V festival 2007 kicked off in Essex and Staffordshire today, with fans enjoying a happily rain-free start to the two-day event.

The festival has been hit by a number of big-name withdrawals, with Amy Winehouse, The Bravery and Bright Eyes among those to have pulled out – an inconvenience to the organisers betrayed by the fact that Saturday's set-list was the 17th version to be printed.

But with Just Jack and the Proclaimers starting things off at the Hylands Park, Chelmsford, venue and Rodrigo Y Gabriella raising the curtain at Weston Park, things have got off to a promising start.

Foo Fighters headline the V stage in Essex, while Jarvis Cocker and Primal Scream bring a retro feel to the JJB Arena as The Kooks and Happy Mondays are the top acts on the Channel 4 stage.

In Staffordshire, The Killers, Kasabian and Iggy and the Stooges will pull in the biggest crowds, before the acts swap venues for Sunday.

Among festival-goers, V is rated as both the cleanest and the most commercial – a reputation perhaps cemented by the Sloggi stage complete with semi-clad guys and gals dancing in the sunshine. "S – L – O – G – G – I, you can be my guy", anyone?

After the mud of Glastonbury and the rain at T In The Park, the weather looks like it is going to hold out for the weekend and festival director Bob Angus expects big things.

"V festival 2007 hosts a simply mind-blowing lineup," he said.

"Ranging from musical legends to complete newcomers, this really is a festival that caters for everyone."

Channel 4 will be screening highlights of the festival's best bits all weekend.

18/08/2007 15:11:14