A festival set in the surroundings of the beautiful Wollaton Hall (or Wayne Manor to those who have seen the blockbuster Batman films with Christian Bale), Splendour has become the biggest music-based Nottingham attraction and deservedly so, with well-known names such as; Pet Shop Boys, Scissor Sisters, Calvin Harris and The Specials who have performed in the past, to showcasing local acts that have gone onto big things, for example, Jake Bugg.
This year was a complete sell out, and it was easy to see (or not) as you looked up from the main stage to the hall and couldn’t pick out an inch of grass because of the amount of people there! They had all turned out to see the likes of Jess Glynne, The Human League, Jamie Lawson and The Darkness. Luckily, it was also a very hot and sunshine filled day, with plenty of craft beers and a flowing supply of ice cream available!
From pop to rock and reggae to hip-hop, Splendour is the kind of festival that has it all. It’s a true family affair that delights the young and the old with its varied music and entertainment. This year it was all about body art and henna tattoos – the queues were enormous!
Speaking of it being such a diverse festival, that’s probably the reason why this one works so well. Jess Glynne (who had to pull out last year) has a broad range of fans, especially within the younger generation, whilst many of the older crowd want to see the likes of The Human League and UB40. However, I am just generalising here, there are plenty of teens and twentysomethings who are into these classic 80s groups too, and plenty of parents who want to catch Jess Glynne – and if they weren’t into this music before, they are now!
Jeremy Loops has a stage presence like no other. He uses beat boxing (which he sometimes loops over and over, hence his name) with instruments and vocals, whilst Jamie Lawson makes you weep with his guitar riffs and wonderful voice. His set was nicely laid-back as the sun shone (very hot) during the afternoon!
“Jeremy Loops has a stage presence like no other, whilst Jamie Lawson makes you weep with his guitar riffs and wonderful voice”
On the Confetti stage, Stiff Little Fingers entertained the punks and rockers who’d grown up with their music. Nostalgia was in the air as the audience re-lived their rebellious youth. Still, the band might be a bit older now, but they certainly knew how to move and get the electricity pumping throughout the crowd.
Confetti stage headliners, The Darkness, absolutely nailed their 60 minutes of pure energy. In all honesty, I have never been a fan of the band, but I was pretty impressed. It was hard not to be influenced and pulled in by the infectious vocalist, Justin Hawkins. He is a character himself and was obviously enjoying every moment, just like his audience.
Back on the main stage, UB40 had a dramatic entrance with each member popping onto the stage, one by one, with one member mouthing “wow” as he looked out over the sea of people – a breathtaking realisation just how many had turned up to watch them. It was noticeable that the guys were enjoying their set with big smiles, fun and dancing… Oh and they soaked us by throwing water into the crowd!
Vocalist of The Human League, Philip Oakey, was dressed in all black whilst the ladies, Susan and Joanne, wore white. The monochrome look certainly worked, and Philip left an air of mystery at the beginning wearing his shades. Their infectious 80s music was accompanied with the crowd dancing and singing back at them which created a fantastic vibe throughout the whole place.
The anticipation had begun building for Jess Glynne – you could feel it in the air. Having recently performed at Glastonbury and with a set on the way at V Festival soon, Jess has already earned a reputable name for herself within the music industry – I mean, her debut album went straight to number 1, and so have plenty of her singles! By this point the grounds of Wollaton Park had started heaving with people due to her being the only live act left to perform.
Dressed in a glam and glitzy yet comfortable looking two-piece, the beautiful Jess Glynne stood in the middle of the stage and the crowd roared as they spotted her. The catchy pop and strong vocals hit the right notes, with fans singing along and even those who didn’t know her bopping their heads. She knows how to entertain the crowd as a headliner, and no doubt she has an even bigger career ahead of her. She also performed the single Hold My Hand which everybody had been waiting for, amongst others such as Rather Be and Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself.
With festivals now available to attend up and down the country non-stop, Splendour is one that I can safely say is a must-see. What a fabulous weekend, and already I’m looking forward to next year’s. Bring it on!
Words & images copyright VanityHype magazine/AJ