As we head well into the British summer, Radio 1’s iconic weekend of fun is back and it’s bigger and better than ever. Upgraded from the usual ‘Big Weekend’ to ‘Biggest Weekend’, Radio 1 hosted the UK’s favourite festival in not one but four cities across the country.
The Belfast show was headlined by American singer-songwriter Beck, whilst Perth showcased Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and Coventry hosted violinist Nigel Kennedy alongside Snow Patrol. With Big Weekend’s line-ups being traditionally more pop-focused, this year has really been a celebration of a variety of music genres, with each host city catering towards different music tastes.
However, undoubtedly the most talked about line-up of all was the Swansea festival, which saw the biggest artists in the world right now, from Ed Sheeran to Taylor Swift to Sam Smith, sharing the Main Stage.
CelebMix headed to Swansea last weekend, accompanied by the 60,000 fans that descended on the city’s Singleton Park to catch all of your fave artists in the flesh.
Last year’s Big Weekend featured huge names such as Katy Perry and Kings of Leon, and this year’s line-up somehow manages to beat it – if that were even possible – truly living up to its ‘Biggest Weekend’ title.
First up on the Main Stage on Saturday was Ed Sheeran who, despite an early 12pm start and continuous rainfall, still managed to draw out huge crowds. During an immense eight-song set, Ed performed his first ever hit ‘The A Team’, his newest single ‘Happier’, and a whole range of bangers in between, making a point of thanking the fans for turning out early.
Ed was followed on the Main Stage by his good friend, current tour support act and recent musical collab on ‘2002’, Anne-Marie. Having performed on the Where It Begins Stage at Big Weekend in 2017, Anne-Marie has since upgraded to the Main Stage and following the release of her debut album is doing better than ever. Although Speak Your Mind was only released just over a month ago, the crowd were already singing the lyrics to her best-loved album tracks ‘Heavy’ and ‘Perfect’ as well as her bigger chart hits.
Other returning artists over the weekend included Rita Ora, Shawn Mendes and Clean Bandit who all came back for the second year in a row on the Main Stage.
Saturday’s line-up saw back-to-back star-studded performances, as Jess Glynne, Liam Payne, George Ezra, Years & Years and Craig David performed for fans of all ages, many of whom not even old enough to remember Craig David’s first wave of 90s fame but still dancing along nevertheless.
Saturday ended with an absolute TREAT as Sam Smith, constantly beaming, belted out stunning vocals in his singularly effortless manner, mesmerising the crowd into a state of serenity.
Sunday saw an equally fabulous line-up of huge names as Niall Horan, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Demi Lovato and Thirty Seconds to Mars took to the Main Stage.
The second 1D member to appear over the weekend, Niall Horan performed tracks from his debut solo album Flicker, proving successful in convincing sceptics that his musical style extends wayyyy further than what we saw from One Direction.
However, an absolute highlight of the whole weekend surprisingly came from Jason Derulo who, more than any other artist, had the entire crowd jumping up and down and singing every song word-perfectly. He brought out even the oldest bangers such as ‘Whatcha Say’, ‘In My Head’, ‘Ridin’ Solo’, ‘Trumpets’ and ‘Talk Dirty’ and we’d forgotten just how many hits he’s had.
Watch his performance of ‘Want to Want Me’ below and you can actually HEAR the audience’s enthusiasm. It is truly something else.
As the night went on, the Main Stage got ready for performances from not one but two of the biggest female artists in the world right now.
Taylor Swift was up first with a crowd-pleasing warm-up for the UK & Ireland leg of her Reputation stadium tour, performing new album tracks ‘Ready For It?’, ‘Gorgeous’ and ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ as well as older classics ‘Blank Space’ and ‘Shake It Off’.
As if the crowd weren’t SHOOK enough after such a T-Swift extravaganza, she was quickly followed by the UK and Radio 1’s all-time fave Florence + The Machine. Celebrating the long-awaited release of her fourth studio album High as Hope, Florence and her band performed new track ‘Hunger’, crowd favourite ‘Shake It Out’ and the timeless ‘Dog Days Are Over’ which still sounds as electrifying now as it did ten years ago.
Florence, rocking her trademark bare feet, made sure to connect with individual fans even in such a huge space, climbing down to the barriers where she reached out to touch and sing directly to fans in an almost holy ceremony.
Don’t ask us who ‘The Machine’ is though because we have literally no idea.
Stay tuned on CelebMix for more Biggest Weekend fun and you can also catch The Biggest Weekend across the BBC on TV, Radio and Online.
What was your highlight from Radio 1’s Biggest Weekend 2018? Let us know with a tweet over at @CelebMix.