Amongst the mosh pits, sing-alongs and uncontrollable screaming, V-Festival celebrated its 21st birthday last weekend in both Hylands Park, Chelmsford and Weston Park, Staffordshire.
This year’s lineup anticipated to be one of the best in many years with appearances from worldwide acts such as Rihanna, Justin Bieber, David Guetta and SIA as well as many British stars taking to the stage.
Every year, V-Festival goers face the challenge of deciding which acts they’re going to watch over the weekend as the stage splits and clashes appear. On Saturday at Hylands Park, I took the risk of staying at the Virgin Media stage for the full day, in hope of eventually ending up at the front to get the best view of headliner Justin Bieber.
There are many problems with staying at just one stage all day. Once you’ve found a good spot and you don’t want to lose it, you just cannot afford to move – despite being desperate for food, drink or the toilet.
DNCE began at 12:20 and Justin Bieber wasn’t set to appear until 9:20 so this meant 9 hours of standing, jumping and being pushed around. It’s fair to say I just couldn’t feel my legs at the end of the day but in spite of the negatives, it was definitely all worth it!
Mike Posner then treated the crowd to a few chart toppers such as Cooler Than Me and I Took A Pill In Ibiza.
Taking it down a notch next was singer-songwriter James Morrison. Many people say that festivals aren’t the place for sentimental songs but with classics such as I Won’t Let You Go, Broken Strings and You Give Me Something , James definitely earned his place on the main stage for the 21st celebration.
Replacing Halsey on the very opposite end of the spectrum was grime act Stormzy. If I could sum this act up in one word it would be ‘moshpit’. Everywhere you turned there were huge groups of boys and girls spreading out into a circle ready to go crazy when Stormzy dropped his beats and it was almost impossible to avoid being dragged into one.
This was definitely a huge turn of the tables from Morrison’s set but Stormzy delivered well, especially when he performed his hit Shut Up.
By the time that Jess Glynne had appeared, I’d managed to work my way to front and the view was amazing. Having seen Glyne live many times before, her performance at this years V Festival was her best so far. From her uplifting, crowd pleasing songs such as Hold My Hand and Rather Be backed up by her powerful band to her stunning cover of Route 94’s My Love accompanied by just a piano, Glynne’s vocals never slacked.
Next up were Bastille, who are known to be V-Festival favourites. They entertained with their more popular songs s Of The Night and Flaws before performing their latest single Good Grief – a winner with the crowd. Lead singer Dan Smith got very intimate with the crowd and threw his drum sticks to some lucky fans.
After an extended wait as her set had to be altered due to the high winds, SIA made an awaited entrance onto the Virgin Media stage with her alternative dancers appearing from under her huge customized dress. As many people know, SIA isn’t one for generic, predictable shows, even though this set was spontaneous due to unforeseen circumstances. Her dancers mimicked her weird and wonderful music videos as they danced around her to hits such as Chandelear and Cheap Thrills.
The main female dancer was at first mistaken for Maddie Zeigler who features in SIA’s music videos but this dancer was just as talented. Of course SIA didn’t show her face or say a word throughout her whole performance but that’s what makes her so unique.
An iconic part of SIA’s set was when she sang Diamonds, a song she wrote for Rihanna, which was performed beautifully and the crowd echoed it together.
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Last but certainly not least was Canadian pop-star Justin Bieber. I may be biased as a huge fan of his but having not seen Justin live since 2013, he’s definitely come a long way since his Believe tour. Unlike the other acts from Saturday’s v-fest lineup – Bieber performed what seemed to be the full set from his current Purpose World Tour. This included unbelievable dancing, spectacular strobe lights and a hugely anticipated entrance to Mark My Words.
(Taken by Phoebe Jobling)
“I’m a little hungover, I’m not gonna lie,” Justin admitted.
“You guys don’t like to fake anything in the UK, which I respect.”
Unfortunately, Bieber has suffered some criticism from his set at V-Festival with many rumors that he was miming. It’s fair to say from someone who was around 3 rows away from him, when he did mime he wasn’t hiding it as he stopped to show off his dance moves to Where Are U Now and As Long As You Love Me.
(Taken by Phoebe Jobling)
When Justin did sing – he sang his heart out. He stripped back his latest singles Cold Water and Let Me Love You to acoustic performances as well as his hit Love Yourself, which was sung a capella and really showed off his sensational vocal range as the crowd sang along with him.
(Taken by Phoebe Jobling)
Justin performed many new songs from his Purpose album such as Company, Children and Get Used To It which were mostly enjoyed by his fans who knew all of the words. But when Bieber took us back in time and sang his breakthrough song’s One Time and Baby – that’s when he really won over the whole of V-Festival as people danced and reminisced together. Bieber closed his set with the huge hit Sorry which definitely helped the first day of V-Fest’s 21st birthday go out with a bang.
By Phoebe Jobling