Returning to the Southampton Common on Sunday, the festival was just as busy as the day before, with punters turning out in force despite the fear of rain.
We first headed over to the Uncommon stage and watched one of the battle of the bands winners, The Costellos. Despite the clear youth of The Costellos, they seemed to find it almost laughably easy to have a stage presence to match that of a band with several years of experience; their swagger and chemistry enabled them to pull off a slick set of infectious indie. Their influences – a notable one being Miles Kane – are easy to spot, but it seems likely they’ll effortlessly forge their own identity in the coming years.
Over on the main stage punk duo Slaves put on a brutal performance, complete with a man in a mantaray outfit jumping into the crowd during song ‘Feed the Manataray’. Blasting through their set, which featured singles ‘Hunter’ and ‘Cheer up London’, they well and truly woke up any of the crowd who were still feeling tired after the previous night’s various after-parties.
Despite a few technical hitches with the sound levels, Years & Years put on an animated set on the main stage, storming through their well-known hits like ‘Desire’ and current single ‘Shine’, and closing with their number one ‘King’. It’s testament to the trio’s rise to success that even though this was their first time on the main stage at a festival, they still had a hefty crowd singing along to every word.
Southampton locals Band of Skulls took to the main stage after, opening with a rocked up version of ‘Oh When the Saints’ and keeping the energy level ramped up throughout their set. Having played Radio 1’s Big Weekend at 2pm, and taking to the main stage at Common People at 8pm, Clean Bandit should be applauded for managing to put on two incredible sets, so far apart, in one day. Over in the Big Top Rob da Bank played to a packed out tent, impressing with his slick mixing.
The act everybody was talking about throughout the weekend was Grace Jones, and just quite what she’d be including in her set. Arriving on stage in striped body paint (and not much else), she exceeded any expectations the huge crowd watching her could have had. With ample costume changes, a man gyrating on a pole, a hat that created a disco ball effect and numerous head dresses, it was the most vibrant set of the whole weekend. She even brought out her legendary hoola hoop for her finale track, ‘Slave to the Rhythm’.
After another incredible firework display to finish the night, the crowds dispersed from the common either heading home or to one of the after parties organised by the festival (a fantastic touch, showing engagement with the local clubs). Common People was an outstanding addition to the UK festival calendar. The eclectic musical acts and a focus put on the event as a whole, not just the music, meant that it appealed to all ages, and that showed in the huge variety of people who attended. Here’s hoping that – as Rob da Bank has hinted – it returns next year!