28 May 2018
Day One set the bar high, but the BBC Biggest Weekend in Swansea had no issue topping it. BBC Radio 1's second day was incredible.
Day One of the BBC Biggest Weekend in Swansea was full of surprises, gorgeous weather, and quality music. It set the bar high, but day two saw how good it was and went even better. Featuring: more surprises, touching tributes, and a swan.
Opening the Other Stage was Tom Walker who, along with his perfect remastering of ‘I Took A Pill in Ibiza’, brought along his back catalogue of emotive and beautiful tracks. Set closer ‘Leave A Light On’, introduced with his elation at having his first Top 40 single, provided the first singalong of the day, and could easily be one of the biggest of the whole day. The tent was full for this promising talent, and we’re convinced he’s going to take over the music world.
Meanwhile, the Main Stage welcomed Rita Ora. Similar to Ed Sheeran’s dedication to the festival the day before, Rita had just landed from a gig in Germany the night before and would catch a plane back there for another gig in the evening after her performance at this festival. It’s further proof of how big the Biggest Weekend actually was.
Along with her pop hits, Rita also paid a touching tribute to Swedish DJ Avicii, who sadly passed away earlier this year. They worked on the song ‘Lonely Together’, and Rita took a break from her energetic performance to walk off stage before coming back on again for the tribute. On a weekend of good vibes and classic pop, it was a beautiful moment.
Away from the music, the sunny weather brought out someone dressed as a swan. In Swansea. It was perfect. Many selfies were taken, obviously.
The Main Stage was to bring so many surprises throughout the day. ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ queen Demi Lovato brought out her friend Luis Fonsi, before leaving the stage herself to allow him to perform ‘Despacito’. Later on, Shawn Mendes brought out James Bay before he headlined the Other Stage in the evening.
That not being enough, Shawn Mendes popped back out on stage with Thirty Seconds to Mars, whose set also featured a huge portion of the crowd being invited on stage to dance with the band. Everything happened at the Biggest Weekend.
As if the day couldn’t get any better, these surprises and tributes and guest appearances were all leading up to headliners Florence + The Machine and Taylor Swift. Taylor, as you’d expect, played an incredible set, full of personality and sass and fresh energy. It wasn’t just Rita or Ed who were dedicated to the BBC; Taylor had a tour show in America 48 hours before her performance in Swansea, (which, by the way, was the first time she had ever played in the Welsh city). The BBC really can do anything.
We can’t forget the Introducing Stage, which today featured sole guitarist Declan J Donovan, whose talent is so big he turned his Best Man speech into a song, and Yungblud, Mahalia (who had just played Dot to Dot Festival), Boy Azooga and Serol Serol.
The end of the evening brought the two headliners: James Bay and Florence + The Machine. Like all good festivals, it’s a nightmare choosing between clashing headliners who both have such outstanding talent and amazing back catalogues. James Bay’s latest album came out this year and his tune ‘Hold Back The River’ is irresistible, while music queen Florence Welch and her Machine played an incredibly powerful and intense final set on the Main Stage.
‘Dog Days Are Over’, ‘Shake It Out’, ‘You’ve Got The Love’ and the classy guitar of ‘What Kind Of Man’ were the perfect accompaniment to the sunset on Sunday night. Florence’s energy makes her a fantastic performer and the mixture of a beautiful harp and a lovely piano is perfect. We can't wait for their new album High As Hope on June 29.
The Biggest Weekend in Swansea was an absolute triumph. It had a tough job to live up to the hype of 2018 absentee Glastonbury, but everything that happened in Swansea made it at the very least on par with the biggest festival on Earth. BBC Radio 1 know how to put on a festival.
Remember, this was just one quarter of the whole event. Swansea, Coventry, Perth and Belfast. What a weekend.