While I might consider myself something of a Festival veteran these days, arriving halfway through the weekend is something I’d never done before. Unfortunately, work commitments meant that this year we don’t arrive on site until early Saturday afternoon, a move which has both pros, and cons.
While turning up looking and feeling fresher than the hardcore contingent that have been camped since Wednesday has its pluses, it also means that this year we miss the likes of Liam Gallagher and Muse, whose respective sets were mentioned over the weekend with nothing but reverence.
Entering the arena for the first time this year, it’s instantly obvious that the atmosphere on the Main Stage for indie-poppers Two Door Cinema Club has been boosted tenfold by the weather, and the band’s bright and breezy indie anthems are lapped up by a baying audience. We make our way over to the BBC Introducing stage for Leeds locals The Golden Age Of TV, whose upbeat art-pop is yet another perfect accompaniment to the weather. Having come a long way in a short space of time, the band’s latest single ‘Television’ only feels like the tip of the iceberg, and you can expect much more from them soon.
Unsurprisingly, Bastille’s return to the Main Stage following their 2015 appearance is met with a rapturous response from a distinctly younger audience and as the sun starts to dip and the band belt out the likes of ‘The Things We Lost in The Fire’ and ‘Pompeii’, flairs are lit and more than a few people seem physically moved.
Elsewhere, Cigarettes After Sex offer an atmospheric and more laid back alternative on The Festival Republic Stage, though one can’t help but feel their overtly chilled ambient indie would be better suited to an earlier slot than the one they find themselves in. That said, the band make for an interesting discovery, and one we recommend checking out.
Back on the Main Stage, Kasabian hit the stage to a riotous response, opening with ‘Ill Ray (The King)’ there’s bucket hats aplenty and more than a few flairs considering their banned nature at the festival, it all adds to the atmosphere however.
Concurrently, You Me At Six followed up last year’s not-so-secret set with a blistering statement of a headline on the NME/Radio One Stage. 15 tracks filled that span the entirety of the band’s career, it’s performances like this that inspire the massive devotion their fans shower on them. Tracks such as ‘Loverboy’ and ‘Stay With Me’ are met with huge singalongs, while ‘Save It for the Bedroom’ is almost deafening in its crowd participation. And as huge jets of flame erupt from the stage, it’s abundantly clear that You Me At Six have come a long way from their be-fringed pop-punk beginnings and are fully deserving are the arena-filling realms they now inhabit. True modern day rock stars.
Back at the Main Stage, Kasabian close with an impassioned outing of ‘Fire’, and while the crowd loses its collective shit, it becomes increasingly clear that they’re a band I just won’t ever seem to ‘get’ and though they’re one of the biggest names in British music in recent years, I can’t help but ask myself, why?