Ponty’s Big Weekend review: The music event makes a triumphant return after a five-year break – Kathryn Williams
A soggy Ynysangharad Park in Pontypridd saw Ponty’s Big Weekend return for the first time in five years and Indie and Britpop fans were out in force to see Ocean Colour Scene, The Bluetones, Goldie Lookin’ Chain and more.
With the forecast for sun and showers there were more macs and sunnies than I’d care to mention, but it was the perfect opportunity to see whether the Big Weekend’s return lived up to anticipation.
There are a lot of ’90s Indie fans in the valleys so the line-up was a given attraction for those of a certain age, but the younger members – Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, Al Moses, The Pitchforks and Young Garbo – pulled in some of their followers to make a great mixed crowd, which included kids, teens, middle-aged rockers and those aforementioned ’90s Indie kids.
It was brill to see local, young talent get exposure on this level and by the time Soccer AM darlings, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, came on stage the crowd were warmed up nicely.
Goldie Lookin’ Chain brought their legends set to the park but the crowd seemed non-plussed by their set.
On next were The Bluetones, whose gentle, melodic indie has been a staple on my playlists for yonks.
The Bluetones on stage in Pontypridd
(Image: Kathryn Williams)
And tonight they rolled out the classics, including Slight Return, Marblehead Johnson and Bluetonic which were sung and received with some fervour.
The crowd particularly lapped up the former and Marblehead Johnson was as heartbreaking to me as it was the first time I heard it.
Their set is the soundtrack of many a road trip. It was a joy to see them live.
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Talking of road trips, none of mine are complete without Ocean Colour Scene’s second album Moseley Shoals played in full.
I fricking love this album and can sing along without missing a beat – just plonk me down and watch me go.
OCS are solid-gold ’90s legends, a band packed with fantastic musicians and who came up with one of the most recognisable riffs of the decade, so it was brilliant to have them headlining at Ponty.
After a fairly chilled opening with Profit In Peace, the hits started coming and the sound was spot on. In fact, Simon Fowler sounded as fresh as the day Moseley Shoals was released and Steve Cradock proved what a phenomenal guitarist he is.
Ocean Colour Scene in Pontypridd
(Image: Kathryn Williams)
From The Circle, which was particularly lush, to Better Day and The Riverboat Song, the crowd loved this headline act – and the rain didn’t matter.
There was also a solo from Fowler as he performed Robin Hood and the band later paid homage to fellow ’90s Indie brothers Inspiral Carpets and Oasis – a nice touch.
For me, it was a pleasure to finally see Ocean Colour Scene performing live.
Ponty should count itself lucky to have attracted some incredibly talented musicians whose albums a lot of people love listening to on repeat. They made sure Ponty’s Big Weekend enjoyed a successful return.