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Festival review: The Big Chill 2011


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Last weekend The National Student braved the rain and hit the great outdoors, trekking off the lovely Herefordshire which was playing host to The Big Chill festival, which has to be one of the most underrated weekends in the history of festival hype. This was a festival with a touch of class, proof? No queues for the loos which actually flushed and The Guardian has it’s own tent! I know, wow.

The Chill played host to a certain Mr Kanye West, marking his only UK performance this summer. As you can imagine, people were very excited by his imminent arrival, some even calling the weekend ‘Kanye-fest’.

Whispers went round the VIP area (yep, we were in there!) that he was going to be late, standard behavior. As it turned out, he was late. Whispers also went round he turned up with a 75 strong-entourage (thank you nosy security man for that slice of goss) and shouted so much backstage he ended up losing his voice.

When he finally did appear on stage, I’m not going to lie, it was pretty incredible. Anyone who has watched the magician Dynamo might recognize this little trick, Kanye started his set off in the lighting box, however within ten seconds he magically appeared on the stage, no golf buggy or zip wire in sight. I still don’t know how he managed this, but I do know it was pretty amazing even after 5 mini bottles of Rose.

With things going so well you would think Kanye would be having a smashing time, right? Wrong. Kanye then launched into a bizarre ten minute rambling monologue about what a fabulous perfectionist he is, and explained that’s the only reason he was late. This was not necessary, everyone has forgiven him straight after the teleporting stunt (very cool). His drivel continued for so long the crowd started to boo him, he then showed off his great sense of perception pointing out how the media treat him ‘like Hitler’. Got that? Hitler.

When he finally did start a new song, he screeched ‘ONLY PIANO!’ at his band for daring to play, and they awkwardly shut up quick. He then cleared his throat during a rap. It’s just such a shame his songs are so darn catchy and after a while the field forgot what a plonker he is and were soon dancing and singing along to croaky Kanye.

Thanks to his late start, he has a late finish, which meant we were late to Example. After pelting over to the other tent, we elbowed our way to a decent position. Example was incredible, almost as incredible as the cocktails in the Drambuie tent. The man knows how to manipulate a crowd like no one else, and during Kickstarts you literaly couldn’t avoid pogo jumping for dear life. Amazing.

Jessie J still has a poorly foot, and it looked like she wasn’t going to make it at one, with rumours going around she had dropped out. But had she dropped out, heck! Sitting safely on a throne in a leopard print catsuit, Jessie J had only her voice to depend on for her performance. Luckily, she has one of the best in pop and managed to reach the whole crowd with her huge lungs.

Other highlights included the incredible Janelle Monae who managed to make the sun come out, and of course, the always brilliant Chemical Brothers.

However, there are so much more space for so many more tents at this festival, and everyone needs to book tickets or the future could be bleak for Big Chill, possibly the most underrated festival of all time!

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