V Festival 2016 was set to be impressive – not only did it boast a line-up that included world-wide sensations Rihanna and Justin Bieber but it also saw the festival commemorate its 21st anniversary. In celebration of the milestone BBC Radio 1 hosted an impressive array of DJs, including DJ EZ, Danny Howard and Eric Prydz on a new Summer of Dance stage on Friday evening.
The first full day of the festival began with Joe Jonas’ new band DNCE making a surprisingly early-in-the-day appearance on the Main Stage, performing their hit single ‘Cake by the Ocean’ and a cover of, (surprise surprise), Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions’ to an underwhelming crowd.
Later James Morrison graced the Main Stage and proved that despite his recent absence from music, his talent is still apparent and so is his fan base. Changing the vibe somewhat drastically, the next artist to appear was Skepta – a last minute addition to the festival having replaced Halsey only a matter of days before. Despite this Skepta did not disappoint, drawing one of the biggest crowds seen all weekend. He clearly gave his absolute all in the performance and even took the time to get emotional and thank the audience for coming. ‘Shut Up’ – his most well-known single – saw the entire crowd embrace grime, a genre that has previously struggled to penetrate the mainstream.
Next up was Jess Glynne who as always displayed her stunning vocal range and brought the audience through a variety of emotion as she played the stirring ‘Take Me Home’ as well as the upbeat ‘Hold My Hand’.
Also on the Main Stage that day was Bastille who performed the stand out set of the entire weekend; making it up to fans who had been disappointed by the poor sound quality of their set at Reading Festival 2015. They showcased some brand new material amongst golden oldies such as ‘Pompeii’ and their cover of ‘Rhythm of the Night’. Although their set design was one of the most elaborate of the festival it did not take away from the band’s energy or frontman Dan Smith’s impressive vocals.
Swapping to the much smaller stage, V Street, offered an opportunity to relive my pop princess past as the one and only JoJo performed her classic ‘Too Little Too Late’ to an impressive crowd of 90’s babies who sang-along to every word.
All people could talk about however was the highly anticipated performance from JB himself – especially when a helicopter was spotted overhead during Bastille’s set. The mood was high amongst festival goers after thousands flocked from Tinie Tempah’s show on the MTV Stage to catch a glimpse of the Bieb. Tinie Tempah had treated his adoring audience to hit after hit and even brought out Jess Glynne to join him on their collaborative single ‘Not Letting Go’ as well as a Mariachi band for new track ‘Mamacita’.
Finally the time came for Justin Bieber’s set, which was controversial to say the least – miming (and badly at that) the entire show and only dancing when he absolutely had to, fans left the arena bitterly disappointed. Admitting he was “very hungover” 20 minutes in, Bieber mumbled his way through practically the entirety of his latest album ‘Purpose’ and continuously referred to the crowd as “London” despite the fact V Festival Hylands Park is actually in Chemlsford, Essex. JB did treat the audience to a Kanye style rant however, as he introduced his track ‘Children’. Drivelling on about fish and chips, the value of life and how everyone in the UK is ‘real’ (as opposed to ‘fake’), people began to boo as he asked whether the crowd wanted him to continue his inspirational chat. Regardless of the terrible performance JB gave, at least the majority of the 75,000 people in attendance at V Fest can now say they have seen one of the biggest super stars on the planet make an idiot of himself.
Photo courtesy of MTV and V Festival.