This year saw a new festival come to Chelmsford after V Festival closed it's doors last year. I wasn't too sure what to expect especially as there were clearly some big changes. For a start V Festival took place over a Saturday and Sunday whereas RiZE was being held on the Friday and Saturday. I wasn't able to attend on the Friday, this personally didn't concern me too much as looking at the line-up there weren't really any acts I was desperate to see and I much preferred the acts on the Saturday.
About a week before the festival they released a map of the new layout. The layout was much smaller than V Festival, which to begin with I had my reservations about. I needn't of worried about the smaller layout though as this proved to be much better and lot easier to navigate between the stages. I spent a lot of the day moving between stages to catch as many acts as possible and to make the most out of the day so it definitely worked to my advantage.
Even though the festival appeared smaller, there was still a big range of stalls on site selling all of your festival gear from hats and sunglasses to fancy dress outfits, plus glitter stations and an oxygen bar. There were plenty of bars too, and the queues for these were really short, definitely an added bonus as no one wants to be wasting time in the queue for a drink. I'm not sure if maybe I hadn't noticed the variety before but there seemed to be a lot more rides too. My only negative was the lack of toilets, as soon as it hit about 5pm there was a constant queue for the toilets and it was a big queue.
Over all the atmosphere was really good and for the first time ever at a festival I didn't feel awkward, out of place or irritated by other festival goers. It felt like there was an equal mix of ages and everyone seemed to be aware of others round them which made a real difference to the experience. In the past it has felt like the average age was about 18 so this was a really nice change.
And the highlight of the festival for me, it had to be seeing Sean Paul. I loved it.
RiZE was a definite hit with me and I will definitely be looking to go again next year if it returns for a second year.
~ Gem x