Rumba! : Sydney Stadium Australia

It's a festival of pop shenanigans Down Under...

We're in nirvana. At least, the 45,000 barely-legal screaming teenagers at Australia's first ever summer pop festival seem to think so. A year ago this was the site of the Olympics, but today it's being used for far greater things. Soapstars signing autographs in sweltering heat. Fizzy drink manufacturers ripping off the kids at the Rumba! Mall. Look! There's Abs from Five! Emma Bunton! Craig David! The Australian Popstars! Shaggy! It's a pop-spotter's wet dream.

There's enough flesh on display, both onstage and off, to make even Britney blush. Especially when Kate Lush (winner of the Geri-oke competition to fill the gap caused by the last-minute cancellation of the real thing) arrives with six buffed male dancers in tow. Predictably, their garments come off to reveal, well, not much really.

The crowd, already in a spasmotic frenzy, greet the boys from Blue with thunderous shrieks of rapture. Blue dance in sync, sing in tune, do it all credibly live and even bring out Richard 'Abs' Breen to freestyle in a storming finale of 'All Rise'. Abs then risks his life by crowd-surfing over hundreds of lusty adolescents, and was last seen by NME.COM bound and gagged and being carted off to a secret location behind the bike sheds.

Meanwhile, Kylie's sent us a message via Rumba! TV, Lenny Kravitz has beamed in from New York to play a song, and Janet Jackson has told us all about a fan who sent her a jar full of semen and a photo of his nether regions, hilariously live via satellite. Craig David has no such anecdotes, but a stripped-down acoustic performance goes down surprisingly well, his comfortable R&B mixes fitting well with the balmy summer weather. Later on, Emma Bunton flits sweetly through her set and squeals "I can't tell you how excited I am!". It seems to be the motto of the whole crowd, actually, who have so far disappointingly managed to avoid being incarcerated, drunk or naked for the entire day. What kind of sick festival is this, eh?

In the end, it's Nelly Furtado who throws the kids a curve ball, with her indie/hiphop/funk and cover of 'Get Ur Freak On', which makes hers the best set of the day without doubt. Shaggy, a creature guided by his own groin, finishes them off spectacularly with naff 80s party tune 'Dance & Shout'. It's a fitting end to a clean, silly, but harmless day of fun - a bit boring then, unless you're eight.

Alicia Brodersen

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