Event review: Hard Rock Calling

While most of London’s music-loving population were at Glasto, two of team V&E headed a little closer to home to catch Bruce Springsteen at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Words: Heather Steele


Following foam fingers, while winding our way over the bridges that connect to the former Olympic Park, was our introduction to Hard Rock Calling. We’re not going to lie, it’s quite a trek compared to the festival’s former Hyde Park home, but we were pretty excited to be at the first concert held at the site since the closing ceremony last August.


While three stages were sprawled over the site, it was inevitably the main stage that fans were flocking to by the time 6pm came around. Before then, we loved watching The Black Crowes perform their trademark instrumental jams – particularly their cover of Deep Purple’s ‘Hush’ – as we sat on fake grass (or ‘Easigrass’), which was placed around the concrete floor to give the place a festival feel.


The real star of the show, though, was Bruce – especially when he announced to 40,000 fans that the band would be playing Born in the USA, in full. What a treat. This year, there were no Beatles or other celebrity cameos: just Springteen’s 87-year-old mum, whom he dragged up on stage for Dancing in the Dark, along with his sister.


We couldn’t believe they didn’t have to pull the plug (The Boss is known for his marathon sets). In fact, the gig even finished 10 minutes before its 10.30pm curfew, with Bruce clocking up a mere three hours and 20 minutes on stage. Slacker.


Best bit: besides watching The Boss while the sun set on a balmy evening, the fact that the sound was much louder than Hyde Park allows.

Room for improvement: The parking situation was a bit of a nightmare – make sure you stick to the tube.

Sponsors: Hard Rock Café, Live Nation, Vodafone, Pepsi Max, Tuborg, Ticketmaster.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, E20 1EJ.