Review: Day One @ BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend

Festival season is now in full swing with BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend kicking off things last weekend in Exeter. We headed down to the beautiful Powderham Castle on Saturday for the first day of the festival.

Having arrived on site later than planned, thanks to the delight that is Bank Holiday traffic, it was straight to the main stage for English dance duo Sigma. If you were looking for that summer feeling, then this was exactly the place to find it. Tearing through chart hits including ‘Higher’, ‘Nobody To Love’ and ‘Coming Home’, it was clear the crowd were here to party. With talk of the duo’s set featuring some guest stars filling social media in the build-up to the event, it wasn’t long before we were treated to an appearance from ex-The Voice judge Paloma Faith on the track ‘Changing’ which was met with much delight, but not as much as the following guest stars. Who would have thought there would be a day when pop stars Take That were collaborating with a dance act, but here we are! Closing the set with their new single ‘Cry’, featuring the first confetti canon of the day, the party was well and truly started.

Grime star Stormzy is one of the most talked about artists on the mainstream circuit today. Though not our cup of tea, it was clear that he was a lot of people’s, with a sizeable crowd filling the In New Music We Trust tent. The man certainly knows how to work a crowd, with almost overwhelming audience interaction between songs and an undeniable sense of passion for his work. Stormzy’s thanks and appreciation for those who had come to watch his set and supported not only him but all grime acts in the UK today was incredible genuine and is what many people love about the music industry.

Girl power

Girl power was present and correct at the Big Weekend in the form of many including Jess Glynne and Chvrches, we know they have male band members, but who doesn’t love Lauren Mayberry? The crowd seemed a little small for Chvrches, who put on a hit-packed, up-tempo set featuring tracks from their latest album Every Open Eye as well as fan favourites including ‘Recover’. Lauren Mayberry is a pocket-sized glitter-covered powerhouse and her stage presence is enviable.

Following Chvrches, it was back to the main stage for hit maker Jess Glynne, whilst passing the BBC’s Introducing Stage. The well planned stage layout gave festival goers the chance to take in some new and upcoming bands as you switched between the two main stages. Jess’ mix of dance tracks including ‘Hold My Hand’ and ‘Ain’t Got Far To Go’ alongside the beautiful ‘Take Me Home’ showed off her incredible vocal range and the crowd were in the palm of her hand. From start to finish it was difficult to decide if the most fun was happening on or off stage.

Bastille are a band who have been missing from our lives for too long, but they’re back. A mix of tracks from their debut album as well as a preview of two new songs from their upcoming second album, both of which sounded incredible, was the perfect come back. Having seen the band perform previously a number of times, there was something different this time about the band. A sense of development, boost in confidence and therefore stage presence equalled one of the best sets of the day. Plus who doesn’t love the opportunity for another confetti canon?

Mumford & Sons

Closing day one of the Big Weekend were folk rockers Mumford & Sons. Jumping straight into hit ‘Little Lion Man’ was one way to kick off the final set of the day, and what a way to do so. Following on with ‘Lover of the Light’, ‘The Cave’, ‘Believe’ and ‘I Will Wait’, the crowd were treated to hit after hit. The set stepped up a gear, if it was possible, when lead singer Marcus Mumford not only jumped down from the stage but cemented himself right in the centre of the crowd for a singalong. Closing with recent single ‘The Wolf’, day one was brought to a close in the most spectacular and firework filled way.

A wonderful celebration of today’s music scene which displayed the variety in genres and styles within it, BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend has started what is sure to be a summer of musical fun. 

Did you go to Big Weekend? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!