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This Weekend myself along with tens of thousands of music fans decended on Weston Park Staffordshire for the 2006 V Festival. This was my fifth visit to the festival after 96,97,2000 and 2004 and I was really looking forward to seeing some of my favourite bands. What i didn’t expect was how wet it was going to be!!! Every year that i have been it has been sunny, but on Friday as I sheltered under a tree from the torrential downpour, it became obvious this year was going to be different, worst of all I didn’t have any wellies!! Thankfully the rain stopped enough for me to get my tent up which was actually waterproof. It then gave time to sit and ponder which bands I was going to see. This can become like planning a military mission, working out which bands are on which stage and when and if you can make it to the next stage in time. After this was sorted i went in search of Wellies, thank god for Millets, they had a stall and my size, no trench foot for me. Roll on Saturday.

Saturday

After a reasonable nights sleep it was off to see some bands. First it was off to the JJB Arena to seeThe Boy Least Likely To, an indie pop type band, the perfect start to the festival, there brand of upbeat tunes really got the crowd into the festival spirit, with the addition of their giant dog wandering through the crowd giving out balloons, helped the create a party spirit, unfortunately it was like a party where the police turn up and tell you to stop, when as they were about to start their last tune, single ‘Be Gentle With Me’ the sound man came on and told them to stop. As you can imagine this got a huge amount of boos from the crowd, it’s not like they were going to do a ten minute song.

After that bad end it was time to brave the pouring rain and venture over to the Strongbow Cider House. After queing to get in, I was hit by very loud cheesy dance music (not my bag at all) but after managing to find my mate Dave we waited for the arrival of Hayseed Dixie. A group of American country boys with a great line in rock covers, except they play them on banjos, violins and guitars. They didn’t dissapoint and the dance crowd in the room actually stayed and really got into it. The band did their fantastic version of Ace Of Spades (if you get the chance check it out) as well as Queens’ Fat Bottomed Girls and other rock classics as well as a few tunes of their own including one about Poop In A Jar (don’t ask!). When they finished twenty minutes overtime, they got a great reception, which was thoroughly deserved.

The one downside this year apart from the weather was the planning, it seemed that Sunday had a great line up all day whereas Saturday had spells with not much on, and so I decided to have look at a few acts I didn’t know, and get out of the rain! First I saw Richard Hawley, one time member of the Longpigs and Pulp. I didn’t really know his stuff, but quite enjoyed his performance, don’t know if I would buy his cd but not bad. Next I wandered into the Virgin Mobile Union Tent and watched a guy called Jim Noir. What a pleasant surprise, a singer songwriter in the vein of Brendan Benson and Ben Kweller, really upbeat songs i liked a lot and shall have to check out his CD.

As the weather got worse I couldn’t be bothered watching Hard Fi so had a break back at the tent. After a rest it was back to the JJb arena to watch Gomez, a band I have grown to love. In front of a packed out tent they played a mxture of old classics like Whippin Piccadilly to tracks from the new album. As I hoped a great live performance.

It was now time to brave the elements and go to the Channel 4 Stage to watch Starsailor, a band I have always wanted to see, and they didn’t disappoint. A great set featuring most of their hits, which went down really well with the crowd who deicided to watch them rather than Paul Weller. James Walsh showed what a great frontman he was getting the crowd into the music. I shall try and see them live at a venue.

The penultimate act of the day was Rufus Wainwright, the talented son of Ludon and brother of Martha. In the JJB tent with the sun going down (behind the rain clouds) was the perfect setting for his style of Piano and guitar led tunes. His voice sounded great playing sounds from his Want albums and other releases, and was joined by another of his sisters for a couple of tracks including the haunting rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. A great performance that despite being hijacked by the thumpin bass of Faithless in the background, still provided an amazing atmosphere.

Finally I had a big choice to make, Morrissey or Razorlight, now I would have probably said Razorlight as I liked their stuff, but in the end i chose Mozza. I liked the Smiths though I’m not a massive fan, but thought I would check out the miserablist, and it started really well with a mixture of Smiths classics and solo material including the excellent Last Of The Gang To Die. Half way through it became a lot of his new material which was okay, including one which i thought was a Radiohead cover at first. He dragged a few more Smiths songs out toward the end before finishing with a favourite of mine, How Soon Is Now. A great end to the set and the day.

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