Chelmsford: Sun Shines On V Festival

Thousands of music fans basked in the sunshine on the first day of V Festival 2012 in Chelmsford.

Scottish singer Emeli Sande, fresh from her appearance at the Olympic closing ceremony, performed to a huge crowd on the Virgin Media main stage at Hylands Park.

The Brit Award-winner donned aviator shades to shield her from the blistering Essex sun as she opened with her hit Heaven.

Inspiral Carpets were one of the opening acts on stage at Hylands Park ahead of a headline performance on Saturday night by the Stone Roses.

The split-site festival, now in its 17th year, is run across two days at the Essex venue, and Weston Park in Staffordshire.

Also appearing at the event are Salford act Happy Mondays, and Noel Gallagher - a fellow Mancunian who was inspired by the Roses - and his High Flying Birds.

Other artists on the bill for the two-day Virgin Media-sponsored event are Lawson, The Killers, Snow Patrol, Sir Tom Jones and X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos.

US singer Nicki Minaj cancelled her appearance at the last-minute, however, after suffering from "vocal chord issues".

Celebrities spotted enjoying cocktails and afternoon tea in the Louder Lounge VIP area at Hylands Park - decked out to resemble a traditional English village with bunting and a duck pond - included One Direction heartthrob Louis Tomlinson, Heart presenter and Spice Girl Emma Bunton and funnyman Leigh Francis, better known as his comedy alter ego Keith Lemon.

On Friday night, Essex Police arrested eighteen people for drugs offences at the V Festival.

Four were arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs with intent to supply. They are a 21-year-old man from Epsom in Surrey, a 20-year-old man from Chelmsford, a 24-year-old man from Chelmsford and an 18-year-old man from West Drayton in Middlesex.

A further six were arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs and eight people held on suspicion of being involved in the supply of drugs.