THE playing fields on the Castlewellan Road in Newcastle set the scene on Saturday and Sunday (6-7th August) for Cool FM’s mega birthday celebrations writes Claira Cinnamond.
The seaside town played host in the One Cool Weekend festival to a wealth of chart toppers, up and coming Northern Irish bands and a selection of Cool FM DJ’s. Following a spectacular display from the Red Arrows earlier in the day, the crowds prepared for more world class entertainment.
Saturday night drew a sizeable crowd to this music gig which featured some of the big names in the now burgeoning Northern Irish music scene with bands such as Relish and General Fiasco taking to the stage. Local band Relish, who hail from Downpatrick and can count Brian May and producer John Leckie as fans and whose songs have been covered by the likes of Westlife, were rather early in the line-up but still gave a great performance.
Fans of girl band Wonderland appeared to be out in force as the group, managed by Louis Walsh, drew screams of adoration from the crowd and several banners dedicated to them were enthusiastically waved.
Another interesting home grown talent were General Fiasco, a group many were keen to see and who is perhaps one of the most exciting names in Northern Ireland music. They played an excellent set which was full of energy and included hit single “Ever so shy”. Having played festivals all over the world they are clearly seasoned performers and did not disappoint the crowd of festival goers.
A perhaps unexpected highlight of Saturday evening was Wretch 32’s performance who really seemed to get the crowd going and who professed to “love this place” as he rallied the audience to join in with his more well-known songs. They were then followed by headliners The Feeling who played a mix of old favourites and some of their new material.
Sunday attracted a larger crowd and despite the questionable weather it appeared spirits were not dampened. The atmosphere was one of enthusiasm and there was a definite air of fun and festivities despite the rain.
Ed Sheeran was perhaps one of the most exciting acts to play during either of the two days, as some of his tongue in cheek lyrics affirm, he is certainly one of the UK’s up and coming singer/songwriters and from his set it was clear he has the gift of really being able to get an audience moving and singing along. Having only really broken through this year but already amassing legions of fans and attaining a number 3 position in the UK chart it seems he is definitely one to watch and went down a storm.
Following on from the momentum build by Ed Sheeran, Hard-Fi took to the stage, playing a rather short set that consisted of two new songs and one old classic which for a band who have taken such a long break from the live scene was surprising.
The evening was completed by headline act Chipmunk who received a great reception and rounded off the festival perfectly. The young London rapper who has won a host of MOBO awards and has two successful albums under his belt played all the hits the crowd had been waiting for and there was an authentic festival atmosphere, with everyone enjoying themselves and Chipmunk’s chart topping hits.
While the One Cool Weekend festival is clearly still in its infancy, there is room for this event to be improved an ddraw bigger crowds. It was a great addition to the Festival of Flight and one that the young people of Newcastle and indeed County Down would gladly welcome back.