Arriving through the gates at Weston Park on the Saturday afternoon we were greeted with a little bit of classic northern drizzle and an overcast sky, but it wasn’t long before the sun came out to play and the party began. Tulisa, Olly Murs and Tom Jones catered for the more commercial/pop tastes throughout the afternoon at the main stage, whereas over at the 4Music Stage the likes of Shed Seven, Miles Kane and The Enemy represented guitar music for the more indie reveller.
As usual the V Festival crowd were in high spirits. In true British fashion, when the sun comes out the clothes come off, and there were some sights to say the least. With revellers donning fancy dress, or not much dress at all, the beer was flowing and many inhibitions were flowing with it. Despite the vast amount of toilet facilities, apparently it is still deemed acceptable for some folk to go about their ‘business’ in a very public fashion.
As dusk began to draw in, Snow Patrol played a stream of hits including ‘Open Your Eyes’, ‘Run’ and ‘Chasing Cars’ over at the main stage, while Happy Mondays had the Arena tent rocking with ‘Hallelujah’, ’24 Hour Party People’ and ‘Step On’.
4Music Stage headliner, Nicki Minaj, pulled out of the event at the last minute due to ‘vocal issues’ which resulted in a mass congregation down at the Main Stage for the Saturday night headliners The Killers. We were admittedly sceptical, due to their recent notable absence from the music scene, but it wasn’t long before we were reminded of what a world-class band The Killers are. Playing all the classics such as ‘Smile Like You Mean It’, ‘Mr Brightside’, ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ and “Human’, festival goers were treated to some new material very reminiscent of their first album, and in a bizarre and surreal turn of events the band covered Oasis track ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’. To say the crowd went mental would be an understatement. It was a very brave move that paid off incredibly well and rounded off day one of V Festival nicely.
With everyone seemingly a little worse for wear and bleary eyed from the previous night's antics, the final day of the festival began in a rather chilled out fashion, with The Proclaimers and Rodrigo Y Gabriela easing us all back into the festival spirit. Reverend & The Makers stepped up the pace over at the 4Music stage with Jon McClure being his usual outspoken self, ‘dissing’ Radio 1 listeners and mentioning debating with celebrities about whether its ok to bomb Iraq. Not really an obvious topic of conversation on a rainy Sunday afternoon but the Reverend wouldn’t be the Reverend without his topical debates mid-set.
The Charlatans, who were only put on the bill a few days previously as a replacement for Dappy, played a fantastic set including ‘North Country Boy’ and ‘Sproston Green’, while over at the main stage Emeli Sande wowed the crowds with her amazing vocal.
4Music seemed to be the place for people who wanted to party, starting the day guitar themed, then turning quite urban with Labrinth and Rizzle Kicks, then finally transitioning into dance with the incredible Friendly Fires and man of the moment David Guetta. The main stage seemed to have more of a chilled out vibe throughout the early part of the day as crowds were subjected to James Morrison and Keane (yes, they’re still going…) but the atmosphere picked up as soon as Example came on stage. He had everyone on their feet, hands in the air and chanting along to ‘Kickstarts’, ‘Stay Awake’ and number one hit ‘Changed The Way You Kissed Me’.
As Professor Green and Ed Sheeran entertained the masses in The Arena tent, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds treated music lovers to more northern charm. As well as playing his own songs ‘What A Life’, 'If I Had A Gun’ and ‘Half the World Away’ we also got the occasional Oasis classic thrown in including ‘Supersonic’, ‘Little By Little’, ‘Whatever’ and for the second time this weekend a mass sing along to ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’.
Looking at the line-up for Sunday it was safe to say it seemed to be a celebration of Manchester’s finest, with Inspiral Carpets, The Charlatans, and Noel, but it was the Main Stage headliners who put the topping on a well oiled ‘Madchester’ machine - with the legendary Stone Roses playing out V2012.
Whether you attended one of their homecoming gigs at Heaton Park or not, you knew you were going to witness something special as soon as Ian, Mani, Reni and John Squire took to the stage. Opening with ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ the band barely paused for breath in-between tracks. Brown introduces ‘Made of Stone’ and ‘The Sound of the Unemployed’ and the band played an epic version of ‘Fools Gold’, which lasted well over ten minutes.
Mani riled up the crowd with some playful banter when he held up his guitar on which the words ‘Man Utd’ were painted, and jokingly flipped his middle finger to the boos. ‘She Bangs The Drums’ was an obvious highlight and the band ended with ‘I Am The Resurrection’, leaving the stage to rapturous cheers and a very grand firework display and drawing V 2012 to –yet again – a successful close.
Words: Jo-Anne Waddington
Read festival news and reviews
Buy 2012 festival tickets