Festival Frolics: Soaked in Superfluous Pop, V Festival 2010.

From a myriad of underaged and undernourished bathed in neon gunk quite literally passing out to Tinie Tempah, to endless, ubiquitous shoddy corporeal costumes, Winnebagos equipped with en suite hot tubs and seemingly every last (chipper, smug, repulsively clueless) presenter ever to have babbled on about the current state of pop royalty on Channel 4, V Festival is utterly spectacular. And that's not inherently a laudable quality in a somewhat extortionate two day binge. That said, an indiscriminate booze token takes a less sizable chunk out of your pension than one of Glastonbury's finest...um... Gaymers...

The twin-headed format, acquired from this weekend's historic and continually disappointing Reading & Leeds Festivals, sees a plethora of temporarily infamous pop acts spawned within 12 months of being booked and likely to disappear in a similar time frame dash between the pseudo-sleaze charm of Chelmsford, Essex, and the northern (north of Watford at least) leg up in Staffordshire. Tempah's never been to Scunthorpe. Here's betting he's probably never been there either. So that's dime-a-dozen pop predominantly (see, yet hope not to witness Ellie Goulding, Jason Derulo, Chipmunk, Diana Vickers, Professor Green, Example etc.), the sort of dirge that sounds a little like David Guetta feasting on the remnants of Craig David's rotting irrelevance. Headlining the 4 Music Stage (ironically and iconically the $ MUSIC STAGE holding down shift), Guetta himself churns out an egotistically blasé hour-ish of endless swish-sounding house fodder that's clogged Youtube up for months and years too long already, as he bathes in ceaseless adoration as if he's beheaded whichever fool let this year's Love Parade go ahead. Then there's Florence & the Machine and White Lies, neither of which really ought to be present and accounted for this year, given that new material is sparse and slight when concurrent wares are flaunted. And as for Eels, well, whilst at his Brian Wilson-esque best (as on Blinking Lights And Other Revelations) E may be overwhelmingly superb, in dirty blues mode he comes across merely contrived and confused.

Slander aside, there's a profusely engaging, arresting and exemplary slew of acts that permeate the dreariness and drizzle, as Mika exudes a buoyant flamboyance that'd have Neil Tennant questioning his sexuality all over again, the likes of opener Relax (Take It Easy), We Are Golden and Rain inspiring cracked falsettos in an exiguous Nissan Juke Arena. Goldfrapp's glitz'n'glamour set oozes a reverted retro disco chic following the organic orchestration of previous long player Seventh Tree, as Alison flings her sequined cape about like the frenzied godmother you never had yet always longed for, Ooh La La and Strict Machine sounding more raunchy than Boris Becker in the broom cupboard. Tuning into entirely diverse frequencies are Madness, as a stage translation of the nonchalant bravado of a Chelsea victory parade blurs with Jackie Mittoo-indebted ska sensibilities whilst Suggs still bangs on about that bloody house, in the middle of that bloody street. Then there's Bristol's trip hop pioneer Tricky, who performs a controversial and confrontational show to a modest handful of vaguely lost wanderers, many instantly enthralled. Still as intent on evading the smoking ban as ever, the Knowle West Boy is about as dead set on sparking up under tarpaulin as Boris Johnson seems to be on a London lined with blue bikes, as Past Mistake, tonight, is truly thunderous. Homecoming heroes The Prodigy lock horns with Kasabian for the Essex lads, lasses and inbetweeners' affections and come off as unapologetically triumphant as Gordon Ramsay cracking Heston Blumenthal's head like a boiled egg shell, as Keith Flint, still spinning about like a demented windmill falling off its hinges, beside the slightly more subdued Maxim swagger about to anything and everything from the aggro abrasion of Omen, to the ominous wrath of Breathe. Just like red and black Rowntree's, the irrefutable best is reserved for the swaying consciences and stumbling thighs enlightened by Air, as Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel ignite the few lumbering imaginations congregated before their gargantuan screen and dazzling suavity, conclusively drawing from seminal sophomore record, Moon Safari. Now almost as aged as Pixie Lott, compared with her atrocious covers medley to which thousands have earlier drudged themselves away from sweaty sub-canvas climes for, its wafting beauty is life-affirming. The synth slump of La Femme D'Argent is sublime, the vocoded wonder of Kelly Watch The Stars, delivered with the slightest of sincerities by Nicolas Godin entrancing, and an insatiable Sexy Boy, reeled off in sequence makes for the most magical of endings to a meagre bender on mainstream mediocrity.