BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend is Europe’s biggest free festival, having previously brought the likes of Jay Z to Hackney in 2012, Paramore to Londonderry in 2013 and Pharrell Williams to Glasgow in 2014. This year Earlham Park in Norwich played host to the stellar 2015 line-up.
The Vaccines kicked off the first of many live acts for the day, opening with the fast paced Teenage Icon, taken from the band’s second studio album. Playing the main stage, they also performed more of their indie hits including Post Break-up Sex and I Always Knew, before closing with Norgaard. Their 30-minute set was the perfect way to get the audience in the festival mood; The Vaccines always leave crowds wanting more.
Snoop Dogg played the In New Music We Trust stage, with the hip hop legend treating fans in the tent to songs from his back catalogue. Much to the audience’s delight, he also showed support for the local city by wearing a Norwich City football shirt.
The next band to play the main stage was US band Fall Out Boy, who were performing Big Weekend for the first time. Proving to be a particular highlight of the day, Fall Out Boy are a true fan band – playing their vast back catalogue, interacting in between songs and showing an appreciation for the people who had turned out to watch them perform.
Hits including Sugar, We’re Goin Down and Dance Dance were welcomed by the Radio 1 audience following Fall Out Boy’s recent hiatus, though the main highlight was Thnks fr the Mmrs. Raucous yet dark, Fall Out Boy still perform the track with such enthusiasm that it’s hard to believe the song was released back in 2007. They certainly reignited the UK’s love for the band, while potentially gaining some new fans amongst the crowd.
In between the main acts there were fun fair rides to keep people entertained and delicious food from around the world to indulge in. There was also a chance to catch artists on the smaller stages. Glimpses of Ella Eyre, Charli XCX and Circa Waves provided something for everyone at the festival, each artist pulling in a substantial crowd.
French superstar David Guetta returned to the festival for the fifth time, showcasing his world-class DJ skills to the audience, spinning tracks from his first release in 2002. Guetta played songs such as Shot Me Down andDangerous, bringing a bit of Vegas to Norwich and living up to his global status. The DJ’s impressive stage productions featured comic inspired backgrounds and pyrotechnics, sending the audience into a frenzy as the sun set on the Saturday evening.
Following Guetta, and prior to headliners Muse, Florence and the Machine graced the main stage with an acoustic set. The prominent news coverage of front woman Florence Welch’s broken foot didn’t go unnoticed as she was assisted onto the stage by another band member. She was apologetic for not giving a full performance but instead opted for a rather stripped back set for the 25,000 strong crowd. The harmonic What the Water Gave Me began proceedings, leading into Calvin Harris’ Sweet Nothing, which Welch sings on.
Welch previewed Ship to Wreck and What Kind of Man from her new album, and closed with old favourite Dog Days Are Over. Even the stripped back approach couldn’t dampen spirits, with Florence and the Machine going down an absolute treat with fans.
The almighty Muse closed day one of Radio 1’s Big Weekend with an hour-long set. The Devon trio opened withReaper, which is featured on their upcoming seventh album, Drones. The band’s stage background was in keeping with the new album, with CCTV style cameras being featured on each band member.
The rollicking Supermassive Black Hole and Time is Running Out energised the audience after what had been a long day of music, food and drink. They closed with the epic Knights of Cydonia, which showed exactly why Muse remain one of the most in demand live bands.
There couldn’t have been a better way to end the first day of BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, with Norwich putting on a great show for music lovers across the UK.
Graduate multimedia journalist and contributing writer at Culturefly