Westonbirt Arboretum, home of one of the most sensational tree collections in the world, was swarmed with hyperactive adolescents last Friday for a very memorable event. X Factor finalists JLS performed a special forest concert among the trees, with the support of fellow talent show product, Diana Vickers.
As the boy band appeared on stage, the Arboretum was engulfed with deafeningly high-pitched squeals. At first, when the energetic dance routines began, I didn’t think it would work – Westonbirt is renowned as a place of superb natural beauty, and JLS performed their Brit awards set whilst suspended in the air – the contrast was too spectacular.
But as the evening progressed and the sun sank behind the clouds, it started to feel more appropriate. Spectators were enjoying picnics and relaxing in camping chairs; if you ignored the sea of “I love Marvin” T shirts and the lack of musical instruments on stage, it almost felt like a festival. Even the disgruntled dads and boyfriends started tapping their feet to the upbeat Michael Jackson medley, though they argued that they were just trying to keep warm! The performance bought a joyful buzz to the intimate, peaceful forest.
When the lead singer Aston declared that the group would definitely come back to Westonbirt, the crowd were thrilled. It was a wonderful combination of excitement and tranquility, and a great way to attract a younger audience to the Arboretum. Considering the volume of the screams that followed, their return will be greatly anticipated!
Words: Izzi Sempill. July 2010
Photos: Rob Cousins
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