Godiva Festival is Coventry’s very own home-grown music festival that’s held annually in the War Memorial Park. It can cater for up to 150,000 people, although the expected attendance this year was around half of this, it means there is still growing room for this family-orientated festival in the future. The weather was set to be a scorcher for the whole weekend. Other than the damp patch during Saturday lunchtime, the weather held out well.
There is plenty to do at Godiva Festival, including a fairground, stalls to browse; there was even a comedy tent for the more laid-back visitors. The Birmingham Live team arrived Friday evening and were excited to see how the event was set to unfold, despite the slow start the crowd soon filled up after the work day ended and the night progressed.
Opening acts for Friday consist of local acts The Session, who are no strangers to the festival, and Free Galaxy who won their chance to perform through the Godiva Calling competition. Read the full review below
Opening the main stage on Friday 5th July were Coventry-based folk-rockers The Session, returning to Godiva once again to deliver a golden performance to the festival attendees.
The band did an admirable job of warming the crowd up for the weekend that pursued and performed a number of their hits including ‘Driving Through’ and new single ‘Blind’.
For fans of: Fleetwood Mac, Simon and Garfunkel.
Kicking off the festival over in the Rock Tent were Free Galaxy, who won their spot at the festival in the Godiva Calling Heavy rock/Metal heats. Opening a festival stage can be daunting, but the boys gave the performance their all and effortlessly won the affection of passers-by.
The set included ‘Leave Me’, a laid-back rock song with intense vocals and mysterious lyrics, and ‘Everlasting’, a layered, grunge-infused song that was the first single the band ever released.
For fans of: Nirvana, Palaye Royale.
The home-grown boys from Wilde took the main stage for a night of fun-driven madness. With two albums and a mass of singles under their belt, it would have undoubtedly been horrendous to try and select only five songs to include in their set, however firm favourites ‘Wasted’ and ‘Sexy’ made it to the stage.
For fans of: Catfish and the Bottlemen, Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Godiva Calling Heavy Rock/Metal winners Yellow King followed. The band’s experience in the field showed as they produced a powerful performance fueled by heavy riffs and harmonies that have undoubtedly been inspired by classic rock.
The crowd was thin on the ground but extremely appreciative of the time spent with the band, especially as the trio of songs from their recently released EP Just Press Play were performed.
For fans of: Avenged Sevenfold, T-Rex.
The laid-back lads in Dodgy provided a chilled out set for the main stage crowd, opening with hit single ‘Staying Out for the Summer’. The electro-acoustic set created a gentle atmosphere amongst the crowd and managed to capture the attention of fans of all ages.
The set included well-known songs such as ‘Melodies Haunt You’ as well as a cover of The Beatles’ ‘If You’re Thinking of Me / Dear Prudence’. The band’s slot ended with their 1994 hit single ‘Grassman’.
For fans of: Ocean Colour Scene, Oasis.
Coventry-based rockers Pelugion owned the stage during their set in the Rock Tent and did a spectacular job of drawing in a crowd with their raw vocals and intricate guitar hooks. The crowd loved every minute, showering the trio with support and head banging along with front-man Andy Sweeney as he swung his luscious-locks around the stage.
The set included fan-favourites ‘Desire’ and ‘Bane of Humanity’, both of which featured a mass of tuneful guitar squeals (or pinch harmonics for the guitar-nerds amongst the readers) and a horde of complex time signatures. Both can be found on their EP 1.
For fans of: Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Beartooth.
Frank Iero and the Future Violents
Frank Iero took the stage in the Rock Tent in his trademark boiler suit on Friday evening with backing band ‘the Future Violents’ in tow, ready to headline the tent and perform his first show in the UK this year. His set contained a concoction of songs spanning from all of his albums, including ‘Young and Doomed’, a punky song from his latest album Barriers that was released on May 31st, as well as old favourites like ‘.weighted.’ from first album Stomachaches.
Stand out songs include ‘Veins! Veins!! Veins!!!’ from second album Parachutes which featured beautifully intense patches throughout the song delivered by passionate violinist Kaley Goldsworthy. Another favourite was ‘If I Let You Down’, a slowed-down, exposed song which emitted vibes similar to those produced by Elton John’s ‘Piano Man’ (that is, if Elton John was a Rockstar and the former rhythm guitarist of My Chemical Romance).
The set ended with ‘Joyride’ and saw the teens of Coventry create a sea of fist pumps and an array of crowd surfers. Here’s hoping it won’t be too long before Frank brings his Future Violents back to the Midlands, as they definitely won over more than a few Coventrians with their set.
For fans of: Creeper, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy.
The privilege of final act of the night was awarded to the Levellers, who gave a simultaneously electrifying yet moving performance. The band managed to unite the entire crowd from toddlers to great grand-parents (as well as everyone in between) with their easy-going songs. These golden oldies had everyone swaying in sync and proved that they’re a real family-friendly band, especially as at one point all that could be seen was a sea of floral-clad children swaying on their parents’ shoulders.
The show opened with ‘Liberty Song’, a hit from 1991 album Levelling the Land. A number of audience members could be seen showing off shirts promoting the album, most of which will almost definitely have been originals from when the album was released.
The set featured some sensational musical instruments including a harmonica, electric violin and even a didgeridoo in their folky hit single ‘One Way’. Mark Chadwick played the prestigious role of front man with pride and charmed his way through the set with the audience in the palm of his hand. The band played a healthy 16 song set including an encore that contained hits ‘Beautiful Day’ and ‘The Riverflow’, which left the entireity of the newly-united crowd screaming for more.
For fans of: The Pogues, Frank Turner.
Friday was a spectacular evening; the weather treated the crowd well and the music left everyone in high spirits. The Birmingham Live team will be coming back tomorrow to see what’s in store for Coventry on the second day of Godiva Festival 2019.
Review: Cara Jackson
Photos: Chris Bowley