Radio 1’s Greg James and Arielle Free open Big Weekend exhibition at V&A Dundee
For immediate release: 1 December 2023
A new, free-to-visit exhibition recreating the spirit and energy of Radio 1’s Big Weekend Dundee 2023 has opened today (Friday 1 December) at V&A Dundee.
The Big Weekend music festival held at Camperdown Park in May was the biggest event of its kind ever held in Dundee, with 81,835 music fans attending over three days to see star-studded acts including Lewis Capaldi, The 1975, Self Esteem and RAYE.
Radio 1’s Big Weekend Experience, now open at V&A Dundee until 7 January 2024, has crowdsourced contributions from festival-goers and listeners of Radio 1’s Breakfast show to include in the exhibition. The cherished photographs, videos, memories and souvenirs are displayed alongside stage outfits and props donated by Big Weekend headline acts including Lewis Capaldi, Self Esteem, 30 Seconds to Mars, Piri, Wet Leg and The 1975.
A star feature of Radio 1’s Big Weekend Experience is a series of interactive experiences and games:
‘The Big Weekend Sound Engineer Experience’ gives visitors the chance to be a Live Music Sound Engineer. With faders assigned to different instruments and vocals, users can find the perfectly balanced mix of RAYE’s performance of ‘Escapism’.
The festival experience is revisited with the ‘Interactive Arena Map’. Utilising a gaming engine, a 3D digital replica of the festival site plays music from the various stages, whilst revealing photos submitted by festival goers, helping recreate that back-at-the festival feeling.
‘Radio 1’s Dance Experience’ includes a life-size DJ booth with glitter wall backdrop recreating a DJ set on stage. Users can control the ‘stems’ of songs by Dundee DJ, Hannah Laing and Scottish dance duo, LF System to get hands-on with manipulating the individual level of bass, melody, vocal and drums.
‘The Line-Up Generator’ produces a virtual personalised poster of favourite acts which can be downloaded to keep using a scannable QR code.
‘Lewis In The Sky’ shows a time-lapse video of the graphic design process used to create the TikTok filter of Lewis Capaldi dancing in the sky, which festival-goers downloaded to add to their videos. Visitors can try out the filter for themselves by downloading the associated QR code.
Lewis Capaldi’s appearance at the festival came two days after he was awarded No.1 Album for ‘Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent’. Capaldi’s iconic closing performance where tens of thousands of fans sang along features in the exhibition, along with his award trophies.
Special attention is given to ‘Festival Fashun’, and the colourful outfits worn by festival goers and performers. Self Esteem’s tartan kilt by Scottish designer Siobhan Mackenzie is on display alongside polaroids of bespoke festival looks by Dundee-based designer Dreamland Clothing. Performers’ stage outfits include Piri’s outfit designed by Emily Watson and Matty Healey of The 1975’s white lab coat designed by Patricia Villarillo.
Ruby Coyne, founder of Dreamland Clothing, said: "Radio 1’s Big Weekend was incredible. It was amazing to see all the hard work pay off. It brought weeks' worth of excitement to our city. I think we did it proud."
The Life Hacks sessions hosted by Radio 1 presenters Vick Hope and Katie Thistleton in Dundee during this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week also feature in the free exhibition. Pupils from Harris Academy can be seen interviewing Radio 1 presenters Vick Hope and Katie Thistleton about their jobs and experiences working in radio.
Radio 1 have worked with V&A Dundee’s Learning Team to create a virtual version of the exhibition for schools. The accompanying BBC Sounds Audio Guide, hosted by Greg James and Arielle Free guides audiences through each chapter of the pop-up exhibition, telling the story of the festival.
Greg James, Radio 1 Breakfast host, said: “I’m so excited to be back in Dundee to open the Radio 1 Big Weekend Experience, or as no one is calling it The Great Greggshibition! What started as an empty room and a dream has now turned into a celebration of one of our greatest Big Weekends ever.
“Thank you to everyone who donated photos, videos, artefacts, memories and outfits that have helped bring this exhibition to life. We hope everyone enjoys what we’ve created with the help of our amazing listeners.”
Aled Haydn Jones, Head of Radio 1, said “Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2023 was a huge success generating a tremendous economic boost for Dundee, so it’s incredibly special that we have returned for this exciting legacy project.
“This has been a mammoth task and I’d like to thank our wonderful partners V&A Dundee for helping us create something truly iconic. I can’t wait for the public to see Radio 1’s Big Weekend Experience!”
Leonie Bell, Director of V&A Dundee, said “The Big Weekend Experience celebrates the joy of pop music, fashion, festivals, and the communities they create. The exhibition tells these stories and more through all the brilliant souvenirs that people have saved and collected after the amazing Big Weekend this summer in Dundee.
“We can’t wait for people to come along and enjoy Radio 1’s first ever exhibition dedicated to Big Weekend at V&A Dundee.”
The BBC worked closely with Dundee City Council to put on Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2023. The festival generated £3.7million for the local economy and brought a huge range of economic and social benefits, from boosting the city’s image and civic pride to creating hundreds of rewarding opportunities for volunteers.
Dundee City Council leader, Councillor John Alexander, said: “Radio 1's Big Weekend was an absolutely fantastic experience for everyone who attended, and Dundee really put on an event to remember.
"It brought significant benefits to our city and the surrounding area as a whole.
"I am delighted to see V&A Dundee staging this exhibition which captures the excitement of people who attended over the three days.
“The Big Weekend has given us a chance to show people from across the UK and beyond what us locals already know – that Dundee is a great place to live, work, study or visit.”
BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Experience 1 December – 7 January 2024 at V&A Dundee, 1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee, DD1 4EZ.