V Festival: Being Backstage



Having the chance to go backstage during this year’s V Festival was not only an exhilarating prospect, but the fact that we did not really know what to expect from the experience was exciting, yet intriguing.Our excitement amplified when we went to collect our wristbands and we saw what we thought would be the first of many celebrities during the weekend! Joe Swash who plays Mickey Miller in ‘Eastenders’ isn’t the most high profile star, but we thought if he’s collecting the same tickets as us, there could be more star spotting to come!!

After collecting our wristbands we headed to the hospitality area behind the main V Stage to try and get an idea of what benefits we had being backstage. Listening to the Just Jack, the first act on the main stage, we had a look around the hospitality area, which consisted of a massive bar that didn’t require beer tokens; a ‘Posh Food Bar’ – that really wasn’t that posh, just expensive; and marginally more hygienic toilets than a portaloo!

As we sat with our beers, to the left of us E4 were filming for the weekend, so we tried to get as many photos of people they were interviewing, even if we did not necessary recognise them!

Obviously we didn’t want to spend the whole day backstage, so after watching Julliete and the Licks on the channel 4 stage, we returned to the backstage area, just to get a couple of beers ready for the Editors on the V Stage. This time there was a dancing robot singing Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’.

I was quite drunk so I got photos as proof as I thought this was highly random! I imagine there was a lot of entertainment like this going on backstage we were not here.

As Snow Patrol were playing we sat backstage listening to them which was a good way to enjoy them as they aren’t the most exciting band in the world! Not much was happening in the hospitality so we soon returned to the V Stage to position ourselves for the Foo Fighters.

We returned to hospitality one more time during the night, which was just after the Foo Fighters as the area stayed open until 12. After having a beer in which was a chilled out atmosphere with people mingling inside the bar area, we left for home waiting for a repeat of the fantastic day we had just had.

The Bands

The first band we went to see was Juliette and the licks. Watching from the back of the crowd, I was quite sceptical about watching these as I had heard some of their stuff before and was not much of a fan. However I feel they put on a show on stage as Juliette Lewis the lead singer came out dressed in outrageous fashion and was always lively throughout the performance.


We then headed to a populous V stage to watch the Editors. We tried to get as close to the front as we could, pushing past people to gain a better atmosphere, but for the time of day they had acquired many fans. They did not fail to disappoint on the big stage either as they produced a comfortable and professional performance which perfectly complimented to two bigger acts, Snow Patrol and Foo Fighters, who were headlining later on.


I was quite excited about going to watch 3-piece band from Liverpool, The Wombats. Tipped as a new and up and coming band they performed in the Virgin Union tent and produced a fantastic and energetic performance. After all 3 sang a brief and unique intro, they played their only current single, ‘Kill the Director’ which really got the fans going for the rest of the performance. Also they brought out the band mascot ‘Cherub’, a cuddly toy Wombat, who seemed to be a favourite amongst the crowd. I think and hope that they could be back in a few years and performing on a bigger stage if, as predicted, there debut album sounds anything like their live performance. After watching them we saw the lead singer outside of the tent, and asked for a photo.

I asked when we could expect to see there album out and he promised the end of October. These were my favourite performance of the day which made it even better that we got to talk to the lead singer!

8/10 We then went over to watch Babyshambles perform. I was looking forward to seeing Pete Dogherty perform live as so much gets said about him in the press. However after watching him and seeing how he looked on stage, it was little surprise to find out he had been arrested just a day later for possession of drugs. Still it was a sound show and I am glad to have had the opportunity to see live.


Not being a massive fan of Snow Patrol, I decided to listen to these from backstage. They are a very good band to relax to and were perfect to listen to backstage with a couple of pints sitting on the grass. I’m sure they produced a mesmerising and relaxed performance in preparation for the Foo Fighters.


The headliners Foo Fighters did not fail to impress. Having not being a huge fan before seeing them, I now appreciate their music and have listed to a lot more of them. Lead singer Dave Grohl was at his best and even managed to aim a jibe at Juliette and the Licks, as they kicked him out of their band. Wouldn’t they love to be headlining and to have sold over 20million albums world wide now! You can see where the success of the Foo Fighters comes from as they were at ease and looked experienced and vigorous throughout. Being quite close to the front was a privilege so we could really take in the atmosphere, aurora and enthusiasm of an energetic and probably half drunk crowd! Having seen the Foo Fighter, they have gained yet another fan, and hopefully they keep producing how they are now.




We spent less time backstage Sunday as there were many acts I wanted to see and was moving about to go and see them. Before going behind the V Stage, we went to try and get into another Backstage area, behind the Virgin Union tent. However we were quickly told that the area was for ‘gold wristband members only!!’ Ours were Orange – not good enough obviously!

After watching the Cribs we went backstage and managed to see the lead singer of the Guillemots doing an interview on camera! At first we didn’tknow who it was so we asked a woman who looked like the producer of the program and she let us know! We both realised we had recognised him from an episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks we had seen a few weeks ago!!

We went backstage one more time after the killers played just for a couple more beers. Again like the end of the night on Saturday, everyone was talking in the bar, which stayed open until around 12.

The Bands

The first band we saw on Sunday was The Cribs, who consist twins Gary and Ryan Jarman, and younger brother Ross Jarman. The band from Yorkshire had just been touring America and let the crowd know that despite being in sunny festivals in America, nothing beats playing in a drizzly Chelmsford! The Cribs were a band in which we were excited about seeing after I had been listening to their 3 albums a lot recently, and having seen them on Later with Jools Holland before.

They ended up producing a magnificent performance on stage which led to intoxicated lead singer Ryan, downed his pint, took off his shirt and jumped in the crowd! They were a perfect act to watch to get the day going and were one of my favourite acts of the weekend!


We then went to go and see The Fratellis on the main stage who were also tremendous. Having just the one album released, they took on the main V stage and showed that there popularity is just, having being promoted from the Channel 4 stage to the main stage after The Feeling pulled out. The indie rock sound proved a hit and showed that The Fratellis are a great festival style band. I especially enjoyed my favourite song from the album ‘Got Na Nuts from a Hippy’.


The penultimate band of the weekend we saw was Kasabian. They are a hugely popular band and the only thing keeping people away this year is the fact that they saw them play at V last year. They performed well on the main stage and showed their festival experience with a good performance.


After the Foo Fighters performance on Saturday night, The Killers had a lot to live up to, to headline the main stage. The Killers produced a good performance which is highlighted by when they received a crowd roar when they played their illustrious song, ‘Mr Brightside’. Going into the performance as a big fan of the band, I felt that they were good on stage but nothing outrageous. They showed they are a world-wide renowned band with a comfortable performance but their was nothing like the antics that smaller bands the cribs and the wombats had produced this weekend. I think Foo Fighters were the better of the two headliners but that is taking nothing away from the Killers good performance.


Overall, being able to have the opportunity to experience the backstage hospitality area and seeing a few famous faces was definitely a weekend wont forget. The highlights of the weekend were probably the performances of the Foo Fighters, The Cribs and The Wombats who were all exceptional and recommendable acts to go and see live. All in all, V Festival keeps getting bigger and better and with festival fever hitting the UK at the moment, we can only expect to see greater and greater V events here in Chelmsford.

Alex Hyde and Mike Hadgraft Aug 2007