This weekend was V Festival, the dual-sited pop/rock hybrid festival. Boasting an impressive set of headliners, but otherwise a rather average line up, my friends and I decided to attend on Sunday at the Weston Park site as the day seemed stronger. I have a real fondness for V festival, mainly due to the fact I lost my festival virginity there (how apt). A week after my 18th birthday, I’d just left college, got into university and I was then exposed to the wonderment of festivals and it has got me hooked ever since.
Stepping back into the site two years later, little has changed. The familiar blue tent of the arena stage stands proudly at the entrance whilst in the distance you can see the warm lights of the main stage flickering in the sunshine. I will admit it felt really nice to be back, surrounded by good friends and anticipating a day of great live music. We saw a variety of acts which included the graceful Paloma Faith perform a career defining set on the main stage to an incredibly large crowd. The folky tones of Lissie suited the afternoon sunshine brilliantly, as did the stomping Of Monsters and Men who announced V was to be their last festival performance of the summer. You felt their energy and passion to leave on an almighty high.
Despite a great calibre of artists and performances, the crowd that V Festival had drawn in slightly detracted the care free atmosphere that is synonymous with festivals. Imagine Gatecrasher on a Friday evening, placed in a field in Staffordshire on a Sunday afternoon. There were a large amount of ‘lads’ who only really seemed to care about where their next drink was coming from as opposed to the fantastic selection of live music available to them. There were men walking around proudly showing off their six packs like peacocks and plastic fantastic girls who looked as though they had dressed for a night out in Liverpool and their bus had accidentally been diverted to V fest. I’ve never seen so many pale and pasty arse cheeks in one day before (no jokes).
I am not simply being judgmental and cruel, the attitude of these festival goers matched their look; whilst walking through a crowd my friend was told to ‘stop picking up cups and get a fucking haircut’ by a Scouser with more bicep than brain. Later in the evening, during Beyonce’s headline show, myself and two female friends were stood next to a group of single girls; a pack of men appeared halfway through and set on the women like a pack of hyenas, grabbing at them, putting them on shoulders etc. and my friends and I were literally pushed aside with no second thought.
Despite having a fantastic day with my friends, there was a feeling that V Festival has changed quite dramatically since the last time we had attended due to a shift in line up which is now considered more ‘radio friendly’. My friend turned to me during the day and exclaimed ‘I wouldn’t camp here again with this crowd’; I found this quite sad as I don’t like the idea that people can affect your experience of a festival, but unfortunately that seems to be the case.