In 1995 I was gripped in the fever of Britpop, in love with Suede but desperate to get hold of anything that I was told by Q, NME, Melody Maker and Select was part of the Stuart Maconie named Britpop scene. Every week with my new found wage resulted in a trip to HMV in Sutton or a trail round the record shops in Brum, particularly Reddingtons Rare Records who provided all CDs at half price on a Saturday and had shelved packed with promos (an album always felt much more special if itched gold writing embossed saying it was not for resale) and imports from the states.
In 1995 an adventure was to follow though, a road trip to see the free Britpop festival in Leeds. I am not really sure how it arose but me and Mrs P had tickets along with my ex and her new fella from uni in Sheffield (nice chap with good long indie hair I seem to recall). Getting there is resigned to history but must have been a bit of a challenge arriving in my beige metro (I can't believe that I drove a beige metro for a good 3 years everything about that car was shit) but I remember walking into the park quite clearly very excited for what seemed miles and into a cracking natural amphitheatre. I believe that the festival had 2 stages but being a festival virgin I was only interested in the main stage because it featured no less than Salad (like a granite statue) Powder (sh sh sh shave me) Marion (heroine fuelled) Menswear (breathe deeper, day dreamer criminally underated and lost to the hype myth) sleeper (just my inbetweeeeener) culminating in the headliners Pulp. Seeing Jarvis up there in front of many thousand fans, with them in the palm of his hand was superb and probably fuelled my love of all things Britpop one hundredfold. I love to see a headliner with the audience in the palm of his hand, chatting nonchellantly through the set, it's a rare gift that very few manage.
It's funny what memories stay with you, do I remember the sun setting over the field, or perhaps the dancing with Mrs P to a bit of Razamatazz, no, what I do remember is eating noodles from the vans that stood around the side of the field.
Looking back this was an amazing free experience, and one that I rate Heinekan highly for as a result. Do I think that a free festival with back to back performances of my favourite bands who were the next big things is likely again? - well no, but luckily festivals were not on every weekend as they are now and somehow I managed to get a ticket. Superb, but in actual fact, probably well worthwhile for the bands as I feel I may well have repaid them for their performances as I own every album they have done and a great many cd singles (in multiple) formats.
Pulp's cruelly missed Razamatazz
Powders sing along Shave me