At the weekend, pop royalty including Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Sia and more descended on Hylands Park, Essex and Weston Park, Staffordshire for the two-day pop extravaganza. From every corner of the site a chart-topping single was playing filling the airwaves, with the punters lapping up every second of it – despite the dreary weather. Check out the best pics from this year’s festival including Stormzy, Craig David, Bieber and more.
Clad in a set of extravagant outfits, DNCE – fronted by Jonas Brothers member Joe Jonas – opened the festival with an early slot on the V Media stage, getting the crowd going with their Top Ten single ‘Cake By The Ocean’.
Stepping in for Halsey – who was forced to pull out – South London rapper Stormzy treated the crowd to furious renditions of ‘Shut Up’ and ‘Know Me From’ as he gathered one of the weekend’s biggest crowds at the V Media stage on Saturday afternoon.
Jess Glynne had a tough task following Stormzy during her set on the V Media stage. For the most part she succeeded, with her piano-led rendition of ‘My Love’ proving a surprisingly intimate moment, as was closer ‘Hold My Hand’, which demonstrated her soaring and undeniably impressive vocal ability.
During [a]Bastille[/a]’s main stage slot, cuts from forthcoming new album ‘Wild World’ such as ‘Fake It’ and ‘Good Grief’ were clear highlights, as the latter fully embraced the freaky bass and massive choruses that have got them where they are now. An arena tour beckons this winter and with it looks like they’ll tackle them with ease.
Playing the MTV Stage, Tinie Tempah provided an ample warm-up for rave legends Faithless, who headlined the festival’s second stage against Justin Bieber. He dropped chart-topping single ‘Pass Out’ early on in the set to a rapturous response from the Essex faithful, but they went fully mad when he performed 2016 single ‘Girls Like’ featuring Zara Larsson.
Justin Bieber headlined the first day of the Hylands Park leg of the event, but was riddled with accusations of ‘miming’ by disgruntled fans – something that has since been denied by his camp. Nevertheless, his set was packed with hits such as ‘Baby’, ‘Love Yourself’ and ‘Sorry’, despite the Canadian singer admitting that he was hungover.
Reformed noughties girl group All Saints were on hand to give the Essex crowd a shot of nostalgia as the weather turned gloomy on Sunday afternoon, showcasing cuts from their original run as well as material from new album ‘Red Flag’ including the thundering lead single, ‘One Strike’.
Years & Years provided a masterclass in dance-pop during their set on the main stage as they cemented their place as one of 2016’s most festival-ready bands. With heartbreakers (‘Eyes Shut’) and club bangers aplenty (‘Desire’, ‘King’), their superb set which was anchored by charismatic singer Olly Alexander, suggests that they could headline the entire festival in years to come.
Little Mix followed as they celebrated both V Festival’s 21st celebrations as well as their own five year anniversary, marking half a decade since they formed on TV talent show X Factor in 2011. Backed by a fleet of dancers, the quartet showcased material from throughout their material including opener ‘Salute’, ‘Hair’ and their chart-topping single ‘Black Magic’.
Hot on the heels of his second album ‘Wrong Crowd’ entering the charts at Number Two, piano man Tom Odell attracted a rather large crowd for his set on the MTV Stage on Sunday evening. ‘Magnetised’, the lead single from the new album, proved to be the highlight of the set as it was bulked out with a full band who maximised the rhythmic piano to thrilling effect.
French DJ David Guetta warmed the crowd up before Rihanna, hand-picking hits from throughout his career including 2009 Akon collaboration ‘Sexy Bitch’ as well as this year’s UEFA Euro’s anthem featuring Zara Larsson, and setting them to a impressive and scorching light show.
Over on the Dance Stage during Rihanna’s set, R&B man Craig David brought his wildly-succesful touring club night TS5 to Hylands Park as he rave classics, provided some onstage banter and even sung a couple new tracks for the crowd. Later this year David will release his new album ‘Following My Intuition’, his first full record for six years.
On Sunday night Rihanna closed out the festival with a spellbinding 80 minute set. Despite arriving 25 minute late on stage, she still found time to race through some of her biggest hits like ‘Umbrella’, ‘Where Have You Been?’ and ‘Diamonds’, as well showcasing some of her best features on other artists’ work – including Kanye West’s ‘All Of The Lights’, Drake’s ‘Take Care’ and her collaboration with Calvin Harris ‘We Found Love’.
The set relied heavily on her latest album ‘Anti’, of which she played six tracks including the hypnotizing ‘Consideration’, epic ballad ‘Love On The Brain’ and chart-topper ‘Work’ (minus Drake). From the stage she thanked her fans and all of those who had supported her during her 11 year career thus far, but stopped short of getting to sentimental saying that she was being “soft” and that she’s actually “bad girl Ri Ri”.