REVIEW: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire

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V could easily be likened to the Hollyoaks of the summer festival calendar. Organised by those lovely people at Virgin Media, the line-up is largely centred around the charts and the tanned neon-clad crowd it attracts, many of whom use the bash as a post A-levels results extravaganza.

The Northern version is on the grounds of Weston Park, Staffordshire where wild deer stand on the other side of the fence and a 17th century stately house overlooks the site.

The bill was such that the now grown up and coiffured Hanson could fill a tent to near breaking point with The Saturdays gaining a similarly huge crowd in The Arena. Eye candy also came on the Virgin Media Stage in the form of Rihanna; dressed in a Union Jack crop top and making provocative use of an array of props. Eminem headlined on Saturday and for someone who has barely performed in six years his career- spanning set was delivered with a vivid potency.

For the sunny afternoon after the night before, Example kept the party going on the 4Music Stage closely followed by Jessie J despite her being decked out on a couch. In a similar mould of strong willed female artists was Katy B who impressed with her set of dubstep pop interspersed with early 90s hard house. Plan B was as dapper as usual in front of a crowd now accustomed to willies for a set including his usual medley of covers and soul smattered hits to climax with the singer atop his own drumkit.

Arctic Monkeys topped Sunday’s bill with a set largely drawn from their latest album, Suck It And See. Ears were drawn to the likes of Brianstorm and Don’t Sit Down Cos I’ve Moved Your Chair whilst eyes were drawn to Alex Turner’s retro look of slicked back hair and black leather jacket. The loudest reactions were left for the old school hits of The View From The Afternoon and I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor. As has become expected, Turner need only to have sung the opening lines before the crowd took over When The Sun Goes Down until the band trooped off to leave Turner to finish it off alone. Their encore was even better with the crowd pleasing duo of Mardy Bum and Fluorescent Adolescent before 505 rounded off a triumphant set.