Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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V FESTIVAL 2012 - WESTON PARK, STAFFORD (SATURDAY)

Huge crowd reflected in Tinie Tempah's shades- Copyright: Simon Redley
Huge crowd reflected in Tinie Tempah's shades- Copyright: Simon Redley Tulisa's blinged-up mike and T for Tulisa in-ear monitor. Copyright: Simon Redley Rita Ora had the Tent Full signs out.Photo copyright: Simon Redley There's Only ONE Rita Ora.Photo copyright: Simon Redley Hair Raising Performance From Rita Ora. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Belgian soul star Selah Sue backstage. Photo copyright: Simon Redley Sensational Selah Sue - Copyright: Simon Redley Wiley. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Josh Osho pulled a large crowd inside.Photo copyright: Simon Redley Tom Jones Fans Fly The Flag. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Axe Victim Sir Tom Jones. Photo copyright: Simon Redley The Legend That Is Sir Tom Jones. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Hollyoaks Girls In VIP Area. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Hollyoaks Cast Enjoying The VIP Club Bar. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Hollyoaks Actresses Cuddle Up In VIP Area. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Stooshe. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Stooshe. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Stooshe. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Stooshe. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Stooshe. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Stooshe. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Stooshe. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Stooshe. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Tulisa Gets The Crowd Going at V.Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Tulisa Has The X Factor. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Miss Tulisa. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Rita Ora Bass Drum Logo. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Josh Osho. Photo Copyright:Simon Redley Josh Osho. Photo Copyright:Simon Redley Thumbs Up From Sir Tom. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley The Voice From The Valleys. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Tom Jones At V Fest 2012. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley TJ Was A Huge Hit At V 2012. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley It's Tinie TIme. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Tinie And Friend.  Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Tinie Tempah At V Fest 2012. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Tinie Tempah.Photo Copyright: Simon Redley The Milk. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley The Milk. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley The Milk. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley LMFAO. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley LMFAO. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley LMFAO. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Zebra And LMFAO Friend. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley Was I Drunk Or Did I Really See A Giant Zebra At V 2012? Photo: Simon Redley LMFAO. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley LMFAO. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley LMFAO. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley LMFAO. Photo Copyright: Simon Redley

So Chelmsford V fest snappers get Kelly Brook to photograph. I get the well oiled Hollyoaks cast! Hylands Park gets blazing hot sunshine for two days, and Weston Park gets a heatwave on day one and a mud-soaked, downpour with humid conditions on day two, capped off with fog!

For anyone who thinks being a media man covering a huge music festival is a doddle, and we spend the weekend sat backstage sipping champagne with the stars, take the occasional snap and get fed info and gossip by eager publicistsâ¦â¦Think again.

I am lucky not to have a busted nose today, after a hyper Professor Green set late on Sunday night when he knocked the heavy metal mike stand over into the pit among a group of us snappers, and it literally brushed my nose and face as it went over. This was shortly before he stopped the show to have a go at one poor guy who had permission from Greenâs tour manager to stay in the pit after we all left at the end of the third song.

The mad Professor telling the audience, that photographers are only allowed to shoot the first three numbers and then leave the safety pit, but there was still one guy here. So he had a message for him, and asked the crowd to repeat it: âPhotographer, fuck off.â Around 12,000 fans screamed the same abuse at this bemused chap too.
Yeah, when you have a media pass and a camera round your neck, it is often a similar reaction to having two horns, a tail and a mobile number that starts with 666.

The crowd on the two main outdoor stages think it fun to throw liquid at you. I assumed it was water or beer, when the back of my head got soaked a few times. Dread to think what it could have beenâ¦â¦..specially when I heard that Cher Lloyd walked off stage upset at V Fest 2012, when someone threw a bottle of urine at her @ the Hylands Park site. I now realise why a lot of the PR team keep their hoods up in the pit, even when it is not raining!

With a camera, drunken revellers think it is fine to grab hold of you until you take their photograph. To bare arses, genitals and breasts at you. At V this year, members of the hard working PR team had to escort photographers everywhere - apart from the toilet! After confusion over which gate would allow VIP pass holders access, I finally got onto the site after over an hourâs hassle on Saturday.
This year, the VIP area had been moved from next to the main stage where it was last year, right away from everything, but next to a lovely big lake. The media centre was in a corner by the lake inside the VIP bit. It meant a heck of a walk to each of the four stages, or backstage for interviews. I kid you not; I have actually lost two pounds in weight this weekend, from walking. The V fest diet, try it next year!

So I schlepped for miles carrying heavy camera gear. Hot sun on day one and baked; got sun burned outside and soaking wet in sweat from the sauna conditions inside the two giant marquee stages, causing lenses to steam up. Got wet on Sunday when it poured, caked in mud and slipped over. Had my ear drums assaulted, blinded by strobes, lasers, lights and pyrotechnics. Starved as I refused to shell out £8 for a burger, or £6 for a slice of pizza. £2.50 for the same branded mineral water I bought in a shop in Stafford for 39 pence. No water or hot drinks provided for media people working at the event. Not even a spare chair, unless you are sending pix on your laptop.

So was it all worth it? Hell yeah. Itâs the best festival in the UK, in my opinion.

That is from the view point of an eclectic mix of music on offer, and the vast choice over 4 huge stages. Plus the comedy tent, fairground, zillions of stalls and probably areas I have not even visited as yet. Now in its 16th year, so it must be doing something right.

Numbers down on previous years (circa 90,000 last year I recall), 75,000 people on each site each day in 2012.

There were a few disappointments when some big acts pulled out last minute. Dappy was a no show, indie rockers The Charlatans replaced him. Frank Ocean scrapped his entire European tour dates, inc V Fest, but the wonderful Wiley filled the Undercover stage tent in his place. Number one in the UK singles charts.

The biggest shock was losing Nicky Minaj, Saturdayâs headliner on the outdoor 4 Music stage. It was too late for the organisers to get a replacement, so they got DJ Fresh to come do a second set after his indoor spot. Rita Ora guesting on their hit song âHot Right Now.â Then they bumped LMFAO up to top spot, and extended their set. They pulled a huge crowd and delighted. Well deserving of the headline position. Bonkersâ¦.like George Clinton on LSD! Giant inflatable zebra x 2, giant pink teddy bear x 1, scantily clad big busted woman doing âexercisesâ with her ass in the air, robots with cardboard boxes for heads, etc etc etc â¦â¦â¦â¦.bizzarre antics, amazing costumes, great fun but fantastic music too.

The artists that were there didnât disappoint. I cannot think of one act I saw over the two days where I felt they were not as good as expected. Not one. I can think of some who were far better than expected though, and destined for bigger things, worthy of a better time slot and bigger stage next year.

Such as Belgian ragga/soul/funk artist Selah Sue, who had a small audience early on Saturday afternoon inside the Undercover stage marquee, as a relatively unknown act here. But one day all of those people are going to be saying, âI was there whenâ¦â It is difficult to explain just how good and how different she is. We met in her dressing room and she told me she has just signed to Columbia records in the USA. Her debut album has gone double platinum in her native country, platinum and gold in many other countries.
She has worked with Prince and many more big names who all tip her for big things. So do I. She is SENSATIONAL, would kill an audience of 90,000 on a main stage and gave one of the best performances of the whole festival. Read the interview in Blues and Soul soon - when once again we bring you the future superstars before anyone else has even heard of âem!

Talking of which; recent Blues & Soul cover star Rita Ora gets the award for hottest set. The âTent Fullâ signs were out early for her gig on Saturday afternoon. But, with the sun beating down on the giant blue marquee and circa 15,000 fans inside, it was like a sauna inside the Arena stage tent and the sweat dripping off you. But it was all well worth it as Rita was on fire. She told the fans she spent three years making her CD and was âglad to be out of the f****** studio.â She was excitedly waiting for the UK charts next day to hear if she had top spot. She got it.

Stooshe filled the tent for their spot, and gave a brilliant performance. Not just a pop act, they deserve to be taken seriously. All three are superb singers.

Beverley Knight wearing camouflage clothing and a necklace with the word âSOULâ on it. She could never hide her soulful talent. Sir Tom Jones was the surprise success of the weekend, when a massive crowd â the majority youngsters - went bonkers for his mighty performance. Faultless.

⢠My âBest of V 2012â: Tinie Tempah, Sir Tom Jones, LMFAO, Rita Ora, Childish Gambino (who was brilliant), Angel, Selah Sue and Random Impulse. Sue, Gambino and Rita tie for âvery best actâ of the weekend.

All Photographs: Simon Redley
Words SIMON REDLEY

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