Festival season has well and truly begun with Radio One’s Big Weekend which took place on the 24th, 25th and 26th at Middlesbrough’s Stewart Park. I attended on Saturday the 25th and Sunday the 26th. For those that aren’t aware the location of the Big Weekend changes yearly.

★★★★★ (5/5)

The festival saw many well-known acts over two stages as well as some lesser known featured on the BBC Introducing stage, which saw smaller acts get the attention they deserve.

Before the gates opened queues began forming and as soon as the gates were opened the arena filled in no time quickly with families and young adults.

Kicking off the festival was Mumfod & Sons on the main stage who are a folk rock four piece that have seen great success over the last few years. Lead vocalist had the crowd going with his iconic voice. I was glad they played their most iconic tracks; I Will Wait, The Cave and Little Lion Man. They had the audience singing every track without fail. Next up I went straight to The 1 For New Music Stage to catch the rest of Stromzy’s set, while watching his set there was a girl in a wheelchair who ended up on her friends shoulders which was incredible to see. Stormzy was full of energy and can say he’s gained a new fan! Included was recently released Vossi Bop and his remix of Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You.

Still at The 1 For New Music Stage it was time to catch one of the North East’s most talented musicians Sam Fender. This was going to be my only time to catch him this year with his Tynemouth show selling out instantly then four dates in December at Newcastle’s O2 Academy selling out in minutes. His set was brilliant, I’ve heard that he’s great live but he was just phenomenal. The Highlight of his set was a cover of Oasis’s Morning Glory.

After a pit stop it was time to catch the rest of the Amazons set, the four piece had the place rocking, I was gutted to only catch the final two tracks but it couldn’t be helped. Now it was time to go back to the main stage to catch Billie Eilish, a global superstar. Her set featured custom backdrop which looked great. She had everyone singing her lyrics and was full of energy with her bouncing all over the stage. There were moments where she’d take out her monitors to hear the crowd chant her lyrics. However, I had to leave her set early to catch one Scotland’s best musicians Lewis Capaldi who’s known for his heartfelt lyrics and incredible voice. As well as been an incredible musician he’s become known for his witty personality which was shown with him entering the stage to ‘Here Comes The Money’ with white confetti released into the crowd. Every track had the audience belting the lyrics back to him. I was thrilled he played Forever.

Time to get back to the main stage which saw Teesside’s own James Arthur. His set saw the crowd filled boro flags as the crowd welcomed him home. His set saw covers from Ariana Grande, Rudimental and also a cover of Impossible from Shontelle which is what saw his rise to fame. There was also the live Debut of Falling Like the Stars which was great to hear live finally.

With Jess Glyne dropping out of the festival, Khalid took to the main stage and what a set! His voice is truly incredible it’s no wonder why he’s so popular. The highlight from his set has to be Billie E¬¬ilish joining him on stage for Lovely. This had the crowd screaming in excitement. His set also featured fan favourites such as Unknown and Young Dumb & Broke.

After another pit stop it was time to head to the mainstage for Foals, their funky, catchy sound is what has led to their success. With the recent release of their fifth album Part 1 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, they were one of the main bands that I knew I wanted to see! Once on the stage they wasted no time beginning with On The Luna which had the audience dancing. Up next was Mountain At My Gates, one of their more well-known tracks this now had the audience singing. It was time for a throwback with Olympic Airways, it’s great to see a band still paly older tracks at festivals. The group continued with fan favourite My Number you could hear the echoes of the crowd belting the lyrics “You don’t have my number!” Their set also saw Exits and In Degrees played. During their second last track Inhaler red, white confetti was released into the crowd causing more cheers. The group finished their set with What Went Down, another fan favourite. Foals were amazing and It’s now confirmed that I need to see them at a headline show.

With the dilemma of having to pick stages I had my biggest one yet Bring Me The Horizon on The 1 For New Music Stage or Miley Cyrus on the main stage, in the end I decided with Bring Me The Horizon. The groups sound has drastically changed over the years from deathcore to metalcore to now rock. With the crowd filling up the atmosphere was incredible! The lights finally dimmed, the intro began ‘Welcome to Mantra, welcome to peace, welcome to spirituality, welcome to Freedom.’ The band entered the stage, then the crowd erupted as Mantra played. The strobes strobed, air cannons shot and the pits began. Next up vocalist Oli Sykes asked the crowd ‘do you know what a circle pit is?’ then group began with House of Wolves this saw carnage throughout the tent. Calming down briefly saw Medicine, but then the crowd was thrown back into carnage with Wonderful life, with flamethrowers firing and Sykes leaping into the crowd to start a moshpit. The band left the stage briefly as a shortened intro to Shadow Moses began with dancers waving flags. Sykes returned holding a flare, a reference to their music video of Shadow Moses. This saw the crowd again go into a frenzy screaming the lyrics “we’re going nowhere.” It was soon time for Happy Song this saw the crowd split the tent into one giant pit. With their set drawing to an end their finale was Thrown which the group getting the crowd to sit down then jump at once, with confetti released into the crowd. Although their extensive production wasn’t working for the set it was not disappointing there was a nice blend of tracks from their three most recent albums however an older track wouldn’t have gone amiss. They sounded great and Sykes vocals were on point. This was certainly a phenomenal way to close the evening.


The Modern Record