THOUSANDS of revellers singing along to every word of Ellie Goulding’s cover of Elton John’s Your Song – that has to be the highlight of my V Festival weekend.

Fans were bursting out the sides of the The Arena tent as the Starry Eyed singer took to the stage on Sunday afternoon, hours after being crowned number one with her latest single Burn.

I walked into the arena best described as an Ellie Goulding ‘admirer’ but left a fan, having heard the crowd sing along to hits including Figure 8, I Need Your Love and even pre-album release track Explosions.

Yeah, she sounded great, she looked fantastic and no one else I saw at across the four main stages at Hylands Park had the crowd singing along quite as much as Ellie.

And that is quite a feat considering the star-studded line-up secured by V Festival this year.

On Saturday night, world superstar Beyonce topped the bill on the V Stage in a performance widely criticised by the press.

Performing a belting set that had clearly been ripped out of her The Mrs Carter Show World Tour, the former Destiny’s Child singer pulled in the biggest crowd of the weekend.

Despite a 25-minute late arrival on stage, Beyonce wowed the merry crowds and there was just something iconic about seeing chart-topping hits like Crazy in Love, Halo and Run The World (Girls) performed in the flesh and live.

I couldn’t tell you myself, as my eyes were glued on Beyonce as she strutted her stuff and sailed through a wardrobe of different outfits, but I can only imagine the other stages were pretty empty throughout the duration of her set.

The atmosphere across the festival site was equally as lively for the duration of the weekend.

Billed as a family festival, as I wandered from stage to stage there were as many groups of ‘I’ve just left school and I’m going at my first festival’ types as there were families with children taking in the tunes.

And the line-up certainly had something for everyone, from up and coming hotshots on the Futures Stage to names known across the globe on the V Stage and the 4Music Stage.

Young Gabrielle Aplin is another name on my ‘to watch’ list following her short set early on Saturday afternoon.

Having shot to fame with her rendition of The Power of Love as featured in last year’s John Lewis Christmas campaign, the singer/songwriter showed she is more than a one-hit-wonder.

With a sound resembling that of a more mature band such as Mumford and Sons, she looked taken aback when the crowd sung the words back to her top-10 hit Please Don’t Say You Love Me.

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Two young fans enjoy Scouting for Girls' set.

X-Factor stars Diana Vickers and Lucy Spraggen also showcased their latest material on the Futures Stage and Essex boy Olly Murs had a slot on the main stage, demonstrating the talent that has emerged from the show in recent years.

Meanwhile there were plenty of well-established bands on show elsewhere.

Ten years on McFly were still on fine form as they played a reel of songs I’d heard on the radio throughout my teenage years, with classics such as Five Colours and Star Girl going down well with the crowd.

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The Script perform 'If You Could See Me Now' on the V Stage.

Scouting for Girls had young and old singing along to tunes including Elvis Ain’t Dead, This Ain’t a Love Song and the iconic She’s so Lovely.

A bit of a fan myself I particularly enjoyed the appearance of Posh Girls from their second album and the acoustic version of latest single Millionaire.

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Boyband Lawson open proceedings on Sunday.


I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with festival food.

In the past, I have always felt it’s such a punt when you choose which of the hundreds of catering vans are going to get your business.

V offered the usual line-up of delicacies, ranging from giant Yorkshire puddings to Chinese and Indian and spicy chicken – and judging by the size of some of this year’s festival goers, I imagine most did a roaring trade.

With food priced at anything from £6 upwards for a burger, it can be a bit of a letdown if it turns out to be naff.

But everything was different this weekend, when I stumbled across a tepee near the V Stage called Jamie Oliver’s Fabulous Feast.

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I can’t imagine they sold many copies of Jamie’s latest cookbook, which was stood behind the counter, but they sold me at least three burgers.

The food was literally out of this world amazing; it might have cost a tenner for burger and chips but this grub was better than some I have previously had in a restaurant.

Chips were thin and seasoned and for £3, you got a hefty bowl full and the burger was at least 15cm high with all of the usual fillings.

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I couldn’t stay away, as the gooey chocolate cookies (£2, reasonable) and chocolate brownies (£3, acceptable) were just asking to be eaten for dessert.

And a special shout-out to the blonde girl serving the food – she was gorgeous.


All the usual lagers and ciders were on offer at V, as was wine, soft drinks and cocktails in the cocktail bar.

At £4.50 for a drinks token – which could then be exchanged for your chosen drink – prices were as expected and in-line with London bar and club prices.

For the Essex faithful, however, some could have seen it as a bit pricey.

It was also refreshing to see bottles of Bulmers Original and Red Berries and Lime on sale as a Strongbow alternative.

Drinks were always cold, service was generally quick and the staff friendly.

Accessing V Festival

Buses were running throughout the weekend collecting people from Chelmsford railway station, around a 10-minute ride away, and driving them to the park.

A decent traffic management system was put in place allowing car access to Hylands Park from the A12, which connects Chelmsford with the M25.

There didn’t seem to be any major delays getting into the park when I arrived about 30 minutes after opening and it was pretty easy to move between stages to see different acts too.

News Shopper's V Festival round up

Star performance: Ellie Goulding – Young Song.

Keep an eye on: Gabrielle Aplin.

Don’t bother going to see: The Eels; what a racket, sounded tuneless to me.

Get your food from: Jamie Oliver’s Fabulous Feast.

Shocking moment of the weekend: Watching a teenage girl with a group of friends walk up to me, pick up a discarded slice of pizza that had been at my feet for at least an hour (and probably longer, it was there when I arrived) and demolish it. If she was on some kind of ‘dare’ then fair play to her, otherwise, disgusting.

Best advice to guys: If you’re going to pack a supply of vests, a deodorant wouldn’t go amiss.

Top tip for the ladies: Denim shorts should generally cover up all of your arse.

Tickets for next year’s festival go on sale at this year’s prices on Thursday morning at 9am.