V Festival will kick off this weekend (August 22-23), with the Kasabian headlining – one of their last gigs before some well-deserved rest, after a mammoth tour for latest album ‘48.13’. Calvin Harris, The Courteeners, Chvrches and Mark Ronson will all be present and correct, too, so there’s plenty to be excited about. Let’s look back at the 2014 edition of the two-day event, held between Chelmsford and Staffordshire, which featured The Killers, Lily Allen, Elbow, Kaiser Chiefs, Miles Kane and Blondie.
The festival was headlined by The Killers, who debuted a cover of Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’ for UK fans during their first show in Staffordshire on Saturday night (August 16).
Their version of Azalea’s hit single saw drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr doing what Brandon Flowers described as an “interpretive dance” in time with the music. He also changed the song’s “from LA to Tokyo” line to “from Vegas to Staffordshire,” reflecting the location of the festival.
Prior to headlining V Festival, The Killers played an intimate show for fans in Liverpool. The Las Vegas group played a 19-song set to a relatively intimate crowd of just over 1,200 in the city’s O2 Academy.
The Killers‘ two sets included songs from throughout their career, opening their set on Saturday night in Weston Park with ‘Mr Brightside’ and in Hylands Park on Sunday with ‘Somebody Told Me’.
Lily Allen commented on recent rumours that she had split from husband Sam Cooper by prefacing ‘As Long As I Got You’ by saying, “this song is about my husband who I love very much and I am definitely still married to”. She also joked that she’d “always had a close connection with Chelmsford – it’s where I bought my first car and crashed my first car on the same day.”
Katy B played to a sizeable crowd on the MTV stage. Performing tracks from her debut and recent LP ‘Little Red’, the singer played the likes of ‘Lights On’ and ‘On A Mission’ to a receptive audience.
Chloe Howl fared less well earlier in the day ahead of Katy B, playing to an almost empty tent on the Futures stage.
Chic legend Nile Rodgers played a hit-packed set. Dressed all in white, he also joined Sam Smith during the chart-topping singer’s set, for a version of ‘Together’.
Ella Eyre played to a packed out Arena stage. The ‘Comeback’ singer will be heading out on her own headline tour of the UK this October.
Elbow treated the twin sites to a typically emotive set, playing classic songs as well as material from their most recent album, ‘The Take Off and Landing of Everything’.
Ed Sheeran was branded a “bad motherfucker” by Justin Timberlake during the US pop star’s headline set. Using a loop pedal, Sheeran layered in different sonic elements, the tracks changing shape as he shifted focus from an echoed backing vocal to a rattling crack of plectrum on guitar body, usually while singing or rapping over the resulting construction.
Blondie‘s Debbie Harry added some on-the-hoof improvisation to the mix. An errant in-ear monitor caused her problems through the first half of ‘Hangin’ On The Telephone’, so she stopped singing and delivered the next lines – “It’s good to hear your voice, I know it’s been so long/If I don’t get your call then everything goes wrong” – in a pointed conversational deadpan.
Justin Timberlake injected some Hollywood glamour into the festival, wearing a pork-pie hat and a trim Tom Ford suit, with a big band behind Cotton Club-style music stands.
The singer noted while looking out at the crowd during a brief break between songs, “there’s so fucking many” people. After posing for a selfie with a member of the crowd he played a snippet of his Jay-Z collaboration, ‘Holy Grail’, complete with Nirvana lifts, covered the Jacksons’ ‘Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)’, and then played a version of ‘Take Back The
Kaiser Chiefs followed the Red Devils parachute team, who dropped in on V in the mid-afternoon sunshine. Ricky Wilson opted for maximum effort, repeatedly sprinting back and forth across the full width of the main stage during an extended, overhauled ‘Oh My God’.
Kaiser Chiefs went to Number 1 in the Official Albums Chart earlier his year with their latest album ‘Education, Education, Education & War’.
Janelle Monae put on one of the most thrilling shows of the weekend as well as matching her backing singers in slick monochrome attire.
Miles Kane went for a 1980s gangster look at V, sporting close-cropped hair, aviator shades, leopard print shirt open halfway down his chest and dangling gold jewelry.
Kiesza played her very first V Festival on the same weekend that her new single ‘Giant In My Heart’ went Top Five in the Official Singles Chart.
Foxes – the stage name of Louisa Rose Allen – proved that her spirit animal was actually a sad ostrich, going by the look of the jacket that she wore onstage at V.
An energetic Example indulged in some onstage acrobatics during his set.
Rudimental staged a soundclash at Chelmsford with Hospital Records. The band are currently working on the follow-up to their mega debut ‘Home’.
Rita Ora covered songs by both Coldplay and Beyoncé during her set, singing ‘Magic’ and mashing it up with ‘Drunk In Love’. She also managed to score not one, but two Gwen Stefani lookalikes in her gang of backing dancers.