Vanity Van Backstage at the Leeds Festival

Leeds Festival What an experience… an epic last weekender to end the season with. Electrical storms and mud aside the stellar line up for Reading and Leeds more than made up for it. Intrepid Alix from Vanity Van gives us the lowdown backstage:
Our salon was based in the main stage dressing room area in the thick of the action. We could almost reach out and touch the back of the stage and had the best seats in the house to hear all the biggest acts.  We also had our mobile crack team of beauticians running from stage to stage dealing with a whole variety of urgent beauty emergencies. We really do LOVE our job.

Biffy Clryo rocked up early on the Thursday evening booking in for their regular massages to ease the tour bus aches and pains. Ben their drummer tweeted our masseuse Rachael afterwards thanking her for her skilled hands. Being headliners they had the luxury of their own cordoned off compound with eight dressing rooms to themselves. This had to be due to the Sunday headliner Eminem who had an epic crew of 75 people with him. Our sources tell us his rider included 1 single dumbbell and some expensive cigars and he had his own personal loo which no one else was allowed to use – he certainly hasn’t experienced your average festival toilet this weekend, the lucky bugger.

We bumped into regular Dash the drummer for HAIM and lead singer Alana over at the NME Radio One stage he’s grown an amazing new barnet. They had just jumped off stage and excitedly told us this is the best gig they have played in a long time epic atmosphere but in all the excitement he accidentally called the crowd London not Leeds oops! Alana booked in with for an urgent mini miners manicure with us over at the main salon although her buggy got completely lost and took her on a wild goose chase. Totally worth it off course to have fabulous ‘Black Velvet’ nails.

Kola Wretch 32’s keyboard player called us as soon as they hit the site and we popped over to see all the crew and give them a much-needed rub down. We even got to finally see them perform later on that night as they were headlining on 1xtra after the salon shut – what a show so much energy and passion. Wretch lovingly thanked the crowd for taking him to where he is today and Shezar totally owned the stage with her fresh vocals, a serious talent and a half, that girl, we love her energy and style.

Word on the street is that Green Day have hot baths after headlining and lots of massages as they have their own personal massage therapists. This weekend we got asked by about four bands to go on tour with them. The makings of a new angle to the Vanity Van empire me thinks. One of our team was invited to watch them on the stage and they told her that the whole on stage area is teetotal nowadays where as in the past the drummer would have had crates of beer to hand.

One rather un teetotal band were the Lumineers who seemed very lively when they jumped off stage to get their buggy ride back – proper rock star.

Bring me the Horizon being painted as animals for their stage show

Bring me the Horizon being painted as animals for their stage show Photo Credit: Zoeh McDermott, Vanity Van.

The epic, energetic Bring me the Horizon boys who are always up for a laugh all had their faces painted for their stage show – animals were the order of the day we created a Lizard, Monkey, Dog, Koala, Lion and a Tiger – watching them perform heavy metal in this get up was possibly the funniest thing we have ever seen. They are uber legends cannot wait to see the stage pics.

Old skool rock legends Nine Inch Nails had so much kit with them it was delivered by JCB. Their latest sleek dapper look is a far cry from their dreadlocked early years. We also chatted to Fall Out Boy who have been casually hanging out in London the last couple of days sampling the delights our finest city has to offer.

Talking of epicness, Major Lazers stage show was possibly the most intense experience ever topped off by Diplo actually zorbing across the crowd. We cut his hair just before his set and finished off the look with some Nicky Clarke Definitive Hold what a major hottie. I popped into see him after his set to try to get a photo of his cut but he point-blank refused, however did a rather stunning dance for me instead – didn’t quite know where to look.

The word on the street on Sunday afternoon were that Rudimental were joining us to party they even had their own dressing room opposite us but only Kenzie showed up to watch Eminem – gutted as they are a lot of fun when they get going we danced the night away with them on the last night at Latitude. READ MORE about Latitude here.

The Editors are an all time fave of ours and the lead guitarist Justin’s little girl spent all afternoon with us having treatments. Justin pocketed a much-needed can of hint of colour Batiste to take on tour with him.

Zoeh McDermott, Vanity Van.

Mark, Jay and Steve from Kodaline Batiste dry shampoos biggest fans (c) Zoeh McDermott, Vanity Van.

Talking of Batiste we have actually found their biggest fans. We hung out with Dublin based band Kodaline on Saturday afternoon giving them massages and catching up as we haven’t seen them since Radio One in Derry and they told us that Batiste is possibly one of their most favourite things in the world. I joked with their lead singer Steve Garrigan would this be his item of choice if he was stuck on a desert island and he said yes, but potentially he would be forced to consume it having no food and all.  Mark Prendergast joked “it’s a shower in a bottle – we can’t survive without it. These guys have been together since they were kids and after the release of their debut album “In a perfect world” – their worlds have been turned upside down. They are off to tour Australia this month, then the US and then they have a huge UK and European tour all before Xmas. They told us its amazing how things have suddenly catapulted and how they now have all the trimmings such as tour buses etc. We also talked for ages about the wonders of massage, Steve had his first one ever with us this weekend and he told us how Danny from The Script told Steve he literally has a massage every day and waxes lyrical about the benefits. They have invited us to go see them at their Shepherds Bush gig which we are excited about.

Talking of tour buses we bumped into A$AP Rocky’s manager late Saturday night and had a hilarious laugh with them doing crazy accents. He took us onto the tour bus to say hi to A$AP. He greeted us with big hugs and said he was gutted he hadn’t managed to see us as he is in desperate need of another ‘shiny buff’ manicure which we gave him at Radio One earlier on in the year. I told him we had actually popped over an hour before his set to catch him but he told us he had been out in the ‘carnival’ he told us hitting all the fair ground rides with the punters all evening and had the muddy trainers to prove it.

For a lot of acts this will be their last show of festival season. The White Lies told us after their latest album release has meant they have had the busiest summer ever and they are more than a little relieved that its final over. They left with some Miners Cosmetics and Batiste goody bags to take to their girlfriends – they said it was great to be able to take them presents to take the edge off of the fact they are away on tour so much. Willy Moon who we massaged over at the dance tent said the same thing – and hitting festival after festival is serious hard graft – don’t we know!

We chatted with James from Mallory Knox after their set, this is the biggest show they have ever played and they were more than a little nervous but were grateful to have done Reading first as at Leeds due to Eminem’s epic stage setting up they could only get on stage 10 minutes before to get ready. And to top it off during the first track a photographer pulled out one of the leads and killed the bass guitar for the first track. He was swiftly removed to say the least.

Photo Credit: Zoeh McDermott, Vanity Van

Nic the drummer from Hadouken having his alfresco hair cut

We had all of Hadoukens band in, Alice the keyboardist had a fab ‘Star Power’ luminous pink Red carpet mani and pedi to hit the stage with. And we cut the drummer Nicks hair which we used some Batiste hint of colour to revive his barnet after their energetic set ideal for soaking up sweat and grease which artists seem to deal with a lot.

credit Zoeh McDermott, Vanity Van.

Alice keyboardist from Hadouken post Star Power Red Carpet Manicure

The Deftones were great fun, bringing with them a PA system just for their dressing room to rival that on the main stage. We cut the bass player Sergio’s hair and set it with a spritz of Nicky Clarke hair spray to hold it in place for their set. We also gave Stefan the guitarist a  beard trim. Our PR manager Jay was in heaven as they are one of his all time faves and was a little star struck, they even gave him their dressing room sign as a little souvenir and signed us a goody bag. We really are making waves as the hair stylists to the male artists we cut dozens of heads including Serge from System of the Down who is possibly the most dapper artist ever.

Phoebe from Made in Chelsea who was with one of the Foals having her nails done in the salon

Phoebe from Made in Chelsea who was with one of the Foals having her nails done in the salon *c) Zoeh McDermott, Vanity Van.

Phoebe Lettice Thompson from Made in Chelsea was here with her the Foals boyfriend drummer Jack Bevan. She came in for a Miners Cosmetics manicure “weekend in Paris” to match her awesome two piece and raided our make up giveaways. We chatted about Latitude festival and she was gutted she hadn’t spotted us backstage there as she told us she massively needed it after passing out in a field that weekend. Jimmy their guitarist came in for a rub down and Jack literally came running over to capture the moment on camera (no doubt to tweet it) as he was oiled up to the max.

Chase in Status’s set was so loud every car alarm in the backstage was set off. And the amount of people getting carried out of Chase was unbelievable as droves of people were getting crushed with the sheer craziness of the crowd.

Eminem's guitarist Curt Chambers with our massage therapist Rachael Credit: Zoeh Mcdermott, Vanity Van

Eminem’s guitarist Curt Chambers with our massage therapist Rachael Credit: Zoeh McDermott, Vanity Van

And to top off the weekends awesomeness we, of course, had the best headliner of the season Mr Slim Shady himself. He totally smashed the stage and the pyrotechnics were so loud I almost fell off my chair in the backstage area. His entire band, the keyboardist, guitarist and the drummer came in to see us for soothing massages and sat down chatting for ages telling us this was their last show. Eminem’s beautiful guitarist Curt Chambers was totally convinced he had met me before a few weeks back at another gig – I must have a Doppelganger floating about somewhere.

>And so the season ends with a bang last stop is Radio 2 at Hyde Park festival in a day on Sunday 8thSeptember – we can’t wait for the next adventure…

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