I've always wanted to go to a festival where you had to camp just to experience it. In previous years, the line-ups of various festivals have been a tad disappointing to me and not enticing enough to make me sell an arm, leg or vital organ to get a ticket. Enter V Fest's line up for Summer 2016. I looked at the line-up and thought it had a good mix of people I'd really want to see and those I wouldn't mind hearing in the background as I lay on a field catching some rays (hopefully the British Summer would not be selling dreams). Off the back of his very successful album Purpose, it seemed that Justin Bieber was now cool enough to headline a festival as it is now semi-okay to admit you're a fan. Having already seen Rihanna at Hackney Weekend 4 years ago (and being somewhat pleasantly surprised that her vocals held), I thought it would be a vibe to see her again. After roping one of my friends in to selling an organ too, I was set. This was all in February 2016. Fast-forward 6 months of planning in dribs and drabs, V Festival arrived and actually snuck up on me to be honest. After picking up a few last minute survival supplies for the weekend ahead, it was time to head down.
We arrived on the Friday Night lugging our items from the car to the campsite. With a few hiccups along the way, we managed to pitch our 5-man tent with the help from some friendly neighbours (this is the only time not doing D of E came to somewhat haunt me, meh). With all that done, it was time to go and explore the Friday night line up.
Luckily our campsite was not too far away from the various stages. There were 4 music stages plus 1 comedy tent. Throughout the weekend, we spent our time split between the MTV STAGE and The MAIN STAGE aka The Virgin Media Stage. On this night, we caught the final moments of Eric Prydz. Yes, "Call On Me" Eric Prydz. He definitely got the party started and set the tone for the weekend aka my fave phrase: vibes. Even on the Friday night, it was overwhelming to see how many people there were milling around. Antics to be had. After Eric we had a little look around and realised how big the whole site was.
Rise and shine early at 6am on Saturday. We decided to go for a stroll around the campsite (shout out to snapchat for allowing us all to document moments that truly don't need documenting). With some rest and fuelled with some bangin' bagels, it was time to explore the music. As you walk in to the music area, you walk past the MTV Stage. We managed to catch some MNEK who did Never Forget You (but without Zara Larsson which is weird, seeing as she was set to be performing on the same stage as him later on....). It's funny, this weekend was filled with hearing the some songs twice: Never Forget You (MNEK and Zara Larsson), Titanium (Sia and David Guetta) and Diamonds (Sia again and Rihanna). Collaboration seems to be a major key.
MIKE POSNER, Main Stage - We sat down on the grass and just listened to Mike play some tunes while we relaxed in the intermittent sunshine. He did Cooler Than Me although, less raspy than on the recording. And the original, acoustic version of I Took A Pill In Ibiza. There was also the first of a few emotional moments for artists at V. He took a moment to have a little monologue basically about the resurgence in his career/relevance since the remix for ITAPIB blew up earlier this year. I guess it is a huge thing to happen as it was an unexpected hit. I'd just like to add that the true key to success in being an artist is remaining relevant at most if not, all times or else people forget and move on, yo. I guess Mike learned the hard way.
STORMZY, Main Stage - Let's just say, he kept things #merky performing an assortment of bangers plus premiering a new song. His energy was contagious. Meanwhile, how he managed to keep it going wearing an Adidas Jumper in the sun, I will never know. After this, came a more commercial act in the form of Jess Glynne. I felt like there was a time a while back where I could not turn on the radio without hearing her voice; she was inescapable. She has a great voice don't get me wrong but it's not everyday Jess Glynne you know? Her songs are catchy and what not but for me, her performance lacked personality.
In contrast, the next act on the MAIN STAGE: BASTILLE were a nice surprise for me. Going in to V, the only song I really knew was Pompeii which is a really well crafted song; from the harmonies to the percussion. I has head boppin' (a sign of my approval - they've definitely gained a new fan). When the opening of Pompeii began, the energy of the crowd became palpable as it reached an even greater peak.
SIA's voice live is as phenomenal live as it is on the studio recording. I do think she wasn't really suited to a festival like V where people are looking for a more up-beat artist/act to bop to but bringing Maddie Ziegler out appeased the audience enough to vibe with her. Side-note: how long can Sia keep the whole "I'm going to hide my face so no one knows what I look like" (even though one quick google search reveals it all), find out next time on #WFAInvestigates.
Last on to perform was the Instagram-deleting, main man himself: JB. I fully enjoyed Justin's performance, he played all this well known tracks as well as some from Purpose. The highlights were definitely hearing Baby & Sorry - his two biggest songs. He did admit that he was hungover but as his performance was already very good, I'd like to see what he'd be like had he not been. I also think his performance was marred by the negative media reviews of him allegedly miming. All I know is, I didn't think he was and had myself a good time so I guess that's all that matters. (pun intended or nah? you decide)
And with that, it was the end of DAY ONE at V. Keep your eyes peeled for Part II.