Radio 1's Big Weekend lands in Coventry

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Ed Sheeran on stage at Big Weekend 2022
Image caption,
Ed Sheeran on stage on Saturday

After three years away, live music, dancing and long queues for the toilets have returned as Radio 1's Big Weekend officially kicked off.

Disclosure, Eats Everything and Patrick Topping opened the festival in Coventry on Friday.

And Ed Sheeran performed some of his biggest hits on Saturday with performances still to come from Harry Styles and Anne-Marie.

Around 80,000 fans are expected at the festival across the three days.

It's the first Big Weekend to take place in real life since 2019, after events in 2020 and 2021 moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lorde, Dermot Kennedy, Jax Jones and Mabel are also performing at the city's War Memorial Park.

Tens of thousands of people enjoyed the sunshine on Saturday to see Ed Sheeran on the main stage, with word perfect singalongs to tracks such as Shivers.

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Image caption,
Disclosure had fans jumping on Friday at Big Weekend 2022

On Friday, music fans partied to AmyElle, Bklava, and Emily Nash who performed on the Radio 1 Dance Stage.

Anish Kumar, Barry Can't Swim and Hannah Laing were on the BBC Music Introducing Stage.

Rising stars Artemas, Celina Sharma, Deyah, Jordan MacKampa, Tamera, Thomas Headon, USNA and Willow Kayne also performed.

Image caption,
TAAHLIAH was on the BBC Music Introducing stage

Analysis by Pria Rai, Newsbeat presenter at Radio 1's Big Weekend

The stage is literally set. Four stages to be exact and the War Memorial Park here in Coventry is not lacking in good vibes.

As soon as the gates opened, people ran in.

Big Weekend has not been in a real life field for three years and festival-goers are keen to make up for lost time.

Some people told us they had been saving their festival outfits from before the pandemic; multi-coloured shirts and sunglasses.

So as the sun went down here the volume went up.

Disclosure and Patrick Topping both big hitters, they gave the crowd the energy to get the weekend started.

'I love the acts'

Fans were delighted to be seeing big name artists on stage.

For 21-year-olds Edward and Erin, it's "surreal" seeing Big Weekend in Coventry, with Friday really living up to expectations.

Edward told Radio 1 Newsbeat that watching Disclosure perform was the highlight because they are one of his "favourites".

Image caption,
Erin and Edward are two of the 80,000 expected across Big Weekend

He has exams on Monday, so Friday "was the most" he could do, but he says it was "on par" with his last Big Weekend experience in 2018.

"It's for the music, I love the acts that are performing."

Erin will be sticking around a bit longer, and "can't wait" to see Sunday's headliner Harry Styles.

"It's going to be amazing, I'm so excited."

Image caption,
Dami is "pumped" to see AJ Tracey

Dami is working at the festival and admits she's "tired", but says "it's great that you can have fun".

The 21-year-old feels "the vibes are amazing" and said she is really looking forward to seeing AJ Tracey on stage.

"I'll be running to the stage. I have to see him."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Anne-Marie will be on the Radio 1 Main Stage
Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
AJ Tracey will be live and direct from Coventry on Saturday

Big Weekend is one of the first events to kick off a summer of festivals.

Earlier this week an investigation by the BBC found only one in 10 headliners at the UK's top music festivals this summer will be women.

This is despite many events previously promising to achieve a '50/50' gender balance across their line-ups by 2022.

Some festivals - including Radio 1's Big Weekend - say they have stuck to the Keychange pledge by delivering a broadly balanced line-ups across all stages, despite having no female headliners.

Additional reporting by Jordan Kenny

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