BBC's One Big Weekend stars Bruno Mars, Saturdays, Calvin Harris, Rita Ora and Dizzee Rascal wowed by amazing Derry
Stars lined up to say a massive thank you to the people of Northern Ireland for hosting an unforgettable experience at the first ever three-day Radio 1's One Big Weekend.
Everyone from Ellie Goulding to Ollie Murs and Biffy Clyro to Dizzee Rascal spoke of the amazing atmosphere and the great welcome generated in Londonderry.
Many of the acts, despite being used to selling out massive arenas, said how they had been taken aback by the energy coming off the audiences each night of the Radio One festival at Ebrington Square.
Several acts made it to Derry with just minutes to spare following weekend flight disruption in London and a few other unforeseen events.
Among them was Ellie Goulding who arrived just before she was due on stage on Saturday.
“I was really surprised and a bit in a state of shock,” she said after delivering a sterling performance.
“I got here five minutes before my performance and I knew I had to perform and do a good job.
“The atmosphere has been incredible — being in Northern Ireland makes me very happy.”
Irish band The Script were among the most memorable acts of the entire weekend.
Lead singer and The Voice coach Danny O'Donoghue said that it was great to be back in Derry after the band hosted workshops at the Radio One Academy in the city a few weeks ago.
“To have all the artists coming here is great and then the amount of money generated for the local area and then there are kids getting to see their first big concert and that level of talent. I would love this in Dublin,” the singer said.
Danny also revealed that Northern Ireland’s The Voice hopefuls were up there among the best in this year's competition.
He said that they recently found Belfast contestant Conor Scott out busking despite his success on the show, and brought him on stage with them at the Odyssey.
Danny also revealed that at the aftershow bar, Tyrone contestant Andrea Begley showed she doesn't just have what he called the “voice of an angel” when she produced a guitar from a friend's car and began performing to a hushed crowd.
One of the biggest hits of the weekend was the charismatic former X Factor favourite Olly Murs.
He said: “It is good to be in Derry-Londonderry. This is a great gig to do and it is fantastic Radio One have done this.”
Robbie Williams forgot his flu to perform a surprise duet on the aptly named Going Crazy with hip hop rapper Dizzee Rascal. “Thanks for having me, Derry”, tweeted Robbie who plays his own huge show at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium next month.
And Dizzee — the ever smiling London-born chart topper — revelled in his Robbie hook-up.
“It was amazing, performing onstage for the first time with this legend.”
And Dizzee also revealed that he had ‘bagged himself’ something with a distinctively Northern Ireland flavour — “And you know (I) couldn't leave Northern Ireland without trying these ‘bad boys’ (Tayto spring onion crisps)!”
Friday night headliner Calvin Harris — romancing fellow Big Weekend star Rita Ora — simply said: “Radio 1 Big Weekend — what a night!”
Opening Saturday’s proceedings were homegrown indie pop rock heroes Two Door Cinema Club.
The Bangor-Donaghadee trio took time out from preparations for another European tour to play a crowd pleasing sing-a-long set.
“Big day for us in LegenDerry today”, they said on Twitter.
A chart topping group made it a truly beautiful Saturday for the 12,500 concert goers yesterday.
It had been a struggle for The Saturdays to get to Derry — after Friday’s flight delays at Heathrow Airport.
The sexy stars, including Frankie Sandford who proudly showed off her baby bump but minus new mum Rochelle Humes, flew into Dublin and finally arrived in Belfast at 2am — only 12 hours before they were due onstage yesterday.
But the group still dazzled with a sizzling set of old and new favourites including recent chart topper, What About Us and upcoming single, Gentleman.
Other acts who made it yet a particularly special Saturday night to remember were R’n’B pop star Labrinth; hip-hop star Iggy Azelia; short sharp shock indie rockers The Vaccines and a blazing headline set from Scottish outfit, Biffy Clyro.
Among those set to electrify the Derry stage today are US alt prog rockers Thirty Seconds to Mars.
And The Script — whose lead singer Danny O’Donoghoue is a coach on the BBC’s The Voice — are hoping for clear skies over Derry this evening.
The event — an important part of Derry’s year long City of Culture celebrations is expected to generate £2 million for the local economy.