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Live Music Review: Splendour 2017 at Wollaton Park

31 July 17 words: Hannah Parker

We got rained on, but still got down, at Nottingham's Splendour Festival...

photo: Dan Skurok

 

By midday on Saturday, the sun was shining. BBC had changed their forecast to dry all day. Attendees had decided against the wellies and there were shorts and sandals everywhere you looked. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the crowds of happy sunglasses-wearing Splendour fans, a dark, ominous cloud was on its way.

But enough of that. Let’s celebrate the acts that were lucky enough to perform while the sun was still shining.

The Confetti stage was the place to be early on in the festival. The five-piece band, Easy Life started the day with their cool exterior. But their catchy songs got the atmosphere going and the crowd energised, ready for the long day ahead.

Image: Tom Morley

Josh Wheatley was next, and having been a Confetti student, he had a special connection with this particular stage. He performed on the acoustic stage in 2016, so expressed his excitement to have the opportunity to perform to a larger crowd. His smooth, easy-listening style of music fit perfectly with the warm, sunny weather and there wasn’t a single foot not tapping away by the end of the set.

Bud was up after Josh, and she graced the stage in a colourful, flowy outfit that matched the festival vibe. Her beautiful voice matched with her fun, energetic songs, plus the genuine love she clearly has for performing live made her performance simply infectious.

This was the final performance that the sun stuck around for. As rockers all over gathered at the Confetti stage for Buzzcocks, that inevitable dark cloud came looming over Wollaton Park. The brollies went up, the ponchos were taken out of bags and everyone stared at the sky, praying to see a break in the clouds. The break never came, but Buzzcocks did.

Like true rock stars, they took the stage by storm and made every fan forget about the sudden downpour. Although they’re no longer spring chickens, they certainly haven’t lost their excitement for performing, and were easily one of the most fun bands of the day.

Now, let’s not forget about the main stage. It sits at the bottom of the hill, overlooked by Wollaton Hall. As Gabrielle Aplin came onto the stage, however, she showed no sense of intimidation from the huge crowd still sticking around, despite the weather. Her stunning voice matched with her infectiously happy attitude on stage was what everyone needed to keep their spirits up.

The acoustic stage often gets forgotten about, being hidden away, but it hosted some fantastic talent. The male duo, Into The Ark, certainly didn’t let the rain put them off. Not only did they put on a brilliant acoustic performance, they were in the crowd before their performance, watching Gabrielle Aplin on the main stage. Solidarity.

 

Busted. photo: Dan Skurok

It was then time for the three lads that have had teenagers swooning for years. Busted were unleashed onto the main stage and it was clear how loved they truly are, when you saw the amount of people that had stuck around. The crowd was huge, their performance was huge – as expected – and the excitement was huge. They ignored the rain, and the crowd followed.

It was then time to move back to Confetti stage for one of the most surprising yet highly anticipated acts of the day, Billy Ocean. His popularity may have been at its peak in the eighties, but people of all ages flocked to see this pop icon sing. His voice was as smooth as it’s ever sounded, his smile lit up the festival, and he showed just why he’s classed as an icon of British music.

To say the rain just hadn’t let up, it was impressive to look around and see how many people had stayed for the big headliner of the night. You might wonder why people would leave before seeing the Kaiser Chiefs, but the temperature had dropped, it had become impossible to stay dry, and brollies were breaking all over the place. But for the majority of people, that wasn’t enough to send them home before seeing the rock legends.

Their performances are known to be energetic, and they certainly didn’t let their fans down. At times, you weren’t sure whether they were covered in rain or sweat, but it didn’t matter. They were the perfect band to finish a wet, but fun-packed day. Their raw talent, legendary status and lively performance ended the festival on a high.

Splendour Festival took place on Saturday 22 July 2017

Splendour website

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