The original dual-venue music festival, V (for Virgin) Festival began in 1996 and sprang from Pulp frontman, Jarvis Cocker's desire to play two outdoor gigs in two days. The first venues were Victoria Park in Warrington, and Hylands Park in Chelmsford. The Chelmsford venue has remained the same since the festival's inception, at the 'southern' end, while the 'northern' end has changed periodically from Warrington, to Temple Newsam in Leeds (now the site of the Leeds Festival) and, since 1999, has been at Weston Park in Staffordshire. Usually held on the third weekend of August, the festival began as a rock-based event, with acts like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elastica, Foo Fighters and Mansun, but in later years began to include more pop/chart artists, with Girls Aloud (2006), in particular, gaining massive respect for their energetic, high-quality sets. Headliners in 2011 included Dizzee Rascal, Eminem, Calvin Harris, Razorlight and Rihanna. Most artists will perform at one venue on the Saturday, then travel to the second venue for the Sunday. For trivia buffs, V Festival was where Travis first played their infamous cover of Britney Spears' “...Baby One More Time”, and was also where Oasis played their last live gig before officially splitting (they played Weston Park on the Saturday but pulled out of Hylands Park on Sunday because of Liam's 'laryngitis'...).
Camping is an integral part of V Festival, and the ever-expanding attendance numbers is one of the main reasons why the northern venue had to keep changing, to accommodate fans. Capacity for Weston Park and Hylands Park is around 90,000 and, like most festivals with camping facilities, campers can arrive the night before the event to avoid travelling on the day, and the campsites themselves are well-organised with good facilities. Unlike other festivals, though, such as T In The Park and Glastonbury, V Festival tends not to attract families (all children over 5 have to pay full price), and anybody under 16 has to be accompanied by an adult.
Because the sponsors are the Virgin Group, the festival was one of the first to add audio webcasts, podcasts, and behind the scenes webchats for fans who weren't able to attend, and the event has also been televised regularly by Channel 4. The V Festival organisers have often been accused of greediness by dissatisfied fans, unhappy at the high cost of food and drink within the festival grounds, as well as the tradition of only printing the full line-up and gig times of acts in their (payable) on-site programmes, but despite this, attendance numbers continue to rise year-on-year, with most tickets selling out within days of going on sale.
The 2012 V Festival will be held on the weekend of 18th and 19th August.
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