Sunday at V Festival had the potential to feel like a major hangover, the type you get from a Jesters Monday. However, despite the sunburn during the day and the rain during the evening, the 21st birthday party kept going with style. Early birds who hadn’t partied all night in the silent disco caught Example on the Main Stage who as usual divided opinion regarding his ‘singing’ ability, with some crowd members commenting he should have stuck to rapping. Undeterred by this Example – real name Elliot Gleave – proved his fan base don’t care whether he sings or raps as he attracted one of the largest Sunday crowds.
Switching arenas to the MTV Stage produced the beautiful vocals and effortless piano playing of Tom Odell who treated the relaxed crowd to his new single ‘Magnetised’ alongside gorgeous renditions of his hits ‘Another Love’ and ‘Grow Old With Me’.
Dashing back to the Main Stage saw the end of Little Mix’s powerful set. The girls have certainly come along way from their put-together X Factor days: their entire performance was perfectly choreographed and they even mashed-up a selection of covers including ‘Crazy In Love’ and ‘Hotline Bling’. They ended the set with a special appearance from Lethal Bizzle, who had followed in Stormzy‘s footsteps earlier in the day by celebrating grime on the MTV Stage whilst the hoards of people in the crowd tried to ‘dab’ along.
Running back to the MTV Stage again I was allowed an ‘indie’ moment in a festival so ‘pop’ it might actually pop. Jake Bugg as usual was excellent, but unsurprisingly his set was completely underappreciated by a tiny crowd as the majority of festival goers were dancing their hearts out to David Guetta on the Main Stage. Guetta, like most of his career, produced banger after banger accompanied by fantastic special effects and a spectacular light show. Audience members were continuously reminded just how long Guetta has dominated the charts with classic summer hits such as ‘Memories’ and ‘When Love Takes Over’ resurfacing throughout the set. The French DJ was the perfect man to warm up for the main event that evening, the final act of the anniversary celebrations, Rihanna.
The singer and world renowned superstar certainly knew how to keep her fans waiting – arriving onstage to a White Stripes‘ ‘Seven Nation Army’ inspired chant from the crowd that included the lyrics “Where the f* is Rihanna?”, she finally began her set almost an hour late. However all was forgiven when she wowed the audience with beautiful, stand-out vocals in opening track ‘Stay’; vocals that have unsurprisingly earned her the title (for over a decade!) of one of the world’s best artists.
Dressed fiercely – and at some points mirroring Cruella DeVille – Rihanna’s set was haunting and dark from start to finish. The singer meandered her way through some of her biggest hits including ‘Umbrella’, ‘Run This Town’ and ‘Love The Way You Lie (Part II)’. These hits acted as fantastic sing-a-longs but were cut incredibly short, potentially to make up for the time lost to the endless wardrobe changes/earlier lateness.
High points of the show included singles ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ and ‘Diamonds’ whilst RiRi’s most popular recent single ‘Work’ didn’t seem to actually work, falling flat somewhere in the middle of the set. Sadly, lesser known tracks from new album Anti were left as closers, a move which saw the crowd rapidly diminish (especially as many had to leave imminently for transport home). Overall there is no doubt Rihanna gave a visually and vocally stunning performance on the closing night of V Fest; instead it was her set list that saw her performance fail to resonate as it couldn’t hold the audience’s attention until the final curtain.
Pre-sale tickets are now available for V Festival 2017 at a discounted rate until 02/09/2016.