-in-hand with my only complaint of the whole weekend.

Someone scheduled Kings of Leon, Calvin Harris and Basement Jaxx on three different stages at THE SAME TIME. You can probably justify putting a massive rock act and a massive dance act against each other, but I WANTED TO SEE BOTH! And Basement Jaxx as well 🙁

Come on, son!

Due mostly to circumstance Calvin Harris got the honour of my presence and what a show that man puts on. A true spectacle of lights, fire, CO2, lasers and of course, music. A wonderful mix of his record breaking set of hits and the big tunes of his contemporaries. Harris builds it up and then hits you with a ridiculous drop that catches you by surprise even after an hour and a half. Get me to Ibiza, please.


V Festival remains one of my favourite weekends of the year. Get a load of friends together, go and see a few really great bands and a load of your guilty pleasures.

Early bird tickets for 2014 are on sale from the 22nd of August at ‘2013 prices’ from