Kings of V Festival






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Our Download hangovers have almost cleared, and we’re thinking about cleaning that…stuff…off the tent and laundering the sleeping bags ready for another of our favourite festivals, V.

The original two-site festival, invented (apparently) by Jarvis Cocker in 1996, V will be alternating bills between Hylands Park, Chelmsford and Weston Park in Weston-under-Lizard, Staffordshire across the weekend of 17th and 18th August.

We’ll be zipping up to Weston Park in the Bassmobile for Kings of Leon on the Saturday, then spending Sunday on the motorway to Chelmsford, arriving, we hope, in time to witness Jared Followill’s peerless work on his Gibson Thunderbird all over again.

There’s plenty to inspire on this eclectic bill so why not spend a weekend relaxing on the grass with a plastic pint of Virgin lager instead? There are many decent bass players to be seen and heard – here are just a few suggestions.

Kings of Leon

Oklahoma born Jared Followill joined his brothers’ Nashville band at 16, having, like many great bassists, resisted the role at first, and taught himself to play within a month of recording their debut album. “Youth and Young Manhood” dazzled critics and single “California Waiting” prefigured the blistering stadium rock the “Kings” now produce. He said his distorted, high-toned bass style, played with a pick, was influenced by Peter Hook, Kim Deal and Nikolai Fraiture.

Ten years on, Jared is the idol of many a bassist, and we recommend you seize any opportunity to see the band live. Expect a career-spanning crowd-pleasing set at V. You may also spot some new stuff, from their forthcoming album “Mechanical Bull”, more like the punky, garagey Southern Rock of the early albums. Listen out for what drummer Nathan called Jared’s ‘dumbed-down’ playing for that more basic, elemental sound. There’s always an extra frisson with UK audiences, because we loved them first, and they’re approaching the end of a triumphant UK tour. If there was going to be a roof, we reckon they’d raise it.


Nearer the cutting-edge, don’t miss these New York indie pop-rockers, if only for Nate Harold’s bass solo shenanigans on “All Alone”. The band’s anthem “We Are Young” was used in a car ad, won them a Grammy, and was recently announced as the most streamed track of 2013. A former member of Koufax and still part of the touring line-up of Get Up Kids, Nate has adjusted admirably to sudden stardom and stadium-sized crowds. He plays a 1962 Fender P-Bass reissue, and cites Jeff Ament and Paul McCartney as influences. They’ll be popping to the UK just for these two nights, so it would be rude not to.

Fratellis, Vaccines, Beyonce, James

Make sure you’re in the arena in time to see Barry Fratelli play Chelsea Dagger, one of guitar pop’s best loved basslines. And check out the melodic yet punky bass plucking of Jim Glennie, only remaining founding member – and namesake – of Manchester folky indie poppers James.

You might be curious to see how former Babyshamble Drew McConnell is coping as bassist of the Vaccines, or, for that matter, how Lauren Taneil manages to fill the formidable shoes of Funk Professor Destiny Roxx as Beyonce’s bassist.

And don’t forget to wear plenty of sunscreen – sunburnt all down one side is not a good stage look.

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