Splendour is Nottingham’s premier one-day music festival, which attempts to cater for most musical tastes. Over the years it has played host to many great bands and artistes such as Pet Shop Boys, Scissor Sisters, and Jess Glynne to name a small few.
This year’s line-up had an 80’s sprinkling to it with the likes of Tony Hadley and Billy Ocean included in the line-up. Splendour always appear to try and create a line-up that will be thoroughly enjoyable and with Gabrielle Aplin, Busted and Kaiser Chiefs all on the main stage, it would be hard not to enjoy the day...
However shortly before Gabrielle Aplin took to the main stage, the skies turned from bright sunshine to overcast grey clouds with a drizzle of rain gently cascading on the estimated 25,000 strong crowd in attendance. Sadly, the weather got worse throughout the day, to the point that it had turned into an absolute downpour, the crowd had gone from a shorts and t shirt wearing, picnic eating audience into a massive sea of waterproof wearing, cold shivering, umbrella holding type of audience.
Gabrielle Aplin did her best to win the crowd over by bouncing onto the stage wearing bright red jeans and a sunflower t-shirt attire. Her vocals reverberating throughout the arena delivered in such a silky-smooth manner. “Please Don’t Say You Love Me” and “The Power of Love” appeared to be the songs that were instantly recognised by the drenched crowd.
Over on the Confetti stage, British Sea Power had appeared to draw a respectable sized crowd for their set. Their brand of indie rock seemed to be well received by the rain soaked audience.
Ex-Spandau Ballet member Tony Hadley arrived on the main stage looking smart in his suit, and from the set opener “Life on Mars?” to his own songs from Spandau Ballet such as “Through the Barricades”, “True” and “Gold” Tony demonstrated that even after many decades of singing, he is still able to captivate huge crowds with his hits of yester year.
The main stage was then set for Busted to make an appearance. After a break of 12 years, Charlie Simpson was back at the helm for this show, and as much as I hate boy bands, I should give credit to the band, they are able to put on a great performance. The band members could genuinely sing live and play their instruments as well as any other musician on the line up. Once again, it was the older hits that got the crowd swaying in the torrential downpour. Hits such as “Year 3000” and “That’s What I Go to School For”. Even now that the band members are many years older, they still delivered a high energy, feel good set.
Over on the Confetti Stage Billy Ocean had attracted one of the biggest crowds of the day, unfortunately the audience weren’t able to hear the vocals for the first few songs due to sound issues. Billy being the consummate professional ensured that the sound crew sorted the issue out rapidly. Once that had been sorted, it was a barrage of hit after hit after hit. Songs such as “Love Really Hurts Without You”, “Red Light Spells Danger”, and “Suddenly” created one massive singalong for the fans. However as soon as the intro to “When the Going Gets Tough” belted through the field, it was greeted with a volcanic roar of approval from the fans. People were swaying and singing along to this legendary anthem, and for a moment it stopped the fans thinking about how waterlogged their clothes had now become. A truly legendary performance from one of the biggest recording artistes around today.
A large proportion of the crowd had decided to leave before Kaiser Chiefs arrived on the main stage due to the freakish levels of rain belting down. There were plenty of hot drink and hot food stores to ensure that if you got too cold, you could always purchase something warm.
For those who were brave enough to stay and ride out the storm, they were treated to a masterclass of live music, sure, the Kaiser Chiefs do not have the same legendary back catalogue as Billy Ocean, but they are armed with some of the most infectious melodic songs in the music industry. Opening with “Every day I Love You Less and Less”. From then on in, Kaiser Chiefs delivered an all-out offensive bombarding the fans with 90 minutes of infectious sing along tunes that removed any doubt as to why these were worthy of headlining Splendour. Frontman Ricky Wilson was his usual energetic self, jumping around the stage on and off the monitors and drumkit. Bizarrely for a band with such an impressive list of hits. They included their biggest hits such as “Ruby” and “I Predict A Riot” in the main set, which was a brave move to do. For the encore, they treated the fans to “Misery Company” and one of their first hits “Oh My God”. Leaving the shivering and drenched fans with a smile on their face as they left the field.
Once again, the organisers of Splendour had put together an incredible day of music. Splendour is a family friendly event and usually one of the highlights in terms of music events. Sure, majority of people enjoyed it, but with weather like that it made it less enjoyable than usual on this occasion.
Fingers crossed for better weather next year.
latest on this festival
line-ups & rumours
Splendour 2017 review