Week One: Fascist Rappers
Big Chill took place at the start of August and despite some great sets including astounding outings for Katy B and Robert Plant, the only name on the audience lips when leaving the festival was Kayne West. The extravagant superstar absolutely smashed it at Coachella in US playing above Pulp and The Strokes, and while his set received good reviews musically from fans, there was only aspect of the set that made the headlines. Yes, that’s right, Kanye in his infinite wisdom made headlines yet again, this time for a ten minute rant that concluded with the beleaguered superstar comparing himself to Hitler, nice.
The London riots spread across the nation as chaos ensued and the media went suitably insane. Music was blamed as per usual, as grime was repeatedly labeled pro-gang (a claim that is still being debated by local councils), but oddly the biggest music story came not from the rioters or the musicians who turned up to clean up Camden, but from one act of destruction.
A Sony Warehouse was burned to the ground wiping out the stock of everyone who distributed as part as the PIAS group. This hit a series of independent labels hard, who had a huge chunk of debt added to their accounts with no hopes of making the money back through sales. Thankfully, a fund raising campaign was quickly set up, and music fans came to the aid of their independent stores.
Underage Festival gave the younger music fans their yearly chance to have a festival of their own, and this year they were offered a mix of Grime’s finest (Roll Deep & Giggs), indie favourites (Bombay Bicycle Club and Frankie & The Heartstring), and some of the coolest and quirkiest bands around (Cocknbullkid & Crystal Fighters).
In the wake of his daughters death Amy Winehouse’s father began negotiations with the government about creating a new rehab centre and program for troubled souls. Unfortunately as his intended charity name was taken, he was forced to return all donations.
JLS topped the charts for the fifth time when “She Makes Me Wanna” went to number one, while in the wake of her death the three million seller Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black hit the top spot.
Week Two: Sound Problems and Break Ups
London’s most hipster friendly festival, Field Day, took place in the second week of August, and it was the usual mix of mind blowing innovation, ultra cool retrospection and horrible sound. Big bands were on tiny stages, the sound was inaudible but that didn’t stop James Blake dividing opinion, Hype Williams blowing minds and Jamie XX and SBTRKT drawing mammoth crowds.
Having confirmed their break up at Sonisphere Festival Gallows unveiled that Wade McNeil of the recently deceased Alexisonfire would take over from Frank Carter as the band’s lead vocalist. Carter had an announcement of his own, as he began publicizing his new band Pure Love.
Cher Lloyd’s “Swagger Jagger” inevitably topped the single’s chart while Amy Winhouse remained dominant on album countdown.
Week Three: V Goes Urban
V Festival somehow managed to get bigger and bigger in 2011 as Rihanna, who’d already sold over a 100,000 tickets on her own in London, performed a stunning subheadline set before Eminem took to stage sparking some of the year’s biggest rap alongs. The Arctic Monkeys took charge on Sunday and debuted their harder edged stage show having promised to keep rock’n’roll alive in the face an urban and pop dominated festival.
It finally ended, the ongoing saga between Vampire Weekend and Ann Kirsten (the model on the Contra cover) was finally resolved in August as the model was awarded an undisclosed fee.
Tony Ioni scolded reporters who dared to claim he’d let slip that a Black Sabbath reunion was forthcoming…yeah, how dare they make up such lies.
Pukkelpop faced disaster and possible cancellation as 70 were injured and 5 killed when a stage collapsed during extreme weather conditions, leaving music fans in Belgium reeling. 60,000 were forced to flee as the Main Stage scaffolding tumbled to the ground and tents were shredded by a “mini-hurricane”.
The relationship between the Gallagher brothers continued to reach new lows in August as Liam sued Noel over the elder brother post-break up allegations that most music fans had forgotten.
Nero and Wretch 32 exchange the top spot in the singles chart, while Nero managed to kick Amy Winehouse from the top spot after three weeks.
Week Four: Reading Rocks
Reading and Leeds festival closed out August and what is there left to say; My Chemical Romance gave us a feel good spectacular with very special guest Brian May, The Strokes gave us some classic rock and roll, Pulp reminded us why they are one of Reading’s all time greatest legends and Muse blew the non-existent roof off the joint. Lower down the line up, Crystal Castles were dazzling when filling in for Jane’s Addiction, Madness had everyone dancing and The Horrors cemented their art rock ascent with a jaw dropping visual spectacular on Friday night.
Noel managed to temporarily avoid a lawsuit when he apologized to his brother Liam Gallagher, over claims that his brother skipped a V Festival performance due to a hang over.
Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black was named the biggest selling album of the decade, racking up a whopping 3.26 million sales.
Lou Reed continued a baffling year by telling fans that his collaboration with Metallica was the best work of his entire career. Yes that’s right, Lou Reed claimed that Lulu was better than The Velvet Underground & Nico, Loaded, White Heat and Transformer to name but a few.
Cowell creations ruled as we waved goodbye to August as Olly Murs and Will Young topped the singles and album charts respectively.