V Festival, Hylands Park, Chelmsford

 

If you are expecting a deep and meaningful experience from a music festival like glastonbury or Green Man, you’re not going to find it at V.

Existing over two locations, musicians play one day in Staffordshire and one day in Chelmsford for the same pop experience whether you live North or south.

Though the line-up was mainly pop, there were some surprises and The Proclaimers delighted the crowds with “(I’m gonna Be) 500 Miles” and The Charlatans replaced Dappy on Saturday’s 4Music stage.

Tim Burgess’s blond mop and indie swag got the crowd in the mood for the Nineties’ lineup with shows from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The stone Roses, Shed Seven and Dodgy among all the pop.

Providing the big Oasis hits, Gallagher brought the goods, dedicating “Supersonic” to the Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah and ending the sweltering show with a sing-along to “don’t Look Back in Anger”, raising the bar for The stone Roses.

As The stone Roses played their first big southern gig of their reunion tour, 50,000 people gathered to see if they had really, triumphantly returned. The band played with a tight veracity. The raw passion of the drummer, Reni, was the heart and northern soul of the performance that kept Ian Brown – who was surprisingly in tune for each track – in check.

Though a speaker blew during “This is the One”, it only added to the unpredictability of the live show and “I am the Resurrection” was the euphoric anthem that ignited that warm collective spirit.

Sunday brought Essex boy Olly Murs back home to sing his slushy reggae-inspired pop with “Heart skips a Beat” and “Dance With Me Tonight”.

As word spread that Nicki Minaj had cancelled, there was a fear that funtime party outfit LMFAO and The Killers had also cancelled.

Thankfully, all rumours were unfounded: Sunday night’s big end came with cheering, dancing and singing to tracks like “Mr Brightside”. Brandon Flowers was a great frontman, providing the passion and the fun while not afraid of showing V his reflective side, singing emotionally “and my heart it don’t beat, it don’t beat the way it used to” on “For Reasons unknown”, and ending on “ When We Were young”.

While V is the most corporate and organised of the festivals, it remains fun. But be prepared to leave your inhibitions and eclectic music tastes at the gate.

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