Are V Festival line-ups becoming too predictable?

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Hollie Garraway, Daniel Fahey | 03 March 2010

Yes argues Hollie Garraway

V has always been the most diluted festival of the summer. It's where history is rarely made and The Saturdays make a cameo backstage in designer wellies, rubbing shoulders with Z-listers from Hollyoaks. Bottom line: it's duller than dishwater and more suitable being compared to T4 On The Beach than it is to the Coachella's and Reading's of the world.

It's no surprise then, that once again, 2010's line-up can be met with a heavy sigh and the rolling of eyes, which prompts the question: are V Festival line-ups becoming too predictable? The answer is unequivocally yes!

Safe, current and on-trend chart favourites Kasabian, Kings Of Leon, Stereophonics and The Kooks are at the top the bill, as if Edith Bowman has cherry-picked the acts herself. And to add insult to injury, it's practically a mirrored carbon copy of who played in 2008, which just smacks of insipid laziness.

Daytime radio fodder year after year threatens to create the same ongoing, annual, dead atmosphere, with a crowd full of less seasoned gig-goers who's idea of 'cutting edge' involves shopping at Ikea and listening to David Gray. Surely it's about time we challenge the middle class demographic and initiate some risk taking and diversity? (Not to be confused with the Britain's Got Talent Dance Act, who incidentally, would be in good company at V).

How exciting would it have been to see some truly pioneering and inspiring acts announced this year, like Morrissey, The Smashing Pumpkins or The Rolling Stones for example, just to take a stand against the constant bandwagon jumping that V is known for? Are quality bands turning down offers to play or something? So we're left with people like Pixie Lott and the Sugababes having to fill in the blanks? With dwindling integrity left, are V festival organisers simply widening their target audience out of necessity because regular festival punters dismiss it as being too transparent? Something is clearly wrong when you start planning your festival outfits in advance and reading about them in Heat magazine.

The absence of effort being made this year comes as a real disappointment. Safe and dull is no way to celebrate the summer, and it's surprising that corporate gigs in fields like this are allowed to be called festivals. Pedestrian Rock N Roll by numbers for the masses is not how it should pan out. Add to the mix the fact that Cheryl Cole will headline a stage, and it becomes truly staggering. Since when did she qualify as a deserving festival act, which by all intents and purposes is supposed to represent the cream of the industry? Lip syncing and backing tracks just aren't acceptable on any level and becomes, not so much tongue-in-cheek, but more plain absurd. It's one step away from having Take That as the mid-afternoon slot. Surely with their budget and contacts they could have secured a stronger female artist like PJ Harvey, Courtney Love or Patti Smith? But clearly this wouldn't have the pulling power required for commercial, middle of the road ticket-holders.

It will sell out, but for me, after this year, V has well and truly hammered the final nail into its own coffin. I wouldn't be surprised if Simon Cowell turned up to sing along to ‘Sex On Fire’ just to justify his 'indie' credentials! Don't be alarmed if by this time next year we've got our own British teen manufactured version on our hands that can headline V for the foreseeable future.

So if you fancy being herded like sheep and fobbed off with a faux 'rock' experience go along for the most predictable ride of your life! Shame on you Branson!

No argues Daniel Fahey

So Kings Of Leon and Kasabian have been given headline duties for V Festival 2010. Predictable? Pah! Nowhere near. Both have come to fruition in recent years: the Family Followill decided to turn to stadium rock while Kasabian went catchy and soulful. Headline slots were bound to ensue.

Predictability doesn’t even come into it. Three years (the last time Kasabian played V) is a long ol’ time in the festival world. Tom Meighan and Co were still in the no mans’ land with ‘Empire’ while the Kings (who last played in 2008) were taking their baby steps towards stardom. Now is the perfect time to see them both at the top of the tree - they’re both at the top of their game.

Then away from the headliners, organisers have managed to secure three of the four biggest live dance acts in the country: Faithless, Groove Armada and The Prodigy. Most promoters would give their left arm to get even one of them these days! V fans are being spoiled!

It’s easy to tar the dirty predictability brush over the gleaming face of V Festival because of its commercial persuasions. But people forget that it is one of the only events to give the world’s biggest pop acts a chance to shine in an otherwise guys-with-guitars dominated scene.

Girls Aloud cut their festival teeth here and now Cheryl Cole is going to go debut her solo stuff – an exclusive booking by all standards. Ellie Goulding will be taking tips from last year’s big pop acts Florence And The Machine and La Roux, none of whom have played before, while Madness will be taking the old-boy-ska-act chalice from The Specials who played in 2009 – another V Festival first.

The thing with V Festival is that it gives the fans what they want: the music they listen to on the radio, mostly the bands played by festival sponsors Absolute Radio. They want to see Paul Weller, they love Stereophonics, Paolo Nutini is seen as some sort of god and Skunk Anansie, well, they are one live reunion worth waiting for.

Naysayers, go ahead, call it predictable but this is where modern music is at the moment and V Festival represents that the best way it can. Bravo!

Who do you agree with? Is V Festival becoming predictable? Or is it giving the people what it wants? Will you be going this year?

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