Review: Nottingham’s Splendour Festival 2018

A day out at Splendour’s 10th anniversary was never going to be boring – the line-up was incredible, the weather was amazing and the excitement of the crowd was real.

Local talent Nina Smith graced the main stage at Splendour ahead of the release of her new album, expected in October. She performed her latest single “Run Out”, as well as some of her older tunes “Little Lies” and “This Love”. Nina then asked the audience if they were fans of R&B, and after a resounding yes and a cheer, she performed her song “Upside Down”, before heading into a stripped down and beautifully raw song dedicated to her Dad.

Nina wasn’t the only local talent to shine through as over on Splendour’s acoustic stage, Daisy Godfrey began her set playing her original and upbeat songs “Loose Canon” and “Take a Sec”. But it cannot be ignored that Daisy’s voice goes above and beyond in her slow and stripped down songs such as “Remedy” and “Stranded”.

Nina Smith Splendour Nottingham
Daisy Godfrey: Credit: Faith Pring

A very welcome and popular part of Splendour was Gem 106’s silent disco, which was almost always full whenever I walked by. After a few attempts I finally got inside, with Gem’s Jo and Sparky on the mixing desk, playing songs like Dua Lipa’s “One Kiss” and The Killers “Mr Brightside”. The silent disco, comprised of all those inside a tent wearing headphones in order to listen to the music being played,

Similarly, the environment was once again lifted when Australian ABBA tribute band, Bjorn Again, made their return to Splendour and graced the main stage. Perfectly timed with the release of Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again, the ABBA tribute performed some of ABBA’s greatest hits, including “Dancing Queen”, “SOS”, “Voulez Vous” and “Money, Money, Money”. For many spectators, this appeared the be the highlight of the day, prompting a sing and dance along from all those watching.

Bjorn Again. Credit: Faith Pring

At the other end of the park was the Fringe stage, which homed the smaller yet still amusing acts such as Mrs Green who took a playful and comedic stance on popular songs such as “No Scrubs” and “Rolling in the Deep”. Mrs Green front runner Ben Welch shines as Mrs Green, and performs their Motown songs with ease and many a laugh. Claiming at one point that “even if they put us on the back stage, we’re still going to smash it!” – and he wasn’t wrong. The audience was left cheering and asking for more, leading to an extra performance of their song “Know your Limits”.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor kicked off the afternoon with her set on the Main Stage. She wore a bright green leotard and shimmery silver skirt, which were perfect for her energetic performance! There was dancing (lots of dancing!) and lots of singing along from the crowd. Sophie played her hits for “splendid Splendour” and asked the audience if they would “take [her] home” to continue the party. “Take Me Home” is, of course, the name of one of her hit singles. She also performed covers like ‘Lady’ by Modjo. The crowd loved her and she seemed to be having a fantastic time too. The queen of pop even scanned the crowd so she could memorise faces and recognise them at future gigs, joking that she had amazing face recognition skills.

Sophie Ellis-Bexter. Credit: Marcus Holdsworth

Over to the Acoustic Rooms stage where Joey Costello was performing. The courtyard area where the Acoustic Rooms stage could be found was a lovely setting in which to relax and listen to the American singer-songwriter’s set. Between songs he spoke about how he had moved from Chicago to Nottingham a few years ago to pursue his singing career.

Joey Costello’s music definitely had a folk element and his voice was extremely soulful; beautiful on a warm Saturday in Wollaton Park.

Paloma Faith Splendour
Paloma Faith. Credit: Marcus Holdsworth

Folk rock band, To Kill A King, were set to headline the Acoustic Rooms stage later that evening but unfortunately their drummer was injured and they had to cancel at the last minute. Nottingham singer, Rob Green, had initially attended to watch his favourite acts and was asked to perform in To Kill A King’s place. Luckily, he agreed to step in and join the fun.

Headlining the festival was the uber-talented Paloma Faith. As well as it being Splendour’s 10th anniversary, it was Paloma Faith’s birthday!

By Faith Pring and Narza Ahmed

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