Ponty’s Big Weekend – Saturday Review

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Editor’s Note: Wicid were recently at Ponty’s Big Weekend. This is a review of the Saturday, by three different writers. Each writer has been credited at the end of their review.

Saturday 20th July saw the first of two days of Ponty’s Big Weekend, where music fans from across the country and beyond travelled to the humble town of Pontypridd to see the likes of JLS, Little Mix, Union J and support acts perform in the gorgeous summer weather. Wicid were there to witness the musical gathering and it has to be said: it was amazing!

To kick off the festival was Barry-based Chloe Cooke, whom we hadn’t heard of before but definitely has talent. She has a natural stage presence and was the ideal act to pump up the crowd for a highly entertaining afternoon. Her voice was strong and absolutely amazing – I hope to see her around, because she was very entertaining.

Next up was valleys-born John Adams. John has previously auditioned for X Factor, and gave up his career of a maths teacher to fulfil his dream of becoming a musician. I’m telling the truth when I say out of all three of the Ponty’s Big Weekend events I have attended, John is definitely in my top 3 favorite acts. His clear and angelic voice won the audience over as he covered various songs as well as singing one of his own. He even got the crowd involved in his own song, which was amazing, and his song is etched in my mind and has been since his performance. I am so excited for his album release – I’ll be sure to buy it and I really hope to see him live again soon.

Following Mr Adams was Aberdare’s Ragsy, who was on this year’s series of The Voice. After missing out on the music reality show this year, I had yet to hear Ragsy sing – now I know for sure what I have been missing out on. The majority of the audience knew who he was and were highly excited for his performance, and he didn’t let them down. The local rocker has amazing talent and a strong voice which really had the crowd hyped up. Like Chloe, I’d love to see him around more.

Next was another contestant from the Voice, Mr Ash Morgan. Listening to Ash, I could hear a male version of Amy Winehouse and again, I realised the talent I had missed on the UK music show. His performance was another to add to the ‘awesome’ list, along with the other supports we had already seen.

With the support acts performances over, it was time for the first of the three headliners, starting with boyband Union J. Fresh from last year’s X Factor, the boys were extremely excited to be back in Wales and were enjoying the summer sun. They performed a number of covers – including ones they competed with on the famous talent show – as well as their brand new single, ‘Carry You’. The crowd went wild for the four British boys as they paraded around the stage, showing off their amazing talent. I can definitely see these boys making it big time and I hope they remember their Welsh fans when they’re at the top.

The second headlining act was none other than Little Mix. The winners of 2011’s X Factor burst out onto stage with their girl power and extremely talented voices and I, along with thousands of others, was beyond excited. What I loved most about their performance was the fact that you could feel their attitude and love for the audience with each song they sang. Besides singing their singles such as ‘DNA’, ‘Wings’ and ‘How Ya Doin’?’, the girls performed a medley of songs by other girl bands who inspired them and, oh my days, it was amazing. You could give these girls any song and they can sing it without question. I loved their performance and I hope I get the chance to see them again soon.

Finally, to close the show was the one and only JLS. Another X Factor based group, this was JLS’ second time performing at Ponty’s Big Weekend and it was indeed an emotional one, after the boys recently announced their split. The crowd were going crazy for Aston, JB, Marvin and Oritse, and sang along to each and every song that they performed. You could definitely feel the love and connection between the boys and their fans and being one of their last ever shows in Wales, the emotions and feelings were at an all-time high. It was sad to know that this is one of the last times we’ll see the boys together, but it made their performance that little more special.

Overall, the whole event was absolutely amazing and one of the best yet! I loved every second and I hope to be able to attend next year’s event. Thank you so much to Wicid for letting us attend the event – I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity.

Written by Ihavethecyrusvirusx

**

If there are three things people love, they are Pontypridd, the weekend and the word ‘big’. So, a huge congratulations to the bona fide genius who came up with the name for Ponty’s now annual two-day ‘spectacular’, featuring various acts performing.

It seemed that this year was an X Factor (or certainly a reality show) takeover of Ponty’s Big Weekend. Former X Factor contestants Union J, Little Mix, JLS, and John Adams were probably the event’s most-talked about contributors, while The Voice’s Ash Morgan and ‘Ragsy’ were also on hand to deliver some performances of a vocal variety.

Chloe Cooke from Barry – yeah, no idea either – opened the Big Weekend with a collection of songs that sounded like catchy slices of current chart music. Even as the choruses were being blasted from the speakers, Cooke’s ‘banter’ with the audience mainly consisted of telling them to be excited about different acts that weren’t her own. Which didn’t make much sense, considering the fact that she’s appearing to advertise her own brand and her own music, not Union J’s or Little Mix’s – even though they did get huge cheers when their names were mentioned by literally anyone.

John Adams, who appeared on the X Factor the same year Little Mix won, seemed like a much-hyped performer amongst the (mainly female) crowd. He arrived on stage to screams. Adams has been on the road busking relentlessly since his dream of X Factor was somewhat crushed. Thus, Adams’ set consisted mostly of covers and it did become clear that through busking Adams has clearly connected with audiences. However, whilst performing covers could have given him the opportunity to delve into his own musical personality and genre, it seemed that any song with an acoustic guitar got a scream from the girls and that would do. But that, of course, doesn’t mean that the covers weren’t classy and the crowd weren’t entertained. They didn’t care what Adams was singing, they would have screamed anyway.

Predictably, Ragsy and Ash Morgan sang covers for both of their sets. Ragsy sang Tom Jones. Of course. Ash Morgan banged on about the time Jessie J sat down in front of him whilst he sang. Of course he did. Lovely people they may be, there wasn’t much room for artistic improvement for these two artists. Sadly, we may never see Ragsy at Number One.

Union J’s set was a high point. Storming on stage with a boy-ish charm and ‘LAD’ banter that only endeared the band even more to the audience, Union J’s set mostly consisted of cover songs – sadly they didn’t give us a preview of another smash-hit single – but the songs, such as ‘Love Song’ by Taylor Swift, were clearly targeted at the young female target audience for which Union J rely on for sales and members of their fandom. Beautiful harmonies and stunning solo voices from every member of the group – and a shameless plug of their new quite-good-if-you-like-good-boyband-songs single ‘Carry You’ – made Union J’s set a highlight. Although it was a highlight that was somewhat short lived.

There are few facts about Little Mix; they won the X Factor and they’re a girlband. You may never have even heard about Little Mix until you heard these two tracks but upon hearing them you realise that they are actually amazing. There are amazing X Factor winners – Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke – and there are amazing girlbands – Spice Girls, Girls Aloud, Mini Viva (RIP) – so Little Mix only continue this trend of amazingness. But you do not realise how amazing Little Mix actually are until you’ve seen them live. Opening their set, Little Mix strutted onto that stage like they were bona fide superstars. Cool. Calm. Completely in control of everything around them, Little Mix looked like they were gods visiting earth (that’s not too hyperbolic, right?). Throughout their set, which was packed full of hits, you did find yourself singing along and then realising that you did not even know that you knew the words to this song. Little Mix’s amazingness, and the amazingness of their songs, creeps up on you like a terribly infectious tropical disease. It takes a lot to get rid of and stays with you for ages. Their two closing songs, ‘DNA’ and ‘Wings’, are masterpieces. This cannot be disputed. Strong set. Strong dancers. Even stronger ladies. And Jade may have just glanced at someone whilst singing. Naming no names.

Seeing as Little Mix were the highlight, it seemed weird that the actual headline act, JLS, had to top them. JLS have been around for a while. In pop years they are about 45. ‘Beat Again’ was a tune – it all sort of went downhill from then and, although their popularity never seemed to dip – everyone was disappointed by that fourth album. So it comes as no big surprise to see that JLS are (spoiler alert) splitting up. Not as if you could have guessed, with them alluding to it in almost every song. Tears were flooding the stage, banners were held aloft by grieving fan-girls and everyone did kind of give a sigh when JLS’ final song at their final performance at Ponty’s Big Weekend was not ‘Love You More’ or ‘Everybody In Love’ but…’Hottest Girl In The World’. Which is OK. Not their best song. Not their best hit. Well done JLS. Look forward to not seeing you on this farewell tour announced almost half a year since you said you were splitting up. RIP.

Written by gg95

**

What can I say other than:

Ponty’s Big Weekend was awesome.

Anyway, back to the professional bit. Ponty’s Big Weekend 2013 comprised of many events this year, including a free stage in the town centre hosted by Capital FM. There were many acts on this stage, including official support acts Ragsy and John Adams. It’s nice to see events like this being held for those either unlucky enough not to have had tickets or not enough money to buy them. It really does emphasise just how big Ponty’s Big Weekend is now that not everyone can get in.

Anyway, I’m rambling.

Those lucky enough to be in the festival this year were in for a real treat. The support acts included Chloe Cook, ‘The Voice UK’ contestants Ash Morgan and Ragsy and ‘X Factor’ contestant John Adams. All of the support were really enjoyable and provided electric atmosphere before the main acts took the stage.

What can I say? Even though I’m not the biggest fan of JLS (apart from Aston’s abs, of course), I loved every second of it. The atmosphere was intense and the crowd simply went wild. Little Mix made the stage their own, performing covers alongside hits such as ‘DNA’. This combination meant that, at some point, every person in the park was singing along.

And now the best bit. Union J.

Not only are they wonderful eye candy, but are also very pleasing on the ear. It’s scary to think that 7 months on from a talent show, they can be this good and have such a big fanbase. The boys also did covers alongside their own tracks, making for an impressive repertoire.

Written by Welshspud22

What did you think of Ponty’s Big Weekend?

Images: pandy12

Related Article: JLS Sell Out Ponty’s Big Weekend

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