Words and photographs by Ruby Nixon.
The debut year for Coventry’s Coombe Weekender crashed in with incredible music, food and a weekend for everyone to enjoy.
Despite a few teething problems on day one which unfortunately led to cutting three local bands – Blvff, Candid and Athens – the festival finally got going and fans were raring to see the first act: Good Cop, Bad Cop. Led by Milburn’s Joe Carnall and Arctic Monkeys’ dummer, Matt Helders; mellow and indie notes floated from the main stage across the festival grounds, encouraging people to bop their head along to the alternative and relaxing music.
Next on stage came Sunderland’s own The Futureheads, getting the crowd going with their hits from the mid-noughties. Despite not releasing an album since 2012, the band have made a comeback in 2019 with three new tracks – this clearly being well received in the audience as people sang and danced along to all of the tunes.
The high-energy Reverend and the Makers, fronted by Jon McClure, got festival-goers bouncing along in excitement as they took the stage in their mid-lineup spot. Families and friends arm in arm as they grinned lovingly at the stage, the whole festival was electric as McClure encouraged people to jump and clap along with him.
The audience started to stir as the time got closer to the next act, Circa Waves, an indie favourite amongst young people. They embraced the pouring rain as they encouraged fans to get onto each others shoulders to engage with the band. The band maintained their cool image, whilst slipping grins at the audience as the audience’s energy did not disappoint. The final song, fan favourite ’T-Shirt Weather’, caused cups to fly into the air as mosh pits broke out.
The heavens opened up again, forcing people to scatter under the bar area of the festival, but spirits were soon brought back up as Tom Grennan took to the stage and crowds ran back to the centre field. He opened with ‘Royal Highness’ from his newest record, throwing himself about the stage. The act didn’t just consist of Grennan however, he was backed by a six-piece gospel choir, two backing singers, a three-piece brass band and a more conventional three-piece instrumental band.
As the night fell, it was finally time for the headline act – The Libertines. With dramatic lighting and jumpsuits, their image was immediately a throwback to their post-punk rock aesthetic in the early 2000’s. Attitude and spontaneity summed up the act – engaging audience members ranging from all ages. The fan-favourite signature of lead Pete Doherty and Carl Barât sharing the microphone helped maintain a feeling of nostalgia despite it being 22 years since the formation of the band.
Fans left the festival dancing their way across the field to find their way back home – smiles plastered across faces as everyone had enjoyed their day filled with great music, good food and drinks. Day one of the festival had been a roaring success in the end – fans loving the acts and enjoying their day despite the initial glitches and typical British weather.
The festival continued for day two on Sunday with acts such as Kelis, Sigala and MK hyping up audiences with dance hits and continuing the upbeat atmosphere that the festival had promised. We hope the festival will be back for a second year of incredible live music in Coventry!