I HAVE never been to a disappointing Neighbourhood Weekender festival, I'll say that straight away.

From Pulp to George Ezra to Courteeners, and even Kasabian, Weekender has secured some big hitters in the music industry over the years.

But big names aside, I couldn't help but feel let down by 2023's line-up announcements as they came through.

Warrington Guardian: 2023 was the fifth year that the festival has been in Warrington2023 was the fifth year that the festival has been in Warrington (Image: Newsquest)

Don't get me wrong, the prospect of seeing Pulp perform in Warrington excited me more than other Neighbourhood Weekender announcements did - but, them aside, the line-up was (to me) disappointing.

As I've already written, the festival was enjoyable, with notable performances from Pulp, Ella Henderson, Scouting for Girls, Self Esteem, and others - but I don't think I'll remember the line-up in the years to come.

Once Pulp were announced to be headlining, it felt as though subsequent line-up announcements fell slightly flat.

Of course, there were fan favourites announced like Scouting for Girls, Sea Girls, the Reytons, and Jamie Webster - as well as Neighbourhood regulars like the Big Moon, and Reverend and the Makers.

But where were the other big hitters?

Yes, we had the announcement of Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott - but, despite success in the past, they do not have the nostalgic pull of the likes of Pulp.

And who else was announced that blew people's socks off?

Warrington Guardian: The festival is always a hit in WarringtonThe festival is always a hit in Warrington (Image: Newsquest)

READ MORE > Our favourite pictures from Neighbourhood Weekender

In years to come, Neighbourhood Weekender 2023 will be remembered as the year that Pulp returned to Warrington, and they were phenomenal, I'll admit.

It will not be remembered as the best Weekender there has been, and having been to them all since the festival started in 2018, that has me worried.

Here's how Neighbourhood Weekender 2023 stacks up against the rest.

  •  1 - Weekender 2019

Warrington Guardian: Neighbourhood Weekender 2019 saw George Ezra perform at Victoria ParkNeighbourhood Weekender 2019 saw George Ezra perform at Victoria Park (Image: Newsquest)

Big names: George Ezra, Richard Ashcroft, the Vaccines, Tom Grennan, Gerry Cinnamon.

Weekender 2019 stands out for a number of reasons.

Being able to get George Ezra to play in Warrington one year after his incredible summer, releasing 'Shotgun' and 'Paradise' at the same time.

2019 also marked the first time that Richard Ashcroft - former frontman of the Verve - was legally able to sing 'Bittersweet Symphony' live, following a messy legal battle.

All in all, it was memorable for a number of reasons, and that's why it comes out on top, for me.

  •  2 - Weekender 2021

Warrington Guardian: Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott took to the stage during the 2021 festivalPaul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott took to the stage during the 2021 festival (Image: Paul Heaton)

Big names: James, Catfish and the Bottlemen, the Wombats, Sam Fender, Gerry Cinnamon, Lightning Seeds, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, Tom Walker.

The rescheduled Neighbourhood Weekender of 2021 spilt over onto three days, with a handful of artists performing on Friday night, hence there being a few more recognisable names.

Sam Fender returned to Neighbourhood with a triumphant set that saw the crowd explode in unison when 'Hypersonic Missles.'

2021 was notable for being one of the first times that James performed 'Sit Down' live, after having a tumultuous relationship - at best - with their hit song.

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott provided '90s nostalgia before returning as top-billed headliners two years later.

  •  3 - Weekender 2018

Warrington Guardian: Noel Gallagher headlined during the festival's first yearNoel Gallagher headlined during the festival's first year (Image: Newsquest)

Big names: Noel Gallagher, Courteeners, Jake Bugg, Blossoms, Lewis Capaldi, Sam Fender, DMA's, Tom Grennan.

The original Weekender was an experiment.

There had been no major festivals (Creamfields aside) in the heart of Warrington since V Fest '96.

For 22 years there had been no large-scale music events in Warrington, and there was no telling whether it would work.

Clearly, it did.

Again, some up-and-comers were bagged for the festival, including Lewis Capaldi and (again) Sam Fender.

Given it'll now set you back upwards of £60 to see Capaldi alone, 2018 was a fair bargain, really.

It was the festival that kicked it all off, and if it hadn't been a success then we wouldn't still be talking about Neighbourhood five years later.

  •  4 - Weekender 2022

Warrington Guardian: Courteeners returned to Warrington in 2022Courteeners returned to Warrington in 2022 (Image: Newsquest)

Big names: Kasabian, Courteeners, Blossoms, the Fratellis, Example, Razorlight, Scouting for Girls, Tom Grennan.

Don't get me wrong: 2022's line-up had a lot of potential, and most of the acts lived up to it.

Kasabian were on form, despite having been left scrambling when the band's frontman had been given his marching orders following a domestic assault charge.

2022 saw the return of Courteeners to headline the main stage, four years after being one of the first headliners at the festival.

Unfortunately, they were mired by sound issues, and - having seen them a number of times - this makes Neighbourhood 2022 a night for them to forget.

Razorlight and Scouting for Girls lit up the stage under the Big Top, and it was an all-round enjoyable weekend.

It just was not as strong as those that came before it.

  •  5 - Weekender 2023

Warrington Guardian: Pulp were victorious 27 years after playing V Fest in Victoria ParkPulp were victorious 27 years after playing V Fest in Victoria Park (Image: Tom Martin)

Big names: Pulp, Paul Heaton, Ella Henderson, Anne-Marie, Scouting for Girls, the Wombats, the Kooks.

As I've already said, Neighbourhood Weekender 2023 will not, in my opinion, be remembered as an incredible festival.

It will be remembered for being the festival that Pulp dominated, and it worries me to think that every other artist will mostly be left by the wayside.

Much as Queen dominated the conversation of Live Aid in 1985, Pulp has taken centre stage (literally and figuratively) here.

That doesn't negate the quality of the other performers, but we shouldn't kid ourselves; this was a two-day Pulp concert, with a number of warm-up acts.

It should be said that Neighbourhood Weekender 2023 was still a fantastic weekend, but as far as the overall quality of the festival goes, it will not be remembered for anything other than Pulp's triumphant set.

Then again, this is just my opinion.

Feel free to disagree, I won't lose sleep over it - I'm still high off seeing 'Common People' and 'Disco 2000' live.