The Big Chill, Eastnor Castle, Ledbury
Tuesday 09 August 2011
The Big Chill may not be one of the largest festivals in the UK, but this year it attracted an impressive array of talent. Electro, pop, hip-hop, dance and rock were all represented, from Wild Beasts to 2ManyDJs.
Inevitably though, one man created the most conversation. Before, during and after his Saturday-night set, everyone was talking about Kanye West. His headline show began half an hour late, as he battled a throat problem which partially restricted his vocals and for which he apologised on several occasions. But what West was missing in vocal range, he more than made up for in bombast and spectacle. Initial boos – prompted by a belief that his lateness on stage was the act of a diva – vanished during tracks like "Jesus Walks" and "Good Life", the former pounding with the kind of raw energy which propelled the Chicago rapper to worldwide acclaim. West threw himself around the stage with an infectious, tireless energy.
Yet it wouldn't be a Kanye West show without a little controversy. After a brilliant "Monster", he went into an unnecessarily long story about collecting an award, his well-documented self-obsession getting the better of him and prompting some warranted criticism from sections of the crowd. When the music returned, however, such irritation was vaporised as West fired off a series of hits revealing the devastating talent behind the drama and a back catalogue any artist would kill for.
While West's colossal set prompted the longest discussions, other acts created their own buzz. Janelle Monáe lit up Saturday afternoon with a sensational performance which appealed to everyone without compromising her soulful roots, and Ghostpoet's jaw-dropping, intimate set ensured that his star will continue to rise.
The Chemical Brothers' terrific Friday night show was an irrepressible sensory assault, while The Bullitts' oddly beguiling gig, featuring Idris Elba and Lucy Liu as guests, was a totally original blend of rap, funk, performance art and post-rock, unlike anything else.
But as you gazed across the numerous empty patches of land dotted across the festival site, even in a year when such a host of talent was on show, you had to wonder, somewhat forlornly, about the future of the Big Chill.
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Sussex couple die in suspected Christmas Day 'suicide pact'
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
Doctor Who Christmas special, review: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
The Interview film review: Controversial gross-out satire is broad, bawdy and bad - but undeniably entertaining
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'