V festival 2014 Chelmsford Saturday
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I didn’t think I would be going to another one of these but as they say, never say never. I was looking forward all week to this because if you asked me what would I rather do either shopping at Tesco’s and cutting the grass or spending a day out with some chums having a good chat, a drink and watching some live music, V will win everyday. As usual we started in the Evelyn Wood. A very pleasant watering hole, friendly and sells fine ales. Then we went to the festival, not friendly, no decent beer and decidedly getting greedier.

I can remember when I went to the first ever V and Richard Branson was on his soapbox how he was going to have a people’s festival, good bands, clean toilets all at a reasonable price. Well now when you go in, they search your bag for sandwiches and won’t let you bring any food stuff in. This I suppose is to make you use the eateries inside. I fooled them though and managed to get in with some polo mints, that’s sticking it to the man.

When inside you couldn’t help but notice the amount of missing people. In the local paper it said that 10,000 tickets were not sold, well I reckon if that was the case then 15,000 didn’t bother to turn up either. I didn’t go last year but the year before that you had to be careful where you walked in case you stepped on someone sitting down, this year you had to walk 40 yards before you got anywhere near anyone. It was also noticeable how few people were using the food outlets, there was no queue at all for ice creams and the bars were empty. Being a peoples festival I couldn’t get my head round having to pay £15 to use a clean toilet or pay nothing to use a proper shit-hole. The other thing was the makeup of the crowd. Lots of people my age, lots of under 18 girls but not many in between.

We missed one of the bands that we wanted to see, The Stranglers, I think that this is the third time they have been on and they are always on at 12. No chance to see them, even if you got in when the gates opened. We knew this anyway so stayed in the Pub. The first band that we saw was the Kaiser Chiefs. A very good band who seemed to have worked themselves from a lowly standing, up to headlining and then back down again. They are lots of fun, all of their songs are sing-along anthems and well worth seeing if you have never seen them before.

After this we popped to another stage and saw the Wailers, I think that only one of them was an original but the music is timeless. All of Brother Bob’s greatest hits here and just listening to the pulsating rhythms and shuffling your feet to the beat makes you realise what a great time for music it was back when I was a boy.

The next band were the ones that I had come to see, the Strypes. Think of Dr Feelgood but with a bit more of a Psychedelic tinge then you won’t be far from them. Starting with Mystery Man and finishing with Nick Lowe’s Heart of the City it was 100% pure energy. Great stuff, I can remember when you always got a few bands like that here but sadly not any more.

To finish our day out we saw Blondie. I have never seen them before but they rattled through the hits and threw in a couple of new ones. I am sure that Debbie was lip syncing some of it but the poor dear is nearly 70 and seems to have a lot more energy than me. We left early to get in for a few more pints in the pub, a good juke box made up for some of the rubbish that we nearly heard that day which ended up with me dancing to the best song from 1977 (I will get dogs abuse for this), Red Light Spells Danger by Billy Ocean.

Summing up I enjoyed my day out, especially when a couple came up to Maurice and wouldn’t leave him alone until they could have their picture taken with him. They thought he was one of the Stranglers. Will I go again next year, probably not? Unless of course I suddenly find out that the Foo Fighters are headlining with Iggy Pop, Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley and Stone Foundation supporting. You never know, you do really, looking forward to Cheryl Cole.

Duncan, August 2014.