Splendour festival is a one-day festival held annually in Nottingham. Every year the organisers do their best to have a variety of bands which cover a whole range of musical genres. This year Splendour had the punk genre covered with Stiff Little Fingers. They had the nostalgic/80s genre covered with The Human League. Reggae covered with UB40. Rock covered with The Darkness and pop/current genre covered with Jess Glynne being part of the line-up. Splendour not only caters for music lovers but they also have a comedy stage, which provides light relief for those wishing to have a break from the music.
This year the car parking seemed to have some organisation about it, although having to pay £6 to park your car till seems excessive when punters have already paid £50 per ticket for the event.
Security on the main gates were doing their best to make sure people got through into the arena efficiently and as painlessly as humanly possible. Once inside we were greeted with a huge sign that said "welcome to Splendour" with colourful flowers all around it. There were nice little touches like this all throughout the arena. This seemed to make it just seem more friendly than most other festivals.
There was even free access to water at various water points throughout the arena. It was vital this year as it was blazing sunshine throughout the day.
Due to hiding out of the sun for most of the afternoon, the first artist that I caught was Jamie Lawson. Brilliant songwriter and despite being slow tempo songs which usually wouldn’t be appropriate at a festival, he managed to win the crowd over. Jamie himself even told the crowd that he knows his music isn’t the usual festival type music and that usually something more upbeat would be appropriate, however he managed to mesmerise most of the crowd with his blend of acoustic heartfelt music.
So as the sun started to come out in all of its blazing glory, we decided to plonk ourselves down near the mainstage and relax. UB40 were the perfect band to chill out to. Regardless of whoever is in their current line-up, their music in undeniably infectious. Their big hits such as 'Red Red Wine' and '(I Can’t) Help Falling in Love with You' turned the arena into a sea of gently swaying fans. UB40 were the perfect accompaniment to a sunny afternoon.
After UB40, it was time for another trip down memory lane with The Human League. They wasted no time in transporting the crowd back to the eighties with 'Mirror Man' as the set opener. From that point on it was a non-stop 80s extravaganza with 80s classics such as 'Lebanon' and 'Love Action', In short this was like a greatest hits set from the Human League. Despite all of the years that Phil Oakey and his band have been belting out these tunes. They still appear to come on stage with the passion and enthusiasm as if it was their first time singing them.
As the sun was fading, it was time to wonder over to the other stage to see The Darkness. Vocalist Justin Hawkins is still as energetic as ever and was able to deliver an action packed balls to the wall rock element to Splendour…well until the microphone cut out early on in the set. Justin made a joke about it, then got a stage technician to hold both microphones whilst he played guitar. A true professional, as the saying goes 'the show must go on'. Stadium anthems such as 'Growing on me' got the audience bouncing and clapping along. It seemed odd seeing the Darkness on the small stage after seeing them headline huge festivals (Leeds/Reading) in years gone by.
From The Darkness I trundled back to the main stage to catch Jess Glynne. When they initially announced Jess Glynne as the headliner, my initial thought was that this will be a terrible selection for a headline act. I will be brutally honest I had never heard of Jesse Glynne. My impressions worsened when a friend told me she was a pop artist. Oh no, a pop artist headlining a festival that usually has talented bands as opposed to overproduced choreographed lip syncing pop artists.
So as the stage was set, and I was in place to see what could be the best train wreck moment in the history of Splendour. However, to my surprise Jess Glynne was able to sing live, no lip syncing, relying on her strong vocal ability to send the crowd crazy. Her songs are enjoyable catchy melodic songs that are impossible not to sing along to. From set opener 'Don’t be so hard on yourself' smoothly into 'Rather be' then a whole attack on the senses with the melodic radio friendly pop tunes.
After watching Jess Glynne perform it is easy to see why she was chosen to headline, very talented and able to entertain in an almost effortless fashion. Great choice for this year’s Splendour Festival.
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