There were so many things wrong with this festival I don’t know where to start, luckily, the music wasn’t one of them. BST have a lot to learn about putting on a gig. Support stages (once you could find them) were small and could not cope with the numbers, especially when The Rifles took to the Summer Stage on Saturday afternoon. How the band bookers could not realise they would pull a crowd in London and not bump them up to a bigger platform, is beyond me. Their set was energetic and the crowd enjoyed it (well, those that could hear and see anyway). Better still, make the support stages bigger. Problem solved.
Then there’s the massive bar queues, OK so this is always a problem at any festival right? So why constantly push the Barclaycard contactless bPay band on the build up to the festival, only to find you are queuing with the ‘cash paying’ public anyway? I could see no incentive for punters to take up the scheme.
A few acts, including Swim Deep, were cancelled due to ‘a technical fault’ in the makeshift theatre stage as flocks of fans queued outside looking bemused and wondering if this was a temporary fault or not…it wasn’t, and after wasted time ‘hanging around’ most fans gave up and headed to the main stage.
You just expect more from a gig of this size and location. The Pogues livened things up, Shane McGowan his usual bedraggled self as he clutched a drink and mumbled his way through classics such as Dirty Old Town and Irish Rover. Only to be cut short due to crowd crushing at the front. A theme that was to carry on throughout the night, leaving fans not within the ‘mosh pit’ even more frustrated.
By the time The Libertines hit the stage the air was filled with optimism, things could only get better right? They did, in the form of opening track Vertigo, before – Yes you’ve guessed it – another delay due to crowd control half way through ‘Boys in the band’ and then again.
Maybe if event organisers had not tried to sell ‘Priority viewing areas’ at inflated prices and filled the areas instead with extra stewards or, perish the thought, ‘the general admission punter’ then crowd safety could have been improved. Having said this, you can’t stop these types of antics, as some of the 60,000 strong crowd climbed rigging towers – naked.
Anyway, enough moaning. The Libertines were on top form. Dohery looked happy and this has to be a good thing for all involved.
The band still has that blistering energy and anarchy that fans thrive on. Set highlights were Can’t stand me now and earlier material Up the Bracket, Music When The Lights Go Out and Boys in the band. Pete & Carl recited poetry from Suicide in the Trenches after the finisher I Get Along brought a close to a fuel-filled set of classics, that can only be described as ‘Brilliant’.
On a day where all odds were against both fans and artists, it was good to see they triumphed equally! It’s back to the drawing board for event organisers for next year BST Hyde Park.