From the people who brought you Bestival came Southampton’s annual shindig in the park, Common People. Situated (as you can imagine) on the south coast city’s vast expanse of green-land, the Common played host to an array of talents inciting nothing short of a citywide boogie.
Saturday’s offerings came as no disappointment, shifting the stylistic gears from Milk Teeth’s pop-punk all the way through to Goat Shed’s electro DJing. Indie stalwarts The Sherlocks made for a necessary dash of contemporary before the evening’s first throwback – and my, oh my, was it a good’un. All Saints’ main stage performance had everything; sing-along classics, nonchalant choreography, and a hella load of harmonies. The day’s co-headliner James, who in recent years have left arguably their most famous hit ‘Sit Down’ untouched, treated the crowd to an almighty sing-a-long of its thumping chorus (as long as they promised not to tell everyone at Oxford’s sister festival, so hush hush). The final act of the night Lily Allen brought brand new tracks from album No Shame to a willing audience, while the nostalgia of tunes ‘Smile’, ‘LDN’ and set-closer ‘It’s Not Fair’ lifted spirits one last time before thunder and lightning closed in on the Common.
The second day came with conditions more sweltering than the last, and though the attendees may have been worse-for-wear thanks to Saturday’s alcohol intake, there was an undeniable groove in the air. That’s right – disco day. The biggest departure from the day’s theme was Dream Wife on the second stage, who were far from second rate. A righteous performance from the four-piece leaves all the “bad bitches” in the crowd feeling suitably empowered, not least as a result of their anti-objectification anthem ‘Somebody’. And so to the main stage, where we experienced nothing short of a 1970s walk of fame; Boney M. held nothing back throughout their set, ‘Rasputin’ and ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’ were never in doubt as centrepieces. The late, great Prince’s backing band New Power Generation supplied ample funk, ceremoniously paying tribute to the pop legend, churning out a seemingly unlimited catalogue of classics to the rapidly growing final crowd. Wrapping up the weekend’s proceedings with charisma and charm, the legendary Jacksons took to the stage – oh boy, did they not disappoint. With flamboyance in bucket-loads, the tunes simply did not stop. Solo ventures were flaunted, namely Tito’s, and there was even a mini MJ documentary for added nostalgia. No Jacksons set would be complete without ‘I Want You Back’, ‘Blame it on the Boogie’ and ‘ABC’, and there was absolutely no reason to avoid them – without a doubt, the crowd’s finest responses came from these three, the holy-trinity if you like. Considering The Jacksons’ relentless crowd pleasing, their swift departure on the dot of 11pm, sans encore, was a minor anticlimax to the festival, but in truth most folks must have had minimal dancing fuel left in the tank.
Common People was a success across the board. Its family appeal was through the roof, never detracting from the enjoyment of any 18+ers. The music was varied and performed with happiness and togetherness, coaxing anything between a toe-tap to a body-pop out of the best part of 40,000 attendees. Even our editorial team had a wonderful time soaking it up, so much so that we snuck into a few of the festival pics looking our summeriest.
Relive the experience once more through pictures by Phoebe Lauren. (@pheebsok)
Words by Rupert Taylor (@0UTATIM3)