1st (and LAST) visit to ‘V Festival’

Okay, so not all experiences on my bucket list live up to my expectations or are worth repeating, as this experience proved.  I had heard such great things about this festival, so I was looking forward to it in a major way.  V Festival run the festival simultaneously at two sites, Weston in Staffordshire (in the Midlands) and Hylands Park in Chelmsford Essex.  We chose the latter because, of the two, it was closest to where we live.

Watching Ocean Colour Scene

The acts looked pretty good.  I love KT Tunstall-and in fairness, she rocked, even though it rained during her set and she almost got electrocuted-bless her! She has a fab sense of humour and carried on regardless, making jokes with the crowd when her equipment broke and sharing the banter with her roadies.  I love that KT always interacts with her audience this way, and so did my partner-as he said-some of the music was great, but without that interaction-you may as well be listening to a CD in some respects!  My favourite memory of the weekend was actually of, dancing my socks off in the pouring rain with my guy holding on to me as we got so soaked through that I couldn’t even open my eyes at one point! Haha! I have been to several of KT’s gigs before with one of my best friends, but my boyfriend is also quite a fan of her music and it was really lovely to share his first time with him 🙂

We also watched Fun Lovin Criminals, Ziggy Marley (we wanted to watch Bruno Mars, but got SOAKED in a brief rain shower and ran for cover during his set), Morcheeba (I love Sky’s voice), Plan B, Razorlight, Kaiser Chiefs and Arctic Monkeys on the Saturday and on the Sunday we watched Noisettes, Ocean Colour Scene, a little bit of Ellie Goulding, Scouting For Girls, Manic Street Preachers, The Script and Rhianna; so as far as the music went, it was pretty great.  There were a ton more acts that we would have liked to have seen, but couldn’t because of clashes with other acts, but we had already seen Ellie Goulding, Jessie J, Cast and Example at Lounge on the Farm a few weeks ago any way, so those were  easier to forego.

We arrived on the Friday morning, and had heard that the trek from the car to the camp site would be quite long, so we deliberately travelled light.  I had also heard that the festival is overly commercial and dont like to let you into the arena with anything that they can’t sell you-and at £4 per drinks token this year (it seems to go up by £0.50 every year so far) I decided to get crafty and sneak in some contraband drinks to swizzle the money grabbing mofos!  I froze a ton of Capri sun sized pouches (I got these from a festival/camping website) of Mojitos and some other cocktails and kept them in a cool bag, and surprisingly, they stayed chilled right through until Sunday.  We also froze cans of beer and cans of Pimms & Lemonade, which my hair dresser had given me the thumbs up on (I had not realised they would stand up to freezing).  These were good for the camp site (where you’re allowed to have your own drinks, but not ideal for sneaking into the arena).  

The camp site was a total chav fest.  We had been warned by some friends not to camp too close to the front, of the site (nearest the arena), or too close to a path way or toilet… The smell of the toilets was literally unbelievable by the end of the weekend, and how people with any sense of smell managed to camp down wind of them at all is beyond me.  We were in the Red Camp site, which has fewer restrictions for cooking equipment, and is actually on site, but sadly it was just horrible.   

People were totally disrespectful of other people’s property, we even saw a heavy leather foot ball being kicked around the site by a lot of random young guys, and when it would smash into the middle of some poor innocent neighbouring tent, the saddo’s would cheer like yobs at the fact that they had managed to trash a tent.  Our friend had made the mistake of camping too close to the foot path near the front of the camp site a few years ago and told us that they had been woken a few times by passing drunks taking a pee against their tent.  Although I personally I didn’t experience any tent looting this time (probably because we hired a locker and left nothing of value in the tent) my camera and my brand new Ray Bans did get pick pocketed from my bag in the arena.  Ah well, I guess that’s why we have travel insurance! 

A Zebra With his pint

On the first night there, despite having set up our tent in the ‘quiet camping’ area of the red camp site (near security tower 11) a bunch of people who clearly had no intentions of letting anyone sleep set up camp next to us… I really have no idea why they felt the need to do this, since there had been plenty of room in the noisy area, but at 3:30am when their music was still blaring out at night club volume, I resorted to trudging over in my PJs to ask them to turn it down.  Thankfully they did.  I heard a few other disgruntled voices coming through the canvas of other nearby tents saying things to the effect of ‘bloody right too, selfish t*ssers, this is the quiet area!’  

At 6:20am we were then woken by some silly tart in the tent next to them shouting out “Sum people fink I’m bonkers!”  Ugh, she literally wouldn’t shut up.  I bought some ear plugs that day, and complained to the security staff at tower 11, asking them to please step in if it happened again, which they assured me they would do, but they were just as useless as the first night and I think at 4am I had to shout out to the same girl to be quiet.  We decided that camping again on the Sunday night was not an option, and packed up on the Sunday morning.  We decided that if need be, we would collapse the back seat of our estate car and sleep in the boot on an air bed rather than subject ourselves to the bunch of obnoxious selfish chavs who were there. 

Cracking costume

The other disgusting thing that happened, not just a little, but an awful lot at V festival was the rather charming ‘piss throwing’… Guys literally peeing into their beer cups and chucking it forward into the crowd.  One of my other friends went and had a pint of wee thrown directly at her head, and my partner also got hit during Rhianna… To be honest, after that, we’d had enough, and decided to leave the shambles that was V Fest.  It’s such a shame that V have allowed what could be a great festival, with some fab acts, to become a hot bed of hooliganism.  I wouldn’t mind betting that at least half of the guys there were probably looting shops in London in the London Riots a few weeks earlier.  

Both my partner and I consider ourselves capable of ‘roughing it’.  We enjoy camping, and loved Lounge on The Farm Festival, but this was utter chaos! The staff didn’t seem to have a clue which direction anything was in, the parking stewards directed us all around the houses and doubled the walk to our tent with all of our stuff because they didn’t know the lay out of the site properly, and the security staff were about as useful as a chocolate fire guard! 

We both came away saying that we would NEVER go to V Festival again.  So whilst it’s crossed off my bucket list, it’s something I’ll chalk down to experience and ensure that in the future, I do my research properly before buying tickets, and only buy tickets once I have the impression that the festival I’m going to isn’t aimed at people with the mentality of a skunk. 

On the plus sides, there were some cracking costumes again.  Here are some of the photos I took with my iPhone (I can’t share the one’s from my camera as some light-fingered nob has it 😦


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Emma’s Festival Fun Rating 2/10 – Yes the music was great, but for the price you pay, you expect that.  We decided that for the price we paid, we could have gone to several concerts of the acts we really enjoyed and avoided the hassle of dealing with the idiots at V.  You also expect the staff to give a damn, the site organisers to enforce their own rules in the camp site, and the security to chuck people out if they are seen throwing cups of urine at other people in the crowd!

Useful Tips:

  • Dont Go to V Festival unless you are a big fan of golden showers!
  • If you do get hit by a cup – the general rule of thumb is ‘if it’s cold-it’s beer, if it’s warm it’s pee’
  • Do travel light
  • Do take a pair of cheap sun glasses, and not your designer sunnies
  • Do take a hat (it may just protect you from a shower)
  • Do take Wellies – it was mostly beautiful weather whilst we were there, but it did rain for 2 hours, and the ground was a muddy mess after that
  • Don’t take anything you can’t afford to lose
  • Do freeze all of your drinks before you go, and keep them in a cool bag
  • Sleep with your expensive items under your pillow or in your sleeping bag-tent looting even whilst you sleep is rife at V.
  • Do hire a locker from Locker Safe.  It cost me £15 and although the locker was only just large enough for a purse, a phone, and a few keys and small items (about the size o a small shoe box) it did contain a car charger socket-which was great for keeping an iPhone charged rather than queuing in the arena and wasting precious music time
  • Do contact Wave if you have lost or stolen items.  They haven’t got back to me with my missing items yet, but it does at least offer you some hope!
  • Do cart your stuff around on a bag/trolley with wheels.  It took us 40 minutes to get from our car to the tent
  • Do go to the back of the camp site, and ideally to the back of the quiet area
  • Do take some Travel Johns, they may come in handy if the queue for the toilet is quite long on the camp site in the morning, or if it’s chilly at night.
  • Do NOT set up camp too close to a path way
  • Do hire a camper van or go Glamping if you can afford it and you enjoy sleeping
Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
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10 Reasons why Latitude Festival is Top of My Festival Bucket List for 2012

Lounge on the Farm Festival, Canterbury

Emma’s Charity Sky Dive

Emma ‘Wing-Walking on a Boeing Stearman’

Emma Learns Aerobatic Flying in a Stunt Plane

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Categories: Bucket List Item Achieved, Cultural Goals, Other Experience Goals


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23 Comments on “1st (and LAST) visit to ‘V Festival’”

  1. Sally
    August 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Just read your review Em, that’s such a shame, it looked excellent on TV, although at times the crowd looked very rowdy and out of control. I hope you have a more positive experience if you go to another one, Glastonbury is excellent, although so much more commercialised and expensive than when I went years ago. My niece has been to the Reading festival and said it was excellent. But that throwing pints of urine thing is no joke and speaks volumes about the types that were there. Maybe they need to raise the price even more to keep the riff raff out!!

    • August 23, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

      It is SUCH a shame Sally! A little bit more security (an I’m not talking heavy handed crap, just a push for some basic respect of others) would go a long way to turning it into an awesome weekend.

      And seriously, is it too much to ask for people that want to stay up popping disco biscuits and partying 24 hours a day to stick to the Goddam noisy camp site aimed at them?! There was one massive party tent that was like a marquee that had its own blow up sofas and a disco ball, that was clearly going to be on the go 24 hours a day-but they were in the right area, and nobody could object to that really, but if you set up in the ‘QUIET area’ it’s just respectful to be quiet… I am trying to assume that the morons couldn’t read, but to be fair security should have booted their buts into noisy camping…

      and yes, throwing pints of wee at people is just basically rough. Those people should be shown zero tolerance, and should in my opinion, be removed from the festival without a refund. That would soon curb people from doing it when you consider the price they paid for their precious tickets to chav fest

      I’ve heard great things about Glastonbury too, but have also heard that tickets are exorbitant, and getting hold of them can be quite stressful. Plus it does go on for aaages! Any way, it’s not on next year, so I think I am hoping for one of the following for next year:

      Larmer Tree Festival,
      The Secret Garden Party,
      The Hop Farm
      Green Man Festival in the Brecon Beacons
      Isle of Wight Festival
      Beautiful Days

  2. August 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Good grief Emma! It looks like you met all of the crazy people on this trip. I would not of coped with the flying piss! Eww! (Could that be counted as assult?) I know that I am stubborn, but I am not sure is would of stayed. You must be REALLY stubborn. Sorry about your camera too. I hope you didn’t have any important photos taken. I agree with Sally. Perhaps with a higher price they can actually pay for better security which will also help. I hope you have better luck checking off your next item on your bucket list.

    • August 23, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

      Dont get me wrong, there were some lovely people too. The people just next to our tent on the other side from the chavs were good fun. They told some hilarious stories and were nice company, but in all, the experience was just spoiled by a lot of people who’s basic idea of fun was set around the same mentality of the idiots who got off on looting a few weeks ago… Posting in the lost and found section of the festival forum, it’s clear that a lot of people were robbed or lost items that were not handed in.

      Unfortunately there were some very cute pictures of my little girl that hadn’t been downloaded from the camera yet, which is a bit gutting, but at least I have my little girl to take more pictures of. I’m not sure charging a higher price would fix the issue to be honest. Enforcing their rules and chucking people out of the festival for anti-social behaviour might just do the job. Ho hum… Next time I’ll know not to buy tickets for V… I’ll leave that for the chavs and chavettes

  3. August 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    Jeez, it looks like my experience was tame by comparison to this one:

    “Absolutely gutted to say this but I will NEVER go to V again after this weekend. It was awful. The amount of stupid little pr*cks that I saw was gob smacking. Fights all in the campsites, girl next to us had two lads jump on top of her tent and destroy it while she was still inside, they just ran off and laughed!! Everyone camped around her just laughed at her as well I honestly couldn’t believe it and let her sleep in our tent for the weekend, I felt so sorry for her. There were idiots starting fires in the campsites, people pushing portaloos over with people inside them. One guy in the arena was passed out on the floor and someone went up to him and full on booted him in the head and then ran off. We went home Sunday day because I just couldn’t stand being there any more!!”


  4. August 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    I’m glad I am not the only one who feels the same about V. Sorry to hear you got things stolen as well.
    My thoughts are here and not to dissimilar to yours: http://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/kim-stone/v-festival-virgin-good-but-never-again/10150338605644120

    • August 23, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

      Just to add you might want to skip to my closing paragraph and ignore the waffle beforehand!

    • August 23, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

      yep… Pretty much sums up my feelings too. Total scum bags. Should be called chaV Fest

  5. August 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    Oh Dear… Just saw this picture posted on V Fest’s wall… I think this says it all really!

    • Sally Ebsworth
      August 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      Are you being serious, did they really post that on their own wall to promote the event??!!!! OMG, I’m steering well clear, the acts were excellent and I felt tempted to go but I would never ever go having read about your experience. They should be ashamed of themselves, what on earth are they promoting it as then a club 18-30’s /orgy/Ayia Napa Fest? They may as well just put up screens of MTV and let everyone get wasted rather than bothering getting these talented people to attempt to entertain them. Was there an age limit on the ticket, can you imagine taking your children if you didn’t realise? They need to rethink the whole event, one of two things will happen, it will either become something that everyone has heard bad things about and doesn’t want to go to OR it could become an annual chav fest where they all love it. I cannot imagine that any decent artist would want to be associated with that, so they’ll all start declining future gigs (hopefully)having read the reviews. Was this the first one? I’ve never even heard of it before.

      • August 24, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

        In fairness no… A Facebook fan of the event posted it, and to be fair, the picture is funny, but seriously-people take their kids to festivals, and although this isn’t the most child friendly festival (clearly) I did see plent of little ones around, in buggies and running around-and this was apparently taken at about 1pm!!!

      • August 24, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

        Probably not the guy’s proudest moment. Someone on V Festival’s facebook page posted it with the caption ‘does anybody know this geezer?’

    • August 26, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

      Looks like Facebook must have deleted it now. Perhaps someone reported it as offensive?

  6. Ally
    August 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Hi just read your review of v and agree!!! We go every year but sadly this year attracted a real yob/chav kind of idiot!!! We were also in red quiet area and if you left on the Sunday you missed the worst of the yobbish behaviour by some fir the first time ever at a festival I felt scared and vulnerable I got up to see what was going on and was met by what seemed a bloody war zone!!!! But I’m still going next year in the hope that these morons were only attracted by some acts in the line-up!?!?

    • August 25, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

      Ally, I wouldn’t go. I am not going. Make a statement. All the time people keep going back, it will just be ignored. It’s too commercial, all V care about is money, and it wont get better because they wont spend money on effective security. It’s going to take for someone to get seriously hurt before they do something I think.

  7. Ricardin
    August 29, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    I’m really sorry for all of you that didn’t have a good time. Whilst this year the crowd did seem particularly young, I actually felt that everyone was in good spirits and respectful. Maybe for once I was in the right place at the right time.

  8. caroline
    March 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    sorry to hear you had a crap time! I just thought id read your review, after 3 years of weston park my friend accidentally bought us tickets to chelmsford so looks like im making my way down in august. generally my v experiences have been great but the proportion of dickheads has increased every year. especially last year with eminem (who I love but he does attract them!). hoping with the lineup being a bit more guitar heavy this year the chavs may go somewhere else! bit nervous about hylands now! its the same in weston though, loads of idiots this year being rowdy on the sunday to the extent that we left at 5 in the morning and got an early train despite booking one for the afternoon.

    • March 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

      Unfortunately, I think V just attracts them. I have a friend who reviews festivals for one of the broadsheet newspapers, and whilst she loves the music, she hates the piss throwing and refuses to sleep in the campsite any more since her tent was actually SET ON FIRE whilst she was in it by some drunken idiots who were so wasted that they decided to ignite gas canisters in the campsite whe was in for a laugh… She said it was THE MOST scary experience of her life!

      Now if she goes, she sleeps in her car. I think that says it all really.

  9. Anonymous
    July 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    You have to bear in mind that the type of music attracts more chavs, I’ve been 1 few times to both and never seen any hassle or bother, piss gets thrown no matter what the fest (having been to reading, Glasto and V sadly there are dick heads everywhere!!)

  10. September 10, 2016 at 9:14 am #

    I really wanted to go there but reading your article, do not know if I want it anymore even if it is only your experience. The line-up is still amazing every year…


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