By Catalina-Adelina Constantin and Alfie Linville-Sibley

Half an hour train ride. A 19 minute walk from Nottingham train station enjoying the sun and the city centre. And VIP tickets. The Jubilee bank holiday weekend was definitely one to remember. We were so excited to make it to the festival. The best part? We were all there together sharing our love for music.

Going through the main entrance, we were blown away by the massive outdoor space with clusters of people who were either dancing, laughing, flirting, talking, or doing a couple of these things simultaneously. The place was filled with happiness and loud random conversations. The warm sunshine helped; despite the rainy forecast we were given.

The festival season is our favourite time of the year. On Friday 3rd June, Nottingham’s Victoria Embankment was filled with over 20,000 music fans. A great turnout for an epic first-year festival with an impressive line-up. The performances left people hyped up and wanting more.

We caught our favourite artists across three incredible stages. The main and second stages were opposite and separated by a rise while the BBC Music Introducing Stage was an open-air amphitheatre set up with concrete stairs to sit on tucked away from the rest of the festival. This made a lovely journey from one stage to another.

Liverpool four-piece rock outfit The Mysterines opened up the main stage with a blistering take on “Life’s a bitch (but I like it so much)”, getting the crowd moving to the moody verses and cathartic choruses. Continuing to run through six more tracks from their 2022 debut “Reeling”, The Mysterines proved themselves one to watch this year and beyond.

Next up was Black Honey, bringing hazy guitar lines and Izzy B. Phillips’ signature genre-hopping vocals, she commanded the stage and the crowd through up-tempo cuts “Run for cover” and more glittery tunes like “Beaches”.

Although their set mostly comprised of cuts from their softmore album “Written and Directed”, it wasn’t all Tarantino-esque fuzz and desert-tinged leads. Classics like “All My Pride” and “Corrine” were played with the explosive energy and precision you would expect from the indie veterans.

Concluding with a stage-side merch sale out of a suitcase held aloft by Phillips, as she and the band posed for pictures between selling shirts and necklaces. It’s clear even almost a decade into their careers Back Honey aren’t stagnating or slowing down.

The Reytons storm the stage, sending their fans into a frenzy of limbs and flares as they run through “Mind the Gap” and “Antibiotics”. Pausing to address the crowd, vocalist Johnathan Yerrell thanks their fans who pushed their debut “Kids off the Estate” to #11 on the UK charts, proudly stating that they are and remain 100% independent.

The air filled with red smoke as they finish with “Broke Boys Cartel”, earning a rapturous response to the chorus. These Yorkshire firebrands are destined for stadiums.

Elsewhere at the festival, Emzae performed a one-woman show on the BBC Introducing stage. With only her vocals, guitar, and a rack of synths and keyboards, she weaved intricate bedroom pop tunes from the ground up, triggering samples and loops in real-time to perform to.

Daisy Brain brought their rawkus grunge/britpop blend to the second stage. Throat shredding choruses and drawled verses play out backed by screaming guitars and chugging grooves.

The Kooks played a set loaded with classics from their debut, “Inside In, Inside Out”, following its 15th anniversary last year. Big hits like “She Moves in Her Own Way” and “Seaside” went over as well as you’d expect, inspiring massive crowd sing-alongs, perfect for the evening.

Newer cuts like “Bad Habit” were enjoyed just as well, as did tracks from their most recent album “Hello Sunshine”. Ending with the massive “Naive”, also from their debut, was the perfect end to a career-spanning set packed with classics.

Rounding out the festival was Gerry Cinnamon. The Glaswegian singer and songwriter inspired group chants and singalongs before he’s even hit the stage, at one point the crowd was singing his name to the tune of “Axel F” as his intro fanfare builds.

His entry was hailed by an explosion of confetti as he played “Lullaby” from his debut album. Out the gate, his stage presence is immense, despite being entirely alone. Only him, his guitar, and a pedal to trigger a booming kick drum.

“Remember this is your night, no **** else’s,” he declares, before running through “Sometimes” and “What Have You Done” gleefully laughing throughout as the crowd shouts back every word.

Throughout the set, the sky is awash with red flare smoke and filled with chants and singalongs as Gerry commands the stage, frequently engaging the crowd and laughing as he plays with stomping kicks keeping the energy high.

Crowd favourites “Ghost” and “Belter” go down a storm, and his encore is greeted with massive applause, before running through the 1-2 punch of “Where We’re Going” and “Canter”. The crowd is left in awe, cheering as he departs the stage, closing the inaugural edition of Meadowlands.

The night greeted people with hazy cold air. We were dancing away between the crowds with hay bales spread across the place on which people could sit down and enjoy the acts. This was an unforgettable debut with a great location, music, and atmosphere. We hope we’re able to add it to the festival calendar next year!

(Gerry Cinnamon entertaining the crowds at Meadlowands Festival – Credit: @jacob_flannery_)