V Festival pioneered the ‘twin site’ approach to modern major festivals when it launched in 1996, taking place simultaneously in Chelmsford and Staffordshire with the bands hopping between sites each day.
Originally, the festival took the name of the current year, with the first festival “V96” including a Warrington leg. It discarded its year specific name in 2003 since it has been known as simply the V Festival.
The “V” represents the Virgin Group, and began as another means of promoting Richard Branson’s companies. Like other Virgin products, critics will whinge that it’s just not the real thing, but the converted will rejoice in its forward-thinking approach, and that certainly includes us.
Many festivals revel in righteous ideologies, whereas V unashamedly proclaims that a bit of commercial sponsorship is an acceptable forfeit for a secure, mud-free site with low queuing times, premier league artists and one of the best party atmospheres to be found south of T in the Park.
Although predominantly rock music, the festival books a wide range of music and is probably the most likely amongst UK festivals to book some pop acts each year. Mel C, Dido, N.E.R.D., Sugababes, Atomic Kitten and Kylie Minogue have all performed at the festival in recent years alongside the likes of Muse, Razorlight, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Radiohead and Oasis.