Highlights from V Festival 2017 in Chelmsford

Back in 1986, Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker said that he wanted to play two outdoor venues in one weekend – so in 1996, V Festival was born with sites in both the north and south of England. Now in its 22nd year, it’s a festival that certainly knows how to party…

Hylands Park in Chelmsford this weekend was buzzing with music fans, excited to see their favourite acts. Busted kicked things off on Saturday afternoon, bringing some serious nostalgia with crowd favourites including What I Go To School For and Year 3000.

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A sunny Saturday afternoon had the perfect summer festival soundtrack with Ella Eyre, James Arthur, The Vamps and Jonas Blue all taking to the stage as crowds danced and sang their hearts out.

Then it was time for more old school vibes as Craig David took it back to his garage roots on the main stage with tracks from his 2000 debut album, Born To Do It. He also showcased some of his new material and performed his popular cover of Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself.

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After that it was down to P!nk to really get the party started and flying onto the stage with fireworks, she certainly delivered. The US pop star first performed at V Festival in 2007 and as she belted out her hits, including U + Ur Hand and Fun House, it was clear she was glad to be back.

Special guest, upcoming singer-songwriter James Gillespie joined P!nk on stage for a stripped back rendition of Don’t Let Me Get Me, as the superstar declared he was the first person she could say she had met through Spotify. Gillespie has gained recognition online for his cover of the song and to hear the two perform it together was something extra special for the crowd.

P!nk reminded everyone that she’s still a rock star as she somersaulted above the crowd and closed the day with an energetic performance of So What.

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Sunday opened right where P!nk left off on Saturday night, with Clean Bandit continuing the party on the mainstage with their hits Rather Be and Rockabye.

Later in the afternoon, Virgin EMI artist Emeli Sandé performed an incredibly emotional set, showcasing her amazing voice. Guitarist Mike Davies stood in for Labrinth as she performed a soulful rendition of Beneath Your Beautiful, and the crowd were singing every lyric with her as she performed number one hit Read All About It.

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Stormzy returned to V Festival in Chelmsford on Sunday evening, after becoming a last-minute replacement at last year’s festival. Announcing that he wasn’t there to mess around, he performed hits from his debut album Gang Signs & Prayer as he declared ‘grime is taking its rightful place on the main stage’.

Over on the MTV Stage, The Wombats served up some more nostalgia as not even the rain could dampen fans’ spirits as they sang along to hits from the last 14 years. As the set closed with Let’s Dance To Joy Division, there wasn’t a single person in the crowd not bopping along. 

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As the weekend came to a close, it was down to Jay Z to finish off the party in true V Festival style. The king of rap took to the stage for his only European show of 2017, alongside a 40-foot-tall metallic Jeff Koons inflatable dog, and showcased tracks from his new album 4:44.

Closing the weekend, Jay Z performed Numb/Encore as an emotional tribute to the late Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, and the crowd sung their hearts out in his memory.

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It was a brilliant weekend – and one to remember for some lucky Virgin Red users who received real VIP treatment with backstage experiences for some of their favourite acts.

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