the opening day of V Festival belongs to Calvin Harris

V Festival (Staffordshire) 2015 review

By Michelle Owen-Williams | Published: Wed 26th Aug 2015

Calvin Harris

Saturday 22nd to Sunday 23rd August 2015
Weston Park, Weston-under-Lizard, Staffordshire, TF11 8LE, England MAP
£189 with camping
Daily capacity: 90,000
Last updated: Thu 2nd Jul 2015

Apparently this year is V's 20th birthday year, I actually thought it was next year, especially as the first V festival was back in '96??!! (Unlike humans festivals are 1 when they are born - Ed).

There's been lots of chat about this year's festival on social media sites disagreeing with the line-up cause of its poppy roots. You can't please everyone and personally I think the line-up is decent, otherwise I wouldn't be going.

If you look at the line up's since '96 'V' has attracted some massive names, including Paul Weller, Blur, The Prodigy, Daft Punk, James Brown, Pink, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kylie Minogue, Beyoncé, Kings of Leon, The Killers, Oasis, Robert Plant, Radiohead and Morrissey too name but a few.

The original idea for V came in 1996 when Jarvis Cocker announced he would love to play two outdoor venues in two days. Pulp's promoters got together and had a light bulb moment with the invention of putting the gig into Victoria Park in Warrington and Hyland's Park, Chelmsford, the inception of this idea would give both fans in the North and South a chance to see the band. Then came the idea of adding more bands to the bill, putting on a second stage and letting people camp for the weekend. In the end Victoria Park was just too small for 3 stages and camping. So in August 1996 there was one day of artists in Victoria Park and 2 days at Hyland's Park with camping. The northern leg of V97 was switched to Temple Newsam, Leeds to provide room for camping and three stages. In 1999 the Northern leg of the festival was moved to today's venue Weston Park, Staffs and has remained there since.

From its roots of having two stages in '96, V has grown and grown and this year is no exception, it boasts three stages and two tents, so there's something for everyone.

around the festival site: V Festival (Staffordshire) 2015

This year, as it's our first V for a few years, we decided to put a new twist on our review and as it was one young man's 15th birthday a week before V festival, we decided it was time for Oliver Owen to christen his wellies and wet weather gear and attend his first V Festival. We wanted to find out what a 15 year old thinks of V Festival and try and see the festival from his perspective and through his eyes.

I asked Oliver who he wants to see and a week before the festival he hadn't quite decided. I know he thinks Ellie Goulding's fit, who doesn't, and he wants to experience Calvin Harris's show, other than that I guess we'll wait to see what the weekend brings.

The line-up for this year's V boasts Calvin Harris, The Script, Ellie Goulding, Stereophonics, Clean Bandit, Kodaline, Paloma Faith, and Jessie Ware on Saturday and Kasabian, Sam Smith, Hozier, Olly Murs, Tom Jones, Chvrches, Nero, Example, and Pendulum on Sunday. And of course there's the comedy tent boasting Russell Kane, Jen Brister, Seann Walsh, and Frankie Boyle. We were gonna be spoilt for choice.

We arrived at the site on Saturday at midday, all ready and prepared, picnic packed, wet weather gear packed and at the ready, on our marks with walking boots and wellies ready to stomp around the site and put the walking over both days. Had Oliver, our nephew, knew what he'd let himself in for??!!

Over the years I've seen some sites at V having photographed 8 of them as far back as '99. I've seen the worst side of festivals despite the best efforts of organisers including people out of it, which is the norm at festivals, and some dreadful toilet habits. I've seen enough men's willies at V fest to last me a lifetime. Let's not forget the so called 'ladies', crouching down and thinking no-one can see them, it's hilarious. Poor Oliver has got to experience all this so-called 'Festival Experience' for himself.

around the festival site: V Festival (Staffordshire) 2015

Today's line-up boasts Headliners Calvin Harris, Stereophonics, and Paloma Faith; I was intrigued as to which artists our 15 year old nephew would want to see; Only time would tell I guess. Let the day commence.

Which stage would we end up at first and what would the weather be like?? It had been forecast for showers for both days, fingers crossed this wasn't the case!

I asked Oliver a few weeks before he travelled up from Cornwall what his initial thoughts were on seeing his first V festival, he replied "I'm bricking it", it made me laugh. But as of the Wednesday before the festival, Oliver said "I'm really excited and am looking forward to the atmosphere and what comes with a festival. I am expecting is to be loud and for there to be plenty of drunken people". I am just glad we're both (My wife and I) there to share his first experience, especially as this is my 12th V Festival, both as a punter and as a reviewer, oh and as an Aunty.

around the festival site: V Festival (Staffordshire) 2015

The site is always huge at V and this year was no exception. Weston Park is an ace place to have the festival as it's a journey straight up and down the motorway (M6/M54), it's so accessible and they've perfected the customer experience of getting there with ease. This year's festival boasts several stages and a couple of tents, so plenty to keep you and us going all over the weekend.

The main hive of activity on Saturday and Sunday ,of course are the two main stages and one of the tents, the Virgin Media Stage, the MTV Stage, and the Sure Tent, Headliners on Saturday include Calvin Harris, Stereophonics and Paloma Faith AND Kasabian, Olly Murs and Nero on Sunday.

The merchandise was the norm, typical festival shirt setting you back £20 and a percentage of band shirts, again £20. Nothing to shout about really!

We were astounded at the amount of traffic once we got off the motorway, it took us 90 minutes to get to the festival site and this made us so late we missed the first two acts. We had some fun on the way to the site, the amount of people we saw crouching down or doing a runner from their car to relieve themselves was astounding, my nephew was shocked.

We pitched up in a position right at the front of the Virgin Media Stage and Oliver decided as he was at the front he didn't want to move all day. Bearing in mind this was his very first V festival and he wanted to be as close to the action as possible.

The weather was fabulous all day up until the point that Ellie Goulding came on and we got absolutely drenched, soaked through in fact, but we soon got dry again once the sun came out.

Ella Henderson: V Festival (Staffordshire) 2015

The first act we saw was Ella Henderson, we were both astounded at how amazing her voice was and she's only a kid, she persevered with the set and her vocals shone through, highlights for me were 'Mirror Man' and 'Glow'. Oliver just kept pinching himself, he said he didn't know what to expect from the festival and he was a bit nervous, but he soon got in to the festival spirit.

When I showed Oliver the line-up he was a bit unsure of some of the bands, "Whose on next?", "The Kooks", Never heard of them….Then it dawned on him he had heard of them, he was singing away like a good'un to them.

George Ezra: V Festival (Staffordshire) 2015

Everyone's favourite 19 year old, George Ezra was up next, if you don't know one of his songs then shame on you. Oliver was quite excited at the prospect of seeing someone whose songs he had played over and over again actually live. 'Wanted On Voyage' his debut album is full of hits: 'Blame it on Me' and 'Budapest' are just a few, he didn't disappoint at all and it was the first sing-a-long of the day. Happy, happy music, he was amazing, we both loved his set, and Oliver's comment was "He was Sick."

Ellie Goulding: V Festival (Staffordshire) 2015

One of the only reasons I wanted to do V festival was because Ellie Goulding was playing, I've been a long-time admirer of hers and she can do no wrong in my eyes. I wanted to see what my Nephews perception was of her after her set. Looking rather striking in black shorts, which were shimmering and a black see through top and vest, Goulding looked steamingly hot, my nephew couldn't take his eyes off her, not even the pouring rain could dampen ours, or the crowds spirits, we weren't moving even if it was torrential rain. I was glued to the spot. Hit after hit ensued, the set was immense, but I would say that wouldn't I, Oliver's comments were "Oh my god she's fit", I said "but can she sing?" He replied "She's so much better live".

The Script had a huge following at V, the first ten rows behind us, were women of a certain age and youngsters vying for a prime position to see if they could catch a glimpse of Danny. I tried to wind them all up saying I couldn't stand the Script, but obviously that would've been a lie, having seen them live on numerous occasions. I saw The Script back when they made their V debut and to be honest I didn't bat an eye lid. They have come so far since then, wowing the crowd with a spectacular performance of lights and Danny coming down to see the crowd in the pit and even at one stage jumping up with them, much to all of securities dismay. Who wouldn't want to pinch that lovely little Irish bum?

The Script: V Festival (Staffordshire) 2015

The set was exactly the same as their recent tour, which celebrated their latest album, 'Paint the Town' kicked off the set, which is a sort of party anthem and got the crowd whipped up into frenzy. With such a back catalogue of hits to fall back on its no wonder everyone loves them. I love their middle of the roadness and obviously Danny is easy on the eye so it's hard not to like them.

Show stopper and millionaire DJ Calvin Harris headlined one of the main stages. With a 15 year old Nephew in tow, there was no other artist he wanted to see, so I lost the battle of wanting to see my all-time favourite's Stereophonics. It was a no win contest.

I knew what to expect from Harris after seeing him at T in the Park two years ago. I told my nephew to hold on to the barrier or to let the beat consume him and jump up and down like everyone else.

Day one definitely belonged to Harris, even if he did blow the generator because of all the electric he was consuming with his amazing light show.

Calvin Harris: V Festival (Staffordshire) 2015

Strobing lights, fireworks and flames coming out of the top of the stage, together with a thumping bass and top tunes to delight every age group. Even me a 47 year old thought he was amazing, just wished I'd have had the knees to keep jumping up and down.

Harris topped off an amazing day, Oliver is glad he came just to see Harris at his best; one happy Nephew was a sure result in my eyes.

review by: Michelle Owen-Williams

photos by: Tricia Owen-Williams

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