Friday at Fusion Festival, Birmingham

Fusion Festival started with a bang at Cofton Park in Birmingham as the teeny boppers turned out in a force of 35,000 for the first day of festivities.

Friday at Fusion Festival, Birmingham

Ed Sheeran performs to 35,000 people at Fusion Festival in Birmingham

The weather was, thankfully, kind to us after intermittent rain through the week. It was sunny during the afternoon and, although the temperature dropped by nightfall, it stayed relatively dry.

As eluded to, it was a very young crowd on hand, most of whom were school children enjoying the dying embers of their summer holiday.

Obviously, there were quite a few parents in attendance, some of whom had taken advantage that kids aged five and under got in for free.

That’s not to say that adults had stayed away, either, as the likes of Ed Sheeran and Tinie Tempah appeals to a wide audience. And the ginger maestro had something to show us, too.

Ed Sheeran, with Katy Meaney

One man. One guitar. 35,000 adoring fans.

Ed Sheeran headlined the first night of the three-day event, wowing the crowd of all ages with a non stop 90 minute set.

Having offered to stand in after Justin Bieber cancelled, the 24-year-old musician entertained fans with hits from both his  ‘+’ and ‘x’ albums.

The Lego House star pulled in the biggest crowd of the day with his last minute gig and, as the clock struck 9pm, he simply walked on stage, instrument in hand.

No dramatic entrance, he wasn’t fashionably late and, after waving shyly at the screaming crowd, he started to wow.

Opening with 'I’m a Mess,' he went on to perform a host of his hits including ‘Lego House’, ‘The A-Team’, ‘Sing’ and ‘Drunk.'

Off the back of his sell out Wembley show last month, the star chatted happily to the crowd and said: “My job for the next hour is to entertain you. 

"I didn't plan for this festival but I'm ready to lose my voice if you are. Ready Birmingham?” Oh yes, we certainly were.

He went on to reminisce with the crowd about his first-ever gig in the city.

He said: “My first gig in Birmingham was at the Hare and Hounds. It was to 75 people and the PA didn’t work. We ended up on the tables. This is...different.”

Thousands sang along as he beautifully performed a handful of lines from Elvis Presley’s ‘I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’ before seamlessly moving into his hit  ‘Thinking Out Loud.’

The singer surprised crowds with a mixture of covers including Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’  and Bill Withers’ ‘Ain't No Sunshine.’

He ended the night with ‘Sing’ before, similar to his entrance, politely thanking the crowd and walking off stage,but not before saying  “keep on singing Birmingham.”

And the supporting cast, with Craig Birch.

Tinie Tempah

A veteran of the festival scene, you can always rely on Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu to be a rabble rouser in this sort of environment.

Good old Tinie Tempah had his right hand man, DJ Charlesy, with him for this one but he wasn’t warming up the audience on this occasion. There wasn’t time.

There were the best part of an hour to rattle through his numbers and there’s plenty of them, starting with his signature tune ‘Pass Out.’

The Batman and Robin of English rap rattled through ‘Frisky’ and his collusion with Labrinth, ‘Earthquake.’ Expect to hear that again tonight when the other half of the song performs.

‘Written in the Stars’ and ‘Miami 2 Ibiza’ duly followed along with ‘Drinking from the Bottle,’ the latter made famous as a featured artist with Calvin Harris.

He was brought in to, perhaps, got the crowd rocking even to the point of wearing them out so they were ready to relax for the top liner. Mission accomplished.


Pop rock is their thing and they have been responsible for some catchy numbers and it was straight down to business here, with their only top 40 hit after their debut.

‘Wait on Me’ started them off and they are not above resorting to covers to keep things fresh, either, which was the case with almost all of the acts on the night.

One particular sample of Pharrell Williams’ ‘Frontin’ really grabbed your attention, shame it only lasted 30 seconds. Medleys decree as such.

Their most memorable track of the moment is their most recent, ‘We All Want the Same Thing.’ As recently immortalised in the Cornetto advert. The ice cream rose to the top there.

Their solitary No 1, ‘Me and My Broken Heart,’ finished proceedings as the first full band of the night signed off from an enthusiastic audience. Job done.

DJ Fresh

Electro spinner Daniel Stein took to the platters that matter for a 45 minute set, ably assisted by Jay ‘Messy MC.’

This was arguably a set for the thirtysomethings, the sort that grew up on the same dance floors as the man on the decks.

House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ transgresses to all and Fresh’s top tune, ‘Gold Dust,’ is one of the most popular dance tunes of recent years.

He’s been responsible for two No 1s in ‘Hot Right Now’ and ‘Louder,’ last charting the top 10 teamed up with Ella Eyre on ‘Gravity.’ It was a fitting finale here.

The rest

Aston Merrygold, of JLS fame, also featured as he goes it alone with a useful offering, along with emerging hip hopper Fuse ODG.

Young and flashy with the dance moves to match, Merrygold is hitting the circuit ahead of the release of his first solo album 'Show Stopper' in October.

Fuse is already responsible for two top 10 hits in 'Antenna' and 'Million Pound Girl 'Badder Than Bad,' both of which were on show here.

The multi-talented Shift K3Y and X Factor finalist Luke Friend opened the show, which was well-attended from the off and only got bigger.

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