Whilst summer continues to try and poke its way through to us, festival season is in full swing, with something to suit everyone’s mood, preference and mud to wellie ratio.
And so it was that I found myself on the more ‘chart’ side of things at the New Look Wireless festival in London’s Findsbury Park on Sunday (5 July). I’d like to point out that the sponsor is the shop New Look, not as someone said to me “I wonder what it was like before its new look”. I have quite the love/hate relationship with festivals in that I conceptually think they’re amazing and hate that I never really go, normally getting the highlights on TV…SO I went and I saw, I conquered…in my own strange way.
One of the things I love about festivals is the atmosphere. We’re all here to have a good day and you can feel a buzz that builds as more and more people flood into the park…and when you start off with Lord Somersby’s Georgian courtesans dancing around and a free snog you can’t really go wrong. Well, until the music kicks off. It’s somewhat impossible to talk about the festival as a whole as I went on my own specific musical journey, so you’ll have to take what I give you and imagine the rest, and then jump on YouTube to watch. We started off with a bit of Wretch 32 who got the crowd going, even if I didn’t know most of the songs (which is more my own fault than anything else) and moved swiftly onto Charlie XCX. She rapped Iggy’s Fancy lyrics and shouted p***y power a good too many times but there was a lack of oomph to her set. I also caught the end of Arrested Development who had drawn a large crowd, and it was easy to see why. The atmosphere both inside and outside the tent was infectious, making you want to dance along with everybody else to the powerful vocals blasting out.
Moving on to one of my main reasons for going: C.I.A.R.A. It’s been far too long since Cici has performed in the UK, the last major time having been her support slot on Britney’s Circus Tour, and it was so good to have her back. She flew through a range of hits, old and new, in a set that had the crowd singing along but was over far too quickly. It was only marred by the fact that people, in typical festival style, felt the need to knock everyone around like dominos.
From there things took a bit of a strange turn. Whoever booked Willow and Jaden Smith is either a genius, or was on something at the time. Either way it was a strange booking, made even stranger by their performance. Anyone hoping for a chance to whip their hair back and forth would have been disappointed with the more stripped back, deep, almost hypnotic strangeness of Willow’s offering, inserted between Jaden’s quick, slick and impressive rapping. I think we all came out of that muttering variations of “what just happened?”.
Jessie J was a trooper, performing after coming out of hospital only two days before and putting so much into her set. Like the vocal rollercoaster you’d expect, Jessie always gives you power, energy and a mention of Nandos, going off on random tangents that might make you think she was still on the morphine. But it was a solid set, with the only notable absence of Flashlight, which seems a logical choice at this time. Also, seeing as Nicki Minaj was next I sort of expected her to crash Bang Bang, but no such luck. I wasn’t too concerned at the time, because she was probably just getting ready for her set…right? But where was Nicki when Jessie’s performance ended? She definitely wasn’t at Wireless when her set should have started, or even half an hour later. Plane problems. Fantastic. The second reason I’d come delayed.
Let’s move on to the actual headliner, David Guetta. Now I have nothing against DJ’s, it’s a skill that I hold my hands up to not being able to do…but I could’ve had the same experience in most clubs I’ve been too, all of whom would play Guetta’s songs. His set was one big outside club that, at this point in the day, my deflated mood was not amped for. His songs are good though; the beats are catchy and everyone sings along. The vibe of his set was a big grand event, as you’d expect, with many, many pictures being taken whilst the buttons did the work.
Finally Nicki arrived and though it was better late than never, it just felt like too little too late, and not the full Nicki experience I’d geared myself up for.
So my love/hate relationship with festivals continues. I experienced it and maybe next year I’ll experience it from the comfort of my sofa, stream on, cold beverage in hand. Best view in the house right there. Maybe next time I’ll try V Fest…