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The first weekend in September, saw the launch of the first ever Cool Britannia Festival at Knebworth Park; if this was the opener, we cannot wait for next year! A celebration of what Britain does best with top acts, who were first rate from start to finish.
Opening the main stage Britpop Classical, complete with orchestra, were, Saffron (Republica- Ready To Go), Peter Hooton (The Farm – All Together Now), Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17- covering Pulp, Common People ) and Phil Daniels (Quadrophenia, Breaking Glass, Blur – Park Life!). Each performing their own 90’s classics, with the exception of Glenn who gave a Jarvis Cocker inspired performance of Common People. By the time Phil took to the stage for Park Life, the audience was in full participation mode and the atmosphere was party, complete with a couple of pink flamingos! Coming off stage for interviews it was clear the performers had enjoyed it every bit as much as the crowd had.
Following on from this were some truly outstanding performances completing Saturday’s line up; Toploader (Dancing in the Moonlight), Dodgy (Good Enough), the truly awesome Peter Hook & the Light (Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart. New Order- Blue Monday). The Lightning Seeds (Lucky You, Life of Reily), Feeder (Buck Rogers) and culminating in headline act, The Happy Mondays (Kinky Afro, Step On). Back stage the atmosphere was relaxed, with artists happy to pose for pictures and chat. Peter Hook and Shaun Ryder were both on form back stage; Shaun bantering with security just before heading to the stage to close day one’s proceedings. It was clear that all the bands still get a kick out of performing and are as good as ever. The park was packed and in full party atmosphere.
Sunday’s line up featured; Maxi Jazz (Faithless), The South, Space, Heather Small, Cast, Embrace, Razorlight and headliners Ocean Colour Scene. In addition to the main stage, festivalgoers could also enjoy the Ministry of Sound Big Top, Club Classics, plus a further smaller sound stage.
That pretty much sums up Cool Britannia, which for a new festival has all the organisational slickness of a long established one. A great atmosphere, with all ages catered for across the park, and plenty to do when the music stops. Rounding the weekend off with a bang and an impressive firework display, this is definitely a must go festival to put on your list. 10 out of 10.