01 September 2018 (gig)
04 September 2018
Knebworth rocked to the sound of Brit Pop as the first ever Cool Britannia Festival made its debut at the legendary venue.
An impressive line-up of bands who were part of the 90s Brit Pop explosion, recreated that unforgettable era of anthemic band tunes and great guitar riffs.
Performing against a backdrop awash with union jacks and a sea of red, white and blue, some of Britain's finest pop and rock acts set the stage alight with their rousing hits.
Headlining on Saturday, and showing that they are still "mad for it", were the 24-hour party people themselves, the Happy Mondays.
Shaking his marracas, with his trademark Madchester swagger, Bez kept the crowd entertained as he danced his way through their back catalogue, keeping up the hilarious banter with Shaun Ryder throughout the set.
Step On and Kinky Afro, featuring Rowetta's powerful vocals, certainly transported the crowd back to those heady Hacienda clubbing days, and the crowd were more than up for it once again.
Sunday headliners Ocean Colour Scene were returning to Knebworth for the first time since their legendary performance supporting Oasis 22 years ago.
Receiving a welcome as warm as the sun-drenched day, the band evoked those carefree times with classic tunes including their mega hit The RiverBoat Song, adopted back in the day by Chris Evans' for his iconic TFI Friday TV show.
Finishing their set with The Day We Caught The Train, the festival crowd ended up chanting the "oh oh la la" chorus well after the band had finished.
Two of the most successful acts of the weekend were rock band Feeder and the legendary DJ Maxi Jazz of Faithless who each brought the house down in their own unique ways.
Feeder's Buck Rogers launched the appreciative crowd into lift-off while Maxi Jazz's Insomnia sent festival goers into a raving frenzy.
Some of the biggest anthems of the 90s were performed by the all star cast of Britpop Classical which included actor Phil Daniels, alongside Heaven 17's Glenn Gregory. Phil's lively rendition of Blur's Parklife, delivered with his "vorsprung Durch Technik", had all the magic of the original. Perhaps it could tempt Blur to grace the stage next year?
The Farm's Peter Hooton gave a poignant but rousing performance of All Together Now against a backdrop of World War I trench scenes and a flurry of poppies.
The 90s-fest was made even more special by appearances by other top bands of the time, including The Lightning Seeds, Dodgy, Cast and Toploader. Everyone was having A Fine Time, Staying Out For The Summer, Dancing in the Moonlight, and living the Life of Riley during this epic weekend.
Legendary multi-talented musician, singer and producer Peter Hook kept the audience well and truly hooked with his rich repertoire of hits from New Order to Joy Division and beyond.
Not only were the main stage acts a draw for the crowd, but revellers could also enjoy music at the Ministry of Sound Big Top, the Club Classics tent and the Barn Stage which featured top names such as Todd Terry, Jazzie B, Urban Cookie Collective and Rozalla.
Top marks to Cool Britannia organisers for breaking the mould with this new genre of music festival which has already received rave reviews on social media. We feel sure this will become a firm festival favourite for fans of that truly epic era of music.
Photo credit: Simon Green