I was really excited to go to V Festival because I hadn’t managed to get Beyonce tour tickets. In all honesty, the fact that she was headlining and Jessie J was also on the bill is the only reason I decided to shell out for VIP Day Tickets.
I arrived on the Saturday in Chelmsford, hoping to witness an awe-inspiring performance by the acts. The day got off to a bad start after I managed to find the “VIP” area. People who had wristbands to gain access had paid an extra £75 for a day upgrade and £105 for a weekend upgrade. That’s just if you bought it prior to attending. If you turned up on the day and fancied upgrading, you had to shell out £85 for the day and £115 for the weekend. Considering these expensive rates, you’d expect something amazing in the VIP section. I walked in to find nothing more than a cocktail bar (which was also featured in the main arena), an inside bar, a couple of food stalls, hammocks, a gazebo with sofas in and people who had dressed up as strong men to “entertain” the crowd. That is it. I think it’s completely ridiculous to charge people so much for a VIP upgrade and only offer below average perks. I’ve been to other festivals, in and out of London, and have been charged a lot less for the VIP areas. Not only that but the food and drink were massively overpriced too. Of course it’s expected at a festival, however I don’t really think you can justify £6 for a burger that was dry and burnt.
The way the site was set out didn’t help V Festival’s cause either. There was no real logic to where the arenas were situated and how a person would get to certain stages throughout the day. Having attended Reading Festival and Boardmasters last year, I enjoyed the circle layout to the stages. It was extremely easy to navigate yourself around the arena and coordinate seeing your favourite acts who were appearing on a selection of stages.
In all honesty, I was only at the main stage for three acts because I couldn’t be bothered to try and bustle through crowds of drunk people to see a variety of performers. When Jessie J came on stage, she was on time and looked sexy. Bonus points to her. I saw her set at The Eden Sessions a month or so ago and because it was longer, she was able to showcase her talents to a greater extent. However I was pleased with her set and she even treated fans to the first performance of new single ‘It’s My Party’, as well as old favourites ‘Do It Like A Dude’ and ‘Nobody’s Perfect’. The audience were singing along with Jessie and having fun, which is exactly what you want at a festival.
Following Jessie’s set was The Script. Now I’m not a huge fan of the band so I left the site, however did notice fireworks and the crowd having a good time. I’m guessing their set went down well and the guys played their most-loved tracks. Kudos to them. Festivals are all about the fans, as they’ve flocked from all over the country to witness their favourite artists in the flesh.
It was Beyonce I was excited to see though. She was billed to play at 9.15, however had not appeared on stage by 9.45. The crowd was boo-ing her, which is an awful start to your set. When she eventually appeared on stage, all seemed well. However, after one or two songs into her performance she changed her costume. Fans were bombarded with all of these artsy videos, which would have worked on a tour but at a festival people want to dance and sing along. They don’t want to stand there motionless whilst they’re forced to watch video after video, whilst you change your costume over and over. In total, i think Beyonce changed her attire four times. Now i’m not saying the whole performance was rubbish because her vocals were flawless, as always. However the set was very self-indulgent, as it seemed like she was trying to shed the “Sasha Fierce” aura in favour of a “Oh look, i’m married and I love my husband!” vibe. I understand that she is in love, however nobody really cares when they’re stood in the rain and waiting for you to make their evening. I was really disappointed with the half-hearted attempt to wow the audience, as Beyonce seemed to forget that this night was for the fans. It didn’t really surprise me that she had banned the broadcast from being shown on TV to be honest. Like I said, it was really self-indulgent and she obviously did not think about her thousands of fans sat at home waiting to watch her live.
V Festival is an experience I definitely won’t be having again. In my personal opinion, there are tonnes of festivals where the atmosphere and line-ups are much better and cater to the festival occasion more appropriately.