TF Archives

V Festival - 31.3.2007

Author: Jess Miller
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
After eleven years waiting in the wings, Australia finally became privy to the secret life of the V Festival world. Launched in 1996, the festival was the brainchild of entrepreneurial madman, Richard Branson, who decided he needed his fingers in yet another financial pie and subsequently developed a festival with quite a different agenda to those we generally see hit our Aussie-bronzed shores.

It's no secret the line up was nothing short of sensational. Or was it- The beauty of 'V Fest' was a kind of unassuming anticipation exacerbated not only by the fact that headliners were still being announced a month out from the show, but also by the fact that the show seemed to garner almost a negligible amount of hype.

It didn't even sell out.

Despite the official media launch happening in November last year, on the surface, it appeared that no one could care less.

And what a faux pas for the festival goer. Imagine appearing to not care less about the Pixies, Beck, Groove Armada, the Pet Shop Boys, Jarvis Cocker, Gnarls Barkley, Nouvelle Vague, the New York Dolls, The Rapture, 2ManyDJs, Phoenix, Soulwax, to name just a few (a few- -ed).

How did we become so jaded- V Festival's lack of hype brought with it surely one of the most stellarly eclectic and ambitious line-ups since the 1992 Big Day Out. There were musicians in Sydney on Saturday responsible for entire musical movements, not just a lucky break on a catchy tune. Not only that, the chances that some of them come here again are less than slim-to-none. It's a humbling thought.

But on to the details:

Sydney has not been particularly forgiving in its media coverage of large-scale events of late, particularly ones that attract the youth demographic. They seemed to have overcompensated for a lot of negative energy with a massive injection of security funding. Having said that, though, after the events of Good Vibrations (also in Centennial Park), who can blame them- And they do make a bit of a difference - the crowd was surprisingly calm, especially considering the bar line was an hour long, and the toilet was no better. There were a few scuffles over public urination that I saw, but even these were very restrained.

So the day kicked off, officially, at 12:30pm - how civilised, with the Sea Bellies and Mercy Arms. All reports were in the green from those who could recall. Most punters who managed to get through the gates in time headed straight for the sunshine directly in front of the Modular DJs set at the Virgin Mobile Venue and stayed there until the big guns started being pulled between the main stages: This Stage, and That Stage - which for all its simple intentions, generated a huge amount of confusion by the end of the night...

The real fun started at around 4pm with the Nouvelle Vague who came beautifully prepared with their quite crazy mix of 'art house' bossa nova to get the audience in the mood. In fact, the warmth of the sun, combined with their chilled-out-but-interesting set was a great combination, despite, I think, maybe going over the heads of the crowd a bit.

However, they really couldn't have been scheduled better, as the Nouvelle Vague crowd formed the base (and swelled to at least three times its original size) for Gnarls Barkley, who, thanks to a 30-minute delay, had produced so much anticipation that by the time he actually started, the crowd was more than ready for lift-off. And he certainly didn't disappoint. He stuck mostly to the hits, which I suppose was almost everything from the 2006 release 'St. Elsewhere'. The beauty of only having one album (albeit highly successful) is that the set list becomes very uncomplicated and almost guaranteed to please. He made up for his late start by running overtime and, dressed in profes