V Festival - Saturday - Weston Park
When you attend a festival as a photographer you tend to only view the first three songs of each act you cover from the photo pit, as that’s what shooters are usually allocated. You usually wind up busy running between stages. As Weston Park’s V Festival was likely to be my final festival of the summer, I decided to make more of an effort and actually watch full sets over the weekend - while making sure I got the other bands I needed. It was a bit of a juggling act at times but it worked out well in the end, as I spent the Saturday taking in performances from The Wonder Stuff and Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott and viewing four full shows the following day.
Saturday stand-outs included my third festival season set from Scottish songstress Nina Nesbitt, Australian newcomers Sheppard and the always wonderful to shoot Rita Ora but the real highlights came from the Stuffies and the Heaton and Abbott duo.
The Wonder Stuff’s set came early in the day and was a short but sweet rush of energy, including a rollicking ‘Red Berry Joy Town’, ‘On The Ropes', ‘Oh No!’ and ‘The Size Of A Cow’. It was an excellent way of spending half an hour but I think they were just pipped at the post by Paul and Jacqui. The duo’s What Have We Become album is one of my favourites of the year so I’d been itching to view one of their shows, with their V stint producing terrific live renditions of ‘Moulding Of A Fool’, ‘DIY’ and ‘Some Dancing To Do’, but it was the pair’s back catalogue that had the crowd going crazy with Housemartins and Beautiful South classics just going down a storm.
I think Paul and Jacqui especially, were overwhelmed with the response they were receiving, with Jacqui’s ‘Rotterdam’ producing a huge singalong, causing the singer to grin from ear to ear! The crowd were equally vocal for Housemartins tracks like ‘Happy Hour’ and ‘Me And The Farmer’, with sublime South oldies ‘Old Red Eyes Is Back’, ‘Prettiest Eyes’ and ‘Good As Gold (Stupid As Mud)' also going down a treat. You can forget how much these songs are adored by the general public and how popular The South were back in the day.
The band’s Carry On Up The Charts compilation was a 5x platinum album in the mid nineties, with one in seven British households believed to own a copy at the time! I’m sure many of the owners had squeezed their way into the V Arena tent anyway, as the pair received an unbelievable reaction throughout their set’s duration, with final song (and number one single) ‘Caravan Of Love’ a perfect way to end a fantastic performance.
The Wonder Stuff
Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott