Festival virgins – why choose V?

If you’ve never made it to a music festival then it’s official: you’ve never lived. Well OK, OK that might just be a slight exaggeration; but come on, where have you been hiding?

For those of us who have spent summer after summer dressed in shorts and wellies, well we can admit to being festival addicts. There’s something incredibly moreish about camping out for two days in the most appalling, least fun weather conditions with litre bottles of cheap cider and the greatest live music ever, every day, every minute. In fact, who knows if it’s the greatest – music just sounds better when you’re outside.

So if you are looking to kick off your festival going life, then Licklist recommends V as a great starting point for a festival virgin. While the horrors of Glastonbury’s knee-deep mud and floating camp beds are etched in the memory thanks to the live footage, V Festival has a touch of class. There’s less of a sense of chaos about the whole event - although the mud will probably come anyway.  

Premier acts

Many of the stages, stands, acts and events at V Festival have a commercial sponsor, which has a double effect on the event itself. Firstly, because of the level of money the sponsors command, it means that terrific bands and acts can be signed for the event – the biggest, in fact.

This makes V the place for seeing the biggest mainstream rock and pop acts in the world at the present time. Sounds grand, doesn’t it? If you’ve heard it on the radio, it’ll probably be at V.

So, why else would anyone go to these festivals, you’re asking? Well, the secondary effect is that many seasoned festivalgoers take off for the outer reaches of alternative, unsigned and eclectic music, leaving V for the uninitiated. Over the years, V Festival has become a great place to whet your appetite for this style of entertainment.

In terms of organisation, it scores pretty highly on that front too, with sponsored food and drink stands, car park attendance teams, police patrols, campsites and campervan areas. Oh, and it’s in two locations – did we mention that?


It seems, back in the day when Brit rock was top, Jarvis Cocker (of Pulp fame) decided that he wanted to perform in two separate outside venues on two consecutive days. Since Pulp and Jarvis were commanding a serious amount of influence back then (some time in the darkness of the 90s), his wish was granted and V96 was born.


Weird though it sounds, the two locations are a pretty big distance apart. The idea isn’t that the spectators go to both locations; it’s more an opportunity to give both southerners and northerners a chance to see the same acts without having to travel 500 miles. Hylands Park is based in Essex, and Weston Park is in the ‘north’ (actually, it’s the Midlands).


V operates with at least four ‘main’ stages and some smaller ones, so the biggest acts can be viewed by the largest numbers and people can pick and choose their way around the rest.

The three biggest stages are the Arena Stage, the Virgin Media Stage, and the 4Music Stage. These will house the massive everyday acts that you hear on the radio; the ones that you can be proud to say you saw live. The Undercover Stage allows for slightly less mainstream music – acid jazz, hip hop, grime, electronica, dubstep; all the stuff you like, but your mum hates.

Oh, and did we mention the comedy? The latest comedy acts abound in the Glee Club Comedy Tent at V, rocking the festival with laughter and giving everyone the opportunity to see some of the best comedy talent in the UK at the time.

2014 line-up

So, the reasons to visit V this year are many and various and the European Festival Exclusive is certainly not the least of them. This is where you will find super-slick Justin Timberlake and the totally dope Killers. There’ll also be performances from Rudimental, Ed Sheeran, Example, Kaiser Chiefs, Elbow, Tinie Tempah, Chase & Status, and anyone else that you’ve heard on the radio in the past year.