V poor.

Now it might seem like I have a great time going to gigs. Fun-filled frolics with friends for all you alliteration lovers out there.

But that’s not always the case.

There have been a few truly horrendous nights/days/weekends and they have nearly always involved a large estate in Stafford.

When the V festival began, it started out in Victoria Park in Warrington, and Hylands Park in Chelmsford with bands like Pulp, Elastica Supergrass and many more. Fantastic.

Then it decamped to Leeds for a bit with the Chelmsford leg remaining a constant, before the northern section settled on Weston Park in Staffordshire.

And for a while everything was cool, It always had an indie leaning mixed in with a bit of pop, but year by year the indie acts began to get shaved and the mainstream chart stuff began to take over.

Nothing wrong with that. There was always some quality chart pop to watch – and who doesn’t love quality chart pop?

But the biggest change was the audience (music snob klaxon alert). With each passing year it seemed to become less and less about the music with a huge majority of the thousands in attendance seemingly oblivious to what or who might be on stage. Lairy gangs on stag and hen weekends, post exam result revellers having a break they would never remember and those who had swallowed a magazine guide on `how to do a festival’.

In the end I got fed up and declared I’d never go back even to see a re-formed Smiths. (That was an idle threat because if they did re-form I’d go anywhere to see them).

So I left it for a couple of fallow years until the line-up was announced for 2014 and there, headlining the Saturday, were The Killers – a favourite of both me and Mrs C.


`How bad could it be?’ I asked myself.

`Very’ I answered before I even got through the gates.

Even the car park was worse than any other. Gangs of lads roaming round obviously looking for vehicles to break into and not really hiding what they were doing.

The queue for the the wristband exchange wasn’t the usual banter-filled 10 minutes or so, but a pushing, seething scrum as if failing to get in right this minute would be the worst thing on earth.

So by the time me, Mrs C and regular Tony had reached the main arena we were already less than thrilled.

And it got worse from then on.

Handily some of the acts alleviated the general unpleasantness, particularly Rizzle Kicks and Lily Allen whose rhyming of Tesco and al fresco makes me laugh every time I hear it.

But by the time The Killers came on after a particularly dull Paolo Nutini set we were more than ready to see them and then get off.

And amongst the crowd members we could see in the dark, we looked like we were the only ones ready to watch and enjoy the band. We were completely surrounded by groups chatting, selfie-taking, updating social media accounts, and generally doing anything except looking at the stage where Brandon and co were working their way through the kind of Best Of… set that usually constitutes a headline performance.

Even the usually undemonstrative Mrs C was forced to throw her hands up in despair and ask `why did you bother to come?’ out loud to anyone who might hear.

So in the unlikely event of some Smithsian hatchet-burying and them deciding that V would be the perfect forum for their return I think I can safely say my days at Weston Park are definitely over.

I doubt they’ll miss me.





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