Sabrina Carpenter’s first UK festival is one for the books

The singer triumphed over technical difficulties at Isle Of Wight

Two songs into Sabrina Carpenter’s set in the Big Top, the power goes out. The US singer-songwriter finds herself singing into a dead mic, with no track. She cups her hands around her mouth. “HEY!” she yells. “HOW ARE YOU? YOU GOOD?” Thumbs up from across the Big Top. This is her very first UK festival. When the issue is resolved just a few minutes later, she reasons that the luck is going to balance out here. “Every other time I play in the UK, it’s going to go perfectly.”

By the end of her set, though, no one will remember a technical hiccup. Carpenter is a pop star of the highest caliber. She dances her way through opener ‘Read Your Mind’, shows off her vocal chops on revenge-dressing anthem ‘Sue Me’. She’s apologetic for the small hitch in proceedings, but never concerned that she might lose her audience. She pauses to read a sign held by an audience member. F*ck, Marry, Kill: Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, me, it reads.

“Well, I’ll marry Taylor Swift, for obvious reasons,” she says. She puts it to the crowd: “Would you f*ck Harry Styles, or would you f*ck Noah?”

@ticketmasteruk The crowd are really going for it! #sabrinacarpenter #iowfestival #becauseilikedaboy ♬ original sound – Ticketmaster UK

She may be new to the UK festival scene, but Carpenter is a performance veteran, having been at this since she was thirteen. She’s got a roster of joyful, danceable pop, but whilst she occasionally dips into her back catalogue, the majority of her set comes from her latest record, emails I can’t send. It’s fun, honest, occasionally funny – “Oh, so you do have a type, and it’s not me,” she sings on ‘opposite’. “Oh, so you can reply, just to not me.”

One of the most anticipated moments of her set comes right at the end. Carpenter closes with ‘Nonsense’, a cheerful word jumble about going weak in the knees over someone. She’s created a tongue-in-cheek tradition on her US tour of adding a few extra lines at the end of the song to reference the city she plays in.

“I thought he was the one but he was too short,” she sings. “BBC don’t like my sense of humour.” A reference to her Live Lounge performance, in which her reference to the double meaning of ‘BBC’ got pulled from the program. She grins. “Everybody’s proper fit in Newport.”  

Find Sabrina Carpenter tickets here.