Wednesday, 22 August 2007

V festival 2007

Last weekend I went to a music festival in Stafford, northern England. It was like the Big Day Out except it is over the whole weekend and you camp out there. My journey there was a bit of an epic, the only ticket I could get included this coach ride from Bradford to Stafford, now Bradford is about 160kms north of Stafford, so it a bit out of the way when coming from Paris. Since the coach left at 9:30am on Friday it meant I had to travel through Thursday night to get there in time. This travel included a 3.5 hour stopover at Leeds train station at 2:30am on Friday morning. That experience has certainly scarred me, I never really felt unsafe as there were always people around what with workers, transport police and other passengers. It was just that the other passengers aren't really the people you want to be sitting in a train station with.

As the England school year has just finished all the year 12's were out partying and then coming to the station to catch the train, so I was surrounded by a whole stack of really drunk English people wearing hardly any clothes. Seriously I was freezing in long pants and two jumpers and these girls were wearing tiny shorts and backless tops and nothing else! So what with them and the homeless people who kept getting into fights with the police it really wasn't a great night. I have vowed to never spend a night in transit again, I will pay the extra money to go early and just stay in a hotel.

Once I got to Bradford it was then another 3 hour wait for the coach to leave, at least this was during daylight hours though and the shops were open. I was told the coach trip would probably take about 3 hours, so I should be at the festival by noon, but what with the bumper-to-bumper traffic I didn't get there until 3:30pm. It didn't help that the coach driver got lost twice and then had to take a 45 minute break as he had already driven for 4 hours. But I made it there eventually and the travel was definitely worth it. I didn't even have it that bad, Reanna took 8 hours to get there from Cardiff!

There were so many bands playing, there were 5 stages set-up, though I only saw the two main ones. On Saturday I saw:
The Goo Goo Dolls
James Morrison
Mark Ronson
The Fratellis
Lily Allen
The Killers

Stand-out performers for me were James Morrison, Mika and Mark Ronson. Mark Ronson was my favourite act of the whole weekend. He is basically a producer, he can play the guitar but he mainly arranges songs and gets other people to sing them. I think he does write songs himself but he mainly does covers. The music was awesome though and he had by far and away the best stage presence out of everyone. He chatted to the crowd and would always ask us if it was alright to bring out another special guest. And the guests he had were awesome performers too, which helped. Mika was the surprise of the weekend, I wouldn't buy his albums but he was a good entertainer, jumping around the stage and really getting into things.

The Killers and Lily Allen were disappointing, I actually like their music and have their albums but as performers they leave a lot to be desired. The Killers were the closing band on the Saturday night, so everyone had been standing around all day in the lovely English rain, it rained all weekend, to see them and the only thing they said to the crowd was "Hi, it's great to see you all" and that was it!! Lily Allen was just nasty, I guess you can kind of tell from the songs she sings, but she made fun of Mika and the Manic Street Preachers and had a go at her drummer when he didn't start the next song on command. It was good that she turned up though, I will give her that, as she did have strep throat the week before.

Then we did it all again on Sunday:
Just Jack
The Proclaimers (500 miles, woohoo)
Juliette and the Licks (she was weird!)
The Fray
Snow Patrol
Foo Fighters

Sunday was definitely the big name day, and there were heaps more people there than on Saturday. The stand-outs were Pink, Snow Patrol, Foo Fighters and Just Jack. Pink is another one whose albums I don't buy, but she really worked the stage, running around and dancing. The Foo Fighters as well are the same, Dave Grohl actually brought his mum on stage for a song, which was sweet. Jet were completely smashed, which detracted a bit from their performance, but they were still good and their drummer is awesome!

All in all it was a great weekend and I got to see a whole stack of bands I'd never heard of before. The only problem was the English weather, it rained the entire weekend, the whole place turned into an absolute mud-pit, by the end of Sunday you could not see a blade of grass anywhere. I had to borrow rain pants on Sunday as my jeans were absolutely sodden and covered in mud after only 2 hours. Thank god I had bought a rain coat before I arrived there. I guess it just isn't an english music festival unless wellies are part of the dress code.

After visiting England for the weekend, I have to say though that I think I prefer France. It may just be familiarity, in that I'm used to Paris now and have sorted out the public transport. But I just think the culture here is much more pleasant than in England. Over there is this real binge drinking culture, I guess very similar to Australia, and a massive obesity problem. There were probably more people who were overweight than in the healthy weight range. France just seems a lot more refined, but that could just be because I haven't hit the clubs and pubs over here yet, and perhaps the French are just as bad. Though the French public transport is so mush better than England's, here it is 1.50euro for a single, zone 1 journey, in London the same thing is 4pounds, which once you convert to Australian dollars is pretty scary!

So I will just leave you with a few pictures of the weekend, I didn't take that many, I was too busy enjoying the music!
The first pic is of tent city! And this was only a part of one of the 8 campsites! This other pic. was on Saturday as you can still see the grass, but there were still a lot of people there! I heard someone say 90,000, I think that must be for the weekend though

Pink was the only performer I took a picture of


Devin said...

You lucky bugger. I love the Foo! See you in a few weeks.

Mana said...

Hey missy,

I remember being freezing cold in Canberra and wondering how this young Annabel could wear hardly anything and go out dancing. Welcome to the club :)

Looked like you had a fabulous time. Good lineup for sure.

Ira said...

Wow Annabel .. you are hardcore!!! Mud, sleeplessness, and English drunks (pretty freaky aren't they ... I guess we are kinda the same .. but I'd like to think that we're not as bad)