BST Hyde Park announces: Morgan Wallen

American Express presents BST Hyde Park is excited to announce their final headliner for 2024. Chart-topping country sensation Morgan Wallen will perform on Thursday 4 July, with the full line-up to be announced. Tickets for this incredible show go on sale Wednesday 13 March, 10am GMT available at

Morgan Wallen says, “Last fall was my first time in the UK and man, I loved it. I saw so much while I was there, and the people were incredible. To play where legendary artists like Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones have played is a huge honor for me and my band, and we can’t wait to be back.

One of today’s brightest stars in music, Morgan Wallen has been riding a non-stop wave of success with a string of 11 No. 1 hits and electrifying live shows with 2.4 million fans already holding tickets to his world tour. On the heels of releasing digital series Abbey Road Sessions recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios – including five live recordings from One Thing At A Time, an unreleased fan-favourite, “Lies Lies Lies,” and a never-before-recorded cover of Nothing But Thieves’ “Graveyard Whistling” – Morgan Wallen will return to London this July. Watch/listen to Abbey Road Sessions HERE.

Wallen’s rise to prominence has been nothing short of meteoric. Hailed by Billboard for making “his superstar arrival as a touring artist” in 2022, 11-time 2023 Billboard Music Awards-winner Morgan Wallen continues to reign as one of Country’s top touring artists. Spanning 5 countries and 3 continents, Wallen’s 57-show 2023 One Night At A Time World Tour was named a Pollstar and Billboard Country Tour of the Year and delivered the man the New York Times dubbed “one of the biggest stars in pop, period” to fans worldwide. Wallen will bring the show to BST Hyde Park for the first time this summer.

Wallen’s authentic storytelling and raw emotion struck a chord with fans, propelling him to the forefront of the country music scene. Last year saw him release his third studio album, One Thing At A Time, which reigned atop the all-genre Billboard 200 chart for 18 non-consecutive weeks, tying Garth Brooks’ Ropin’ the Wind with the most weeks at No. 1 for a Country album, and was the most-streamed album of the year on Spotify.

With over 28 billion on-demand streams, his hit songs and fan favourites, including ‘Whiskey Glasses’, ‘More Than My Hometown’, and ‘7 Summers’, have dominated airwaves and playlists. 6x-Platinum single “Last Night” reeled in over 1.5 billion streams globally, becoming the most-streamed song of any genre in the U.S. across Apple Music and Spotify, and the longest running No. 1 solo song in Hot 100 history (16 weeks total).

The lineup for American Express presents BST Hyde Park 2024 is set to be truly spectacular, with Morgan Wallen joining previously announced headliners SZA (29 June), Kings of Leon (30 June), Andrea Bocelli (5 July), Robbie Williams (6 July), Shania Twain (7 July), Stevie Nicks (12 July), Kylie (13 July) and Stray Kids (14 July), with the full line up for each day to be announced.

This announcement follows the tremendous success of BST Hyde Park 2023, featuring legendary acts such as P!NK, Guns N’ Roses, Take That, BLACKPINK, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Billy Joel, and Lana Del Rey. | @bsthydepark

BST Hyde Park announces: SZA

American Express presents BST Hyde Park is excited to announce that the phenomenal, groundbreaking, genre-bending artist SZA will headline on Saturday 29 June, the first Saturday of BST Hyde Park’s three weekends. SZA is joined by special guests Sampha and Snoh Aalegra, with the full supporting line up to be announced. Tickets go on sale Friday 8 March, 10am GMT available at

A distinct force in contemporary R&B, SZA has set herself apart with a vulnerable and casually poetic songwriting style and a voice conveying a multitude of emotions with subtle twists and turns. She established herself with a trio of spaced-out EPs and collaborations with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna, and continued her ascent with Ctrl (2017), a Top Ten album that resulted in five Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist. These accolades proved to be no fluke, as SZA earned almost as many Grammy nominations the next year by assisting Kendrick Lamar with ‘All the Stars’, a Top Ten hit, only one in a slew of platinum singles she has scored as a headliner or featured artist. Her rich and complex second album, SOS (2022), went straight to No.1 on the Billboard 200, produced four Top Ten pop singles – including the chart-topping revenge fantasy ‘Kill Bill’ – and earned the artist three Grammy awards. On 2 March, SZA was also crowned ‘International Artist of the Year’ at the BRIT Awards 2024.

Last June, as part of her internationalSOStour, SZA performed four back-to-back nights at London’s O2 Arena, as well as nights in Glasgow and Manchester, to an incredible critical reception, with many highlighting SZA’s vocals and the stunning set design. Now, the acclaimed US R&B superstar is making a triumphant return to the capital for her BST Hyde Park debut, and we are counting down the days…

Sampha and Snoh Aalegra are also announced for this unparalleled show. From UK breakout star to global icon, Sampha has left an indelible mark on contemporary culture. The south London singer, songwriter, and producer boasts a career marked by era-defining records like the breakthrough Dual EP (2013) and the Mercury Music Prize-winning debut album Process (2017). He’s equally known for collaborations with artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Stormzy, Drake, Solange, Frank Ocean, and Alicia Keys.

Iranian Swedish-born singer Snoh Aalegra, celebrated for her soulful sound influenced by icons like Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston, has garnered multiple GRAMMY nominations. Mentored by Prince for two years, she has collaborated with music heavyweights like Drake and Common. Her album – Ugh, those feels again debuted as the #1 R&B album on iTunes, earning critical acclaim for exploring themes of self-love, independence, and hopefulness.

SZA joins an eclectic line up for BST Hyde Park 2024 including previously announced headliners Kings of Leon (30 June), Andrea Bocelli (5 July), Robbie Williams (6 July), Shania Twain (7 July), Stevie Nicks (12 July), Kylie (13 July) and Stray Kids (14 July), with more artists to be revealed soon – so watch this space!

This announcement follows the tremendous success of BST Hyde Park 2023, featuring legendary acts such as P!NK, Guns N’ Roses, Take That, BLACKPINK, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Billy Joel, and Lana Del Rey. | @bsthydepark

BST Hyde Park Announces: Robbie Williams

American Express presents BST Hyde Park isdelighted to announce the next monumental headliner for 2024. The UK’s own greatest entertainer and global icon, Robbie Williams,is making his big return to Hyde Park on Saturday 6 July 2024 for a UK exclusive show. Tickets go on sale Friday 8 December 10am GMT, visit

It’s an honour to be back here to headline BST Hyde Park. I can’t wait to see you all there!” – Robbie Williams

Since bursting on to the stage as the youngest member of Take That in 1990 and then going solo in 1995, Robbie Williams has been at the top of his game for over 30 years, and it’s an understatement to call him one of the UK’s best musical exports.

Robbie is one of the most decorated music artists in the world with six of the Top 100 best-selling albums in British history, a huge 80 million album sales worldwide, 14 Number 1 singles and a record 18 BRIT Awards – more than any other artist in music history. Robbie secured his 14th UK Number 1 album with “XXV,” which topped the chart in its first week of release. The global hits of Robbie Williams are endless… Feel, Rock DJ, Let Me Entertain You and his best-selling and most iconic single, Angels.

Last year Williams released “XXV,” a hit packed album celebrating his 25 years as a solo artist, and featuring countless Number 1s, fan favourites and original tracks. He soon followed with a successful UK tour last year which is currently on the road across Australia and New Zealand.

Never far from the spotlight, Williams last month released his self-titled docuseries via Netflix, offering the world an intimate glimpse into the singer’s life and career, plus his biopic movie ‘Better Man’, Directed by ‘Greatest Showman’ Director Michael Gracey, will be released in 2024.

A UK legend, coming to the very special stage at BST Hyde Park. What BST Hyde Park does best is bring the greatest music superstars to London for once-in-a-lifetime shows and this certainly will be that. Williams joins previously announced headliner Andrea Bocelli (5 July), with more to be announced soon.

Tickets purchased for the Amex VIP Summer Garden, VIP HydeAway and Gold Circle areas will include reserved seating. General Admission, Primary Entry and VIP Terrace will all be unreserved standing.

BST Hyde Park 2023 was a year of firsts for the London festival – with once-in-a-lifetime shows from the world’s biggest musical stars P!NK, Guns N’ Roses, Take That, BLACKPINK, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Billy Joel and Lana Del Rey. BST Hyde Park’s hugely popular summer event Open House returned for another year, offering a host of free activities throughout the week and All Things Orchestral presented by Myleene Klass and featuring Alfie Boe.

BST Hyde Park – Bruce Springsteen, REVIEWED!

It’s a drizzly morning in London today, which isn’t stopping thousands of people from descending on BST Hyde Park for New Jersey legend Bruce Springsteen tonight. On one side of the park we have the Trans Pride march in an array of gorgeous colourful outfits and placards, on the other – the Dad-Mecca. Cargo shorts as far as the eye can see, aged Springsteen shirts held as artifacts or badges of honour, and of course The Baseball Cap™. If Merrell walking boots ever did a convention, this should be the location.

Heading into the arena we decide to check out the merchandise, but sadly find the limited edition print poster already sold out. There are plenty of tshirt options though, featuring various motor-city style artwork and images of Bruce looking moody, as well as not one but two baseball cap options to appease the previously mentioned Dads.

Deciding to grab some early dinner we head to a taco place for some absolutely delicious barbacoa beef, before checking out the brilliant James Bay. Rocking out in his signature black hat, a neckerchief and skinny jeans, his voice soars across the site. We are treated to a set of absolute bangers. ‘Best Fake Smile’ and ‘Just For Tonight’ are impossible not to dance to, but ‘Endless Summer Nights’ and ‘Hold Back The River’ are the true epics of this show – James Bay is a fantastic booking for Springsteen day at BST in my opinion.

© Dave Hogan for BST

On the Birdcage stage, Oscar Corney is giving us feel-good Americana soft rock with a Telecaster in hand, and a decent crowd on deck. “We feeling good? Now that rains fucked off right?” he quips in his distinctly-not-American Cambridge accent, before playing ‘Afterglow’ in a gravelly singing voice which is reminiscent of the Boss himself.

The Chicks (…the artist formerly known as…) are here to present Dallas country and bluegrass with a side of feminism, this is the kind of hoedown I can… get down with. ‘Gaslighter’ isn’t exactly subtle but they sell it well, there’s a lot of banjo and hollerin’ – the sun is out and we’re up for dancing. Yelling “Well hello Hyde Park! Everybody ready for Bruuuce? We are the pre-show entertainment band!” and “London, do you know what a hootenanny is?” before ‘White Trash Wedding’, there’s no denying The Chicks know how to create fun.

© Dave Hogan for BST

It’s getting late, the sun is on it’s way down, and the arena has suddenly filled up. Low calls of “Bruuuuuuce” begin in the crowd, which sort of sound a bit like booing, but I get the intention. Starting early at 7pm, perhaps in an effort to not repeat curfew mistakes of the past, Bruce Springsteen hits the stage yelling out “Hello London Town” in his classic black shirt and peg-rolled jeans, to rapturous applause.

Bruce is holding his beat-up “mutt” Fender guitar, one of the most iconic pieces of rock and roll history that has been his choice of instrument for the last 35 years – or at least, it looks like it… he does notoriously have various copies of it to save wear and tear. Starting up with ‘My Love Will Not Let You Down’ into ‘Death To My Hometown’ and ‘No Surrender’ it’s a bloody good opening, and the sound quality is top notch.

By song seven ‘The Promised Land’, he still hasn’t stopped for even a few seconds break, and now heads down the front steps to greet his fans and hand over a prized harmonica to someone in the first row. The cameras pan down to fan signs during ‘Out In The Street’ where there are a surprising number of kids on shoulders, one holds a slab of cardboard with “This is my first concert” written on it. A lady a few rows back holds a photo of herself being kissed by Bruce at a previous concert, with the words “Make this the best day of my life again” while an enterprising man a little way over has a sign that says “Tequila 4 a harmonica?”. Bruce declines to take him up on the offer despite it being his tipple of choice according to previous reports.

© Dave Hogan for BST

Taking what looks like an explosive can of peroni light from someone in the front row, Bruce heads back onto the stage with dripping wet hands, for ‘Working On The Highway’ which honestly sounds a lot like Chucklevision and now I can’t unhear it.

Commodores cover ‘Nightshift’ is an absolute classic, but as he moves into ‘Mary’s Place’ we’re subjected to rain-based kismet, with the refrain “let it rain, let it rain”. Bruce is soaked to the skin and singing into the sky as if he had a pact with someone above for this iconic moment. ‘Backstreets’ is met with a huge round of applause, but I’ve heard at least three songs about “the streets” tonight already and it’s starting to get funny. Luckily ‘Because The Night’ (Patti Smith collab) is up next to turn things up a notch, it’s gorgeously seventies, that sort of twinkly ethereal sound you associate with starry skies around campfires.

The truly anthemic ‘The Rising’ has everyone ‘la la laaa-ing’ along before ‘Badlands’ sees off the last of the evening light over the arena. Well within the curfew limits we get into the encore with the sensational ‘Born To Run’, ‘Bobby Jean’ and ‘Glory Days’, and Bruce finally yelling “I think it’s time to go home”. Obviously this crowd has no intention of stopping and screams back “noooo”, to which he jokes “They’re gonna pull the fucking plug again! I don’t wanna go home either”. The lady in the crowd holding the ‘Bruce, take me dancing in the dark’ sign, practically faints as the opening notes play, but Bruce is busy wiggling his bum at the stage camera and dancing down the steps.

© Dave Hogan for BST

Yanking his shirt open (which was actually stripper style poppers, a bit less cool than actually ripping buttons off) Bruce thanks the E-Street Band and heads down to lie back into the arms of his fans, before his signature rendition of The Top Notes ‘Twist and Shout’ with a little bit of La Bamba mixed in – the very thing that got him and Paul McCartney shut down last time.

Going out half an hour before Hyde Park’s curfew, on an acoustic ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’ and softly saying “Thank you so much” renders the crowd absolutely silent. It’s beautiful and a rare musical moment in this type of show. I’m still salty that we didn’t get ‘The River’ or ‘Thunder Road’, but there’s no way to describe how absolutely phenomenal Bruce Springsteen is as a performer and tonight has been a masterclass in classic rock. 73 years old, busting out a 3 hour set with no breaks, back to back 29 songs. Bruce Springsteen truly is The Boss.

© Dave Hogan for BST

BST Hyde Park – Take That, REVIEWED!

© Credit Dave Hogan / Hogan Media for BST

Back to Hyde Park again this sunny Saturday for some true British treasure in the form of Take That – the band that broke the nation’s heart when they broke up, and then came back as the ultimate zaddies of pop to woo all the mums again.

Before we all get too hot under the collar, Will Young is giving everyone at the main stage a huge wholesome hug. Not my usual fayre by any means but his voice is excellent, the vibes are funky, and I really like his frilly shirt and braces. Though he’s battled through extreme anxiety and more than his fair share of difficult times, Will is possibly one of the nicest men in pop music today. It’s hard not to smile through this performance, particularly when he goes over to hug the Great Oak stage tree, and then says “Hope you’re all hydrating yourselves, it’s hot today!”. Yes Will Young, I will do as you say because I think you’re darling.

© Credit Dave Hogan / Hogan Media for BST

Doors cover ‘Light My Fire’ has the whole arena singing along (and I must say it’s a very respectable crowd for this time of day) but ‘Leave Right Now’ and ‘Evergreen’ are the hits everyone came for, and he delivers.

Over on the Cuban Garage stage we witness the joyful beats of South London Samba, and some frankly incredible rainbow feathered moves from the carnival dancers (two of whom can jump drop into a split, amazing) before we grab some much needed dinner. There are a ridiculous amount of options here for a festival this size, but we try out a Buffalo chicken bowl (way spicier than I’d anticipated) and some ginger tofu Bao (faaaancy) – both great.

Sugababes hit the main stage with a set that surprised me, for the simple reason that I had no idea I knew *that* many of their songs. Starting strong with Adina Howard cover ‘Freak Like Me’ they come out looking every bit the pop princesses they always did, and are absolutely owning the stage for ‘Red Dress’. ‘Hole in the Head’ is fantastic, but if you’re a certain kind of person – even hearing the intro to ‘Too Lost In You’ will both make you think of Christmas AND make you irrationally angry… if you know you know.

“It’s an absolute honour to be here! Look at the weather, the sun is coming out!” they yell, before hitting us with classic trio ‘Push The Button’, ‘Round Round’ and ‘About You Now’. It’s a very clean and precise set, I think I’d like to see them loosen up a little but musically – it’s great, and I appreciate their long battle to reclaim their name and their lost music, to get here.

Ireland’s The Script are fun, and there’s a nice roundness to the fact that they used to tour with Take That back in the day too, but I can’t get by the cringeworthy bit that took a full ten minutes out of their set time to orchestrate. “I wanna call someone’s ex! Who right now is crazy enough to give me their phone?” yells frontman Danny O’Donoghue before grabbing one passed up by security. He proceeds to phone someone’s unsuspecting ex-boyfriend, tells them who he is and lets the crowd scream at them before singing ‘Before The Worst’ at him. Following the serenade, he has the whole arena yell “Goodbye Asshole” at the phone, which is just… not that funny and kinda gauche. ‘If You Could See Me Now’ is dedicated to the memory of their guitarist Mark Sheehan, it’s a great song, but they’ve kinda lost me with the stunt if I’m honest.

© Credit Dave Hogan / Hogan Media for BST

Heading into the final event, the arena has now swelled with people to the point of bursting. The toilet queues are out of control and stretch halfway around the arena, the bars are all loaded and the merch stalls are still going strong. We catch The Cuban Brothers doing another brilliant set on the Cuban Garage stage, but when heading over to grab a tshirt we find that the BST have racked the price up by a tenner since yesterday. Price gouging isn’t a good look for an event – especially when The Cubans themselves just said the tees were £20 on stage and would be when they hit the online shop. Not cool.

Heading down to the Golden Circle area to find a good place to watch Take That, we are immediately pulled into the throng alongside an excited lady wielding a giant face cut out of Gary Barlow (a little disconcerting) and we can see another woman in a Take That patch jacket down the front. This particular person was spotted last night, camping out in Hyde Park ready to be right there today, the dedication is on point.

As intros go, this one is pretty epic. A hoarde of dancers enter the stage seemingly from everywhere, and set themselves up all over the giant lighted staircase that runs from the backdrop right down to the main floor, in front of which a giant runway ending in a second smaller stage area has been set. The band emerge to ear-bleeding levels of frenetic fan screams all around us. The cacophony of the mums knows no bounds. Include me in that, because I cannot get enough of their fashion ensembles tonight. Howard is wearing something that I can only describe as… Newscaster-school-football-kit-in-the-seventies. It is ochre, striped and flared, and I want it. Gary has decided to come as Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty, and Mark is… well Mark is wearing an ostrich. A whole one.

© Credit Dave Hogan / Hogan Media for BST

There might only be three of them now (no sign of Robbie despite him also being on tour… boooo) but right out of the gates ‘The Flood’ sounds absolutely brilliant, seems like they’re going to be on top form tonight. Yelling “Good evening Hyde Paaaaaark!” the trio head down the long runway to the middle of the pulsing crowd, “…this is gonna be an amazing night tonight, we want you to sing along and dance along!” and huge blasts of ticker-tape confetti erupt from around them as fireworks go off along the front of the stage. It’s pretty clear they’ve come here to party and I’m instantly all-in.

‘Could It Be Magic’ brings glittery screens and their OG boyband dance moves, and I am shooketh to my core as I myself (ten years their junior) have injured myself getting out of bed, why only this morning. Special guest Calum Scott of Britain’s Got Talent fame, joins the band for ‘Greatest Day’ as he had been part of the reworked song for their film which was released last month, before taking the stage to himself for his cover of Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’.

BeeGees cover ‘How Deep is Your Love’ and ‘A Million Love Songs’ are the catalyst for a whole lot of overwhelmed fangirl sobbing, and my sister who had nipped to the loos at an opportune moment belted back to us to sing “AND HERE I AAAAAAM” in our faces. ‘Shine’ heralds a delightful outfit change, including a fancy white top-hat (which is later thrown out into the crowd, what an excellent bit of memorabilia for some lucky person) for Mark, a green velvet biker jacket for Gary (I would also like to own this) and a tux jacket with golden-winged lapels for Howard. They are taking this photo opportunity very seriously and I love it.  Despite the air of professionalism, they joke “We might miss a few of our cues tonight, the runway is way longer than we thought… it takes ages to get back up there” and then mention how appreciative they are of everyone coming back to gigs after some weird years during the pandemic.

© Credit Dave Hogan / Hogan Media for BST

Stopping for a quick break to read some of the signs being held up in the front rows, we are treated to the truest representation of the British wit… “This song is older than us” Gary reads as two kids scream holding the sign, and another “I think of you when I shag my husband” with (presumably) the husband standing alongside the woman laughing. “I left my husband in hospital to be here” has the entire crowd in agreement on the state of her morals, but the best one by far was “Today is MY Greatest Day – I made it! F U Cancer!”. Having an arena full of thousands of people cheer you on and celebrate with you must be phenomenal in itself, but when the band dedicate the next song to Laura, holder of the sign, she looks absolutely beside herself with joy. It’s a lovely heartfelt moment.

Telling everyone this is the “Song that brought us back”, we are treated to a little acoustic guitar for ‘Patience’ before a huge singalong for ‘Pray’ and the most incredible original video dance moves, an absolute highlight. ‘Back For Good’ is also brilliant, and I can’t help but dance to Sigma cover ‘Cry’ under an obscene amount of ticker-tape spewing into the air above us.

© Credit Dave Hogan / Hogan Media for BST

Another quick outfit change into the most ridiculous giant white furry coats and it’s time for ‘Relight My Fire’ with the actual for-real LuLu, who is sporting some excellent sparkly flared trousers. ‘Hold Up A Light’ sees the crowd holding up phone torches across the arena, but ‘Never Forget’ is the true epitome of Take That-ness and every single person has their hands up for it. “You know the choreography, join in!” hardly needs to be said because we are all totally invested at this point of the proceedings.

Going out in style with ‘Rule The World’ leaves me in no doubt that Take That are making yet another triumphant return, following their performance at the Corrie-Nache earlier this year. Looking over to see my sister and her sister-in-law doing a little cry and singing along, I reckon they’ve gained another confirmed fan in me tonight, it was a bloody brilliant show, so Take That.

© Credit Dave Hogan / Hogan Media for BST

P!NK at BST Hyde Park – Sunday 25th June, REVIEWED!

(C) Dave Hogan / Hogan Media

Due to excessive traffic issues and poor time management, we are entering BST Hyde Park much later than planned this fine sunny Sunday afternoon. Luckily we grab our wristbands and a drink just in time to get a good spot in front of the Great Oak stage for my 90’s manic-pixie-dream-girl crush Gwen Stefani (pretty sure she was everyone’s 90’s celeb crush actually).

Were you even a 90’s kid if you didn’t have that one No Doubt centre-magazine poster on your wall? You know which one I mean. It just occurred to me that kids now probably don’t buy physical magazines… what are they decorating their rooms with…

Anyway, Gwen bounces onto the stage resplendent in a disco ball inspired outfit for opener ‘The Sweet Escape’ right into No Doubt classic ‘Sunday Morning’, like there hasn’t been a single minute between the day she wrote it and now. Yelling “I don’t think you guys understand the love I have for London Town… let me pinch myself, THIS IS MY LIFE!” before busting out another classic – ‘It’s My Life’ (Talk Talk cover).

In a curious revelation about the inner workings of her mind, she blurts out “I was thinking about my life. Most of the time when I’m singing the songs, I’m thinking – what am I gonna have to eat later? Thank you for listening to my music all this time” which comes across a little odd, a little nonchalant, given her previous emphatic affectations about her work.

Nevertheless, ‘Underneath It All’ brings the groove back, admittedly with a small side of cringe these days – the ska/reggae overlap has always been part of Stefani’s music but it is one of those things that we’ve gradually distanced ourselves from since the early noughties. It would be remiss of me to write about Gwen Stefani without joining the chequered commentary about cultural appropriation vs. appreciation over her recording history, and the inclusion of controversial ‘Harajuku Girls’ and iconic ‘Rich Girl’ give me awkward pause for thought. Bringing on stage rapper Eve for a duet/cover of her song ‘Let Me Blow Ya Mind’ was extremely welcome though, being immediately transported back to 2001 in the opening notes.

After what looks like a slight bra malfunction, Gwen returns in yet another skirt/trouser combo that also smacks of very firmly Y2K vibes, but that ska checkerboard pattern will never not appeal to me – even the dancers are rocking matching jumpsuits. Oh and she’s being wheeled around on a giant throne, also fun.

‘Don’t Speak’ is where this set truly comes alive for me again, from there it’s a hit parade of core memory songs, with ‘Wind It Up’, and ‘What You Waiting For’ into ‘Spiderwebs’ which I screamed at the top of my extremely limited vocal range for.

‘Just A Girl’ is everything I want, remember and enjoy about Gwen Stefani. Her unique vocal sound seems unchanged by time, and it feels like such a treat for teenage-me to finally end up here, hearing it the way I did dancing with my friends in the living room to MTV. To cap it off, the slightly ridiculous ‘Hollaback Girl’ features dancers wielding giant bananas while she gads about in a sparkly cape – big Gwen energy.

(C) Dave Hogan / Hogan Media

There’s a pretty decent time gap before tonight’s main act, due in part to the absolutely insane stage set up being hastily squashed into view, so we have a little reprieve to check out some of the food options here at BST. For a relatively small festival footprint, you can pretty much find cuisine from most corners of the earth – but still settle for basic bitch buffalo loaded fries if you want to (and I did) but you better believe I’ll be sampling my way through as many outlets as possible over the coming weeks of BST gigs. They were delicious anyway. Though I didn’t make it around the rest of the site today due to time constraints, it’s nice to note that the site has lost none of its vibrancy from last year – there is colour, decoration and things to pique your interest everywhere you look. More exploration required.

With the sun beginning to dip over Hyde Park, it’s time to settle into our spots for tonight’s headliner, the incomparable wonder woman that is P!NK. Every single person I’ve met who has been to one of her shows assures me that she is incredible and possibly superhuman, so I’ve got a lot of hype and anticipation for this one – and it seems I am not alone. It’s a huge crowd tonight (and yes, a good percentage of that is potentially people who did not get Glasto tickets this weekend but we won’t dwell on that) but it is also a very female centric crowd too with a wide and enviable age range. I think if you’re the kind of performer who can appeal to three generations of women at the same time – you’ve kind of hit the jackpot, and that’s what I’m seeing here.

So when the stage screens light up with Pink’s AI avatar to introduce her Summer Carnival, I am understandably already enthralled to see the bottom of her sparkly silver boots hiding away up in the canopy of the stage, behind a giant Rocky Horror style mouth. The mouth opens to reveal Pink herself wearing a gemstone-encrusted leotard, who then plummets to the stage on a bungee cord before styling it out into something between circus and x-games. I have no desire to do such a thing personally, but I truly could watch her do an entire set up there, she is SO FUN.

(C) Dave Hogan / Hogan Media

Obviously the opening line is “I’m coming out” from ‘Get The Party Started’ because that is quite literally the perfect point to hurtle towards the audience with the sheer glee of someone with seemingly zero inhibitions or fear. Iconic.

‘Raise Your Glass’ will forever hit the spot with lyrics that celebrate the ‘underdog’, I think this is why the entire crowd tonight bar absolutely no-one, is singing along with wild abandon. It’s true that P!NK sits apart from other artists of her time, unlike the polished teen aesthetic of Britney and Christina, Pink had tattoos and short hair, swore and leaned into a grittier rock vocal sound. The genre-straddling appeal teamed with often inspirational and introspective lyrical content, has firmly rooted Pink in a place where we are appreciating her work throughout her career instead of just waiting for those early-days hits.

Oh and her wardrobe is beyond enviable honestly. I would 1000% try and steal that studded and glittery leather jacket if I saw it in a dressing room, watch out Alecia. Taking a quick pause to chat to those in the front rows Golden Circle area, she addresses a young fan “Happy birthday you’re 10, double digits, you’re gonna save the world… can’t wait!” and jokes “So many kids here.. oh god I’m such a mom now” before busting out classic ‘Who Knew’.

During ‘Just Like A Pill’ Pink is presented with an unenviably awkward situation, that I really feel she handles with incredible grace. Over the last few months we have witnessed Harry Styles being asked to do gender reveals on stage, Elton John’s farewell Glasto set the same night had cameras diverted to a couple getting engaged in the crowd… all sorts of interesting fan interactions. This though, feels like an absolute violation.

As Pink takes a small mid-song reprieve and walks down the runway, she is showered with gifts like flowers and soft-toys – cute right? Less cute is the Ziploc bag of ashes that is next to be hurled into her path. “Wait, is this your mom? I don’t know how I feel about this…” a clearly stunned Pink exclaims whilst gingerly picking it up and placing it carefully by one of the speakers. She then returns to singing but there’s an obvious wobble in her voice for those first few notes, and upon ending she quips “Well… that was a first” whilst looking uncomfortable. I get the sentiment of wanting to symbolically take your loved and missed person to something important to you, but truly this is intrusively unhinged behaviour, to actually throw human remains onto a stage. This moment will undoubtedly be filed in the same zone as Ozzy-biting-the-head-off-a-bat in rock’n’roll history I’m sure, but it speaks to the ever closing space celebrities are able to hold between themselves, and what fans think they’re entitled to.

Consummate performer that she is, Pink returns in a sparkly checked shirt and joined by a beautiful male duo dance performance for ‘What About Us’, followed by an aerial performance of her own – but not without a technical hitch. “Stop. Can we re-set? It’s too low. We just need six inches…” has the entire crowd giggling. “I’ll just do an Interpretive dance if this doesn’t work, I’ll tell jokes! Ok, go back into the sexy serious thing we were trying to do…” before performing ‘Turbulence’ whilst spinning around on a rope swing. I have no clue how she is managing to sound this good, doing that.

Back on solid ground once more, Pink heads to the piano saying “There are so many songs I wish I wrote… oh look at the sunset! I wish I wrote ‘Spiderwebs’… ‘Just A Girl’… ‘Don’t Speak’. My absolute She-ro Gwen Stefani is over there, you don’t get cooler than that” pointing stage side where Gwen is watching the show. “I also wish I wrote Baby Shark. I could buy everyone here a yacht” she laughs before performing a gorgeous cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’.

In another big moment, someone in the front decides to propose to their partner during this, which she notices “Did someone just pass out or propose? Was it a yes? Wooo! The first 20 years are the hardest” before going into the beautifully soulful ‘Just Give Me A Reason’.

‘F**kin’ Perfect’ sees Pink in yet another extremely steal-able studded biker jacket, this time in eponymous baby pink, before she changes into the early noughties revival outfit that we are now seeing on ASOS (RIP my youth). More rip-than-material crystal studded jeans and a leopard print corset were the lifeblood of Y2K teens. Add a diamante-butterfly backed g-string and you’ve hit peak Paris and Nicole.

With barely a break, we head into the third stage of this this epic show, with an acoustic ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’ and bringing her daughter Willow on stage to join her for the adorable ‘Cover Me in Sunshine’ in front of a glowing sun stage set, mirrored by the setting sun behind us.

“You know them right, First Aid Kit? These beautiful sisters… they were nice enough to write me this song” Pink leads in for ‘Kids In Love’ which is unmistakably First Aid Kit in composition. It’s a deliciously sweet twilight song, the kind you’d use as a backing track for a campfire scene, it’s going on my summer playlist.

The phone torch lights are out in force for ‘When I Get There’, she signs stuff for front row fans during ‘I Am Here’ before diving into protest anthem ‘Irrelevant’ “When I sing this song, you all have permission to lose your last marble”. In a post-Roe world we need more voices, and yelling “girls just wanna have rights” everywhere she goes is positive platform action.

“Yall ready to dance?” she yells, as the dancers whip off their velco trousers to reveal classic 80’s bodysuit-and-legwarmers gym wear, as she arrives back on stage in a silver bomber jacket doing fitness-video moves for ‘Runaway’.

Album namesake ‘Trustfall’ is highlighted by an amazing stairs/trampoline show where acrobats fell and popped back up in time to the music, before ‘Blow Me One Last Kiss’ in contrast featured dancers dressed in kinda creepy lips costumes and we dance our socks off to ‘Never Gonna Not Dance Again’. Finally, yelling “I’m coming to see you guys at the back” we get to see what the four giant cranes flanking the stadium are there for, as Pink is hoisted up into the air over the crowd during ‘So What’. I don’t know how she sings like she does while flying around above thousands of people but it truly cements her line “I’m still a rockstar” for me. What a bloody legend, please come back soon.

(C) Dave Hogan / Hogan Media

Greenwich Summer Sounds: A New Festival For 2023











Today, IMG, the company behind The Big Feastival, Hampton Court Palace Festival, Taste of London and Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, announce Greenwich Summer Sounds, a new London music festival hosted at a stunning riverside location, the Old Royal Naval College, in the heart of Maritime Greenwich this summer.

Greenwich Summer Sounds will host multiple nights of incredible music from Tuesday 4 – Saturday 8 July, with Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Tom Jones, and Kaiser Chiefs revealed as the first headline artists, with further headliners and support acts to be announced.

Alongside the music programme, guests will be able to enjoy a range of delicious street food, and a first-class banquet dining experience in the stunning Painted Hall, one of the most spectacular Baroque interiors in Europe, at each concert. Tickets will go on sale Monday 13 March at 10AM via See Tickets with an exclusive pre-sale for registered guests. 

Joel Smith, Vice President, Arts & Entertainment at IMG, said: “We are absolutely delighted to introduce Greenwich Summer Sounds to the UK festival calendar this summer. From world-class musical talent to incredible dining experiences, we’re excited to have such an iconic venue in the Old Royal Naval College to serve as a perfect backdrop for the ultimate evening of summer fun in the city”. 

Matthew Mees, Chief Executive, Old Royal Naval College, said: “We’re delighted to welcome such an incredible line up of artists to perform at the Old Royal Naval College. It’s a truly magnificent venue for concertgoers to enjoy open-air music on a summer’s evening next to the river with views across London. Greenwich Summer Sounds is set to be a spectacular event in a beautiful and historic setting.” 

First to headline Greenwich Summer Sounds is the legendary Nile Rodgers & CHIC, who will be kicking off the multi night festival with an epic party on Tuesday 4 July.  Nile Rodgers is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee and a multiple Grammy Award winning songwriter, composer, producer, arranger, and guitarist. His work in the CHIC Organization have sold over 500 million albums and 100 million singles worldwide while his innovative, trendsetting collaborations with Daft Punk, Daddy Yankee and Beyoncé reflect the vanguard of contemporary hits.  

Headlining on Thursday 6 July is the inimitable Tom Jones. The iconic Welsh legend has been releasing huge hits and playing unforgettable live shows for the last 60 years and is still going strong. From much loved classics like It’s Not Unusual and What’s New Pussycat to songs off his most recent album ‘Surrounded By Time’, Tom is sure to deliver a set to remember.  

The festival will close in epic style with Leeds indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs on Saturday 8 July. Taking over the UK charts since the release of their huge hit I Predict A Riot in 2004, frontman Ricky Wilson and his fellow Kaisers will be lighting up the stage with a plethora of hit singles including Ruby and Every Day I Love You Less and Less. 

Ricky Wilson, Kaiser Chiefs, said: “We can’t wait to headline Greenwich Summer Sounds, we’ll be bringing all our energy, see you there!” 

Greenwich Summer Sounds will seamlessly combine the very best in music, food and culture. Taking place on the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College on the River Thames, in the centre of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, Greenwich Summer Sounds is set to become one of the hottest and most revered live events in London’s music and cultural calendar.  

Instagram | @greenwichsummersounds 

Twitter | @greenwichsounds 

Facebook | @greenwichsummersounds  

BST Hyde Park – Pearl Jam REVIEWED!

It’s a busy London Saturday, the tube is hotter than satan’s armpit, but we’re on our way to Hyde Park for BST today… let’s go.

As we head into the arena via the south entrance, we’re filtered straight into the VIP area which is a tree covered shady sanctuary in the heat, along with a few food carts, a bar and an ice-cream truck. It’s a small area but it’s quite cute and has nice loos.

On the way into the arena we hit up the merchandise stall for t-shirts, and there are some incredible Pearl Jam art prints on sale – specific to this event, a really special and interesting merchandise option. They even helpfully have a heap of tubes so you can transport one home safely/let your child use it as a lightsaber. There’s also a little bandstand stage here called ‘The Birdcage’ and absolutely heaps of food choices and water refill points. So far so good!

On the Great Oak stage, Dublin-based singer-songwriter Imelda May is a vision in flouncy Victorian mourning dress. She has such a dynamic stage presence and a stunning voice, we thoroughly enjoyed the Meatloaf ‘I’d Do Anything For Love’ cover, and hope to see her on many more festival bills in the future.

Punk rock fury from Petrol Girls on the Birdcage feels particularly prominent after the last few weeks in world events, and it’s pretty great to see them pull a decent crowd of young faces – punk has always existed as a call to arms, and we need it back more than ever.

Welsh rockers James & The Cold Gun give us that shoulder-to-shoulder sticky-club-floor teenage rebellion feeling, very fun but ever so slightly strange in the setting of belting summer sun under the light of a dappled tree canopy.

Elsewhere on site the South London Samba Band hit that sunshine beat with utter perfection, they are absolutely full of energy, which spreads into the crowd around them in the form of some very questionable but joyful dancing. After all of that, it’s time for a drink, and wow are you spoilt for choice here at BST. The bars are shipping containers all made up to look like a row of Santa Clara Cuban restaurants, colourful and interesting with enough different serving fronts to ensure there’s never a horrendous queue.

As we take a walk around the back of the arena, the presence of advertising partners is pretty overwhelming compared to other festivals. Maybe it’s a London thing, or the fact that it’s a small space, but it’s a bit of a bombardment. Having said that, some of it is quite sympathetically done, like AmEx giving out free water bottles and tote bags (as well as access to cold water filling stations, and the option to go into a private rooftop viewing area) seems quite welcome on such a hot day.

Around the corner there is another bar area which looks like something pulled straight from Snow White, a faux beamed pub called ‘The King’s Head’, then there’s the florally adorned Hard Rock area which directly overlooks the Rainbow stage. The Hard Rock Shop is obviously full of their own merch rather than BST stuff, but next door they’ve brought a sample of café items to an indoor food stall, surrounded by roadie cases of BST-relevant memorabilia, like you would see in the real Hard Rock Café. We took a peek at Eddie Vedder’s signed wetsuit, Elton John’s Union Jack biker jacket, and a choir robe signed by Mick Jagger. Oh and, it’s shady and cool in there. Magic.

©Michael Fung for BST

Up next on the Giant Oak we see the iconic Johnny Marr (of The Smiths fame) powering through a fabulous set with his vibrant yellow guitar. It’s a mix of works from various eras of Marr’s musical career – ‘Spirit Power and Soul’ is epic, but honestly the thing I’m most excited about – is getting to hear my favourite Smiths songs sans unavoidable Morrissey bullshit. Johnny sings them well, ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’ and ‘How Soon Is Now’ have the entire arena singing along, and ‘There Is a Light, That Never Goes Out’ is so upliftingly, I suppose canonically bright.

During a small break, Marr notes someone standing in the front section on their phone and snarks “I hope you’re texting ‘Johny Marr is a fucking bad-ass’” we all laugh, as the person in question red-faces it to the cameras. “It feels good to be doing this again after all this time, and to see your lovely faces” he tells us, before dedicating his last song to Pearl Jam for inviting him.

On their very own stage in the corner, the chaos creators themselves, arbiters of festival mischief since the dawn of time, The Cuban Brothers – are pied-pipering the hell out of BST. As their set begins with Kengo on the mix, Juan Erection throwing shapes and as he noted to all the kids ‘Uncle Miguel’ brandishing a hosepipe at the crowd. There’s something very comforting about seeing them back on the festival scene, albeit sans iconic brother Archerio who retired last season.

Yelling “I’m gonna pump some gas into you in the correct fashion” Miguel is as much of a bawdy menace as ever, I love it. He manages to cheekily forget that tonight is Stereophonics not last nights’ The Pixies… “I don’t keep an eye on who’s supporting us!”, sing us a verse of Even Flow and get us all to chant ‘Boris Is a Dickhead’ in the space of about 15 minutes. We’re treated to old school hip-hop, Kengo on rollerskates, Juan doing crazy flips and Miguel yelling “Goodbye Boris you narcissistic fucking clown!” which honestly, is just excellent fun. I’ll never not want to see The Cuban Brothers at a festival.

©Lou Morris for BST

Up next, Stereophonics on the Great Oak stage. As someone who listened to a lot of Stereophonics as a kid but not much since, I don’t know that I was expecting too much from them. A bit of nostalgia sure, but maybe not greatness? Happily proven wrong, Kelly Jones’ voice is still grittily excellent and they give us the most epic tour of the classics that we want to hear.

“It’s nearly 30 years to the day I first saw Pearl Jam, supporting Neil Young at Finsbury Park…” says Kelly, before joking that they themselves only have an hour to fit in 25 years and 12 studio albums worth of music to fit in.

‘Bartender and the Thief’ is followed by ‘Hanging On Your Hinges’ but it’s the likes of ‘A Thousand Trees’, ‘Have a Nice Day’ and ‘Pick a Part That’s New’ which really hits you in the memories. The wistfulness for the optimism of the early noughties is ripe for twanging that emotion string, things definitely feel heavier this side of a global pandemic.

‘Just Looking’ flows into closing track ‘Dakota’ with the band squinting into the still scorching hot sun to say “Thank you, it’s been amazing… have a brilliant time tonight!” before leaving to rapturous applause.

We decide to check out the dinner offerings before the main act, and it is absolutely peak London in here. Truffle burger? Bhaat? Steak frites? You got it. Wash it down with some Perrier or a can of Pinot? We chose paneer wraps and churros, both of which were excellent. Festival food has come a loooong way, and I am grateful.

Ⓒ Sandra Sorenson for BST

The heat haze is still shimmering over Hyde Park, the arena is suddenly packed with warm bodies, and every face is turned towards the Giant Oak stage for tonight’s headliner, Pearl Jam.

There mega lighting rig above the stage reconfigures to a honeycomb style backdrop as the band take to the stage to a huge roar from the crowd. Then 10-Club VIP area at the front is definitely the best perk of the upgrade packages, as they get a full close up of Eddie Vedder emerging to The Beatles ‘All You Need is Love’, and images of themselves plastered on the giant wraparound stage screens above.

Without a huge amount of fanfare, the band rolls straight into the first song ‘Corduroy’ and its clear that Eddie’s voice, and the band as whole have lost absolutely none of what made them famous in the first place. It’s as raw and powerful an intro as I’d hoped for. “…hope this night goes nice and slow, we’re so grateful to be here and do it again, we’re gonna try and play everything we didn’t play yesterday” Vedder says, and having looked at yesterday’s set-list already – I know we’re in for a very special and unusual set. ‘Why Go’ is one of my favourite Pearl Jam songs of all time, and it seems I am not in the minority, it absolutely sets the crowd ablaze, with people singing and dancing all around us.

We slip under for ‘Deep’ which is crushingly heavy, another Ten hit, followed by Vedder lamenting on how damn hot it still is this evening, when he notices a situation unfolding in the crowd. It seems like someone needs assistance and Vedder directs medics into the crowd saying “…make a little tributary, everyone clear some space’, making sure the music doesn’t start again until they’re safely out. With the 2021 Travis Scott/Astroworld situation making for very bad headlines last year, I take great comfort that most artists out there do take concert safety seriously, and notice what is happening at their shows.

Not only this, but the well-known and expected outpouring of political and moral opinion by the band is also welcome – we stan a band who use their platform to raise awareness, to comment on what is happening in the world. Eddie talks about gun violence in the US, and about how it affects his family, in relation to track ‘Garden’ which he explains is about tombstones in a cemetery. Following this “…a song [they] wrote and performed with a legend, Neil Young. Tonight we play with another legend, Manchester’s own Johnny Marr” for ‘Throw Your Hatred Down’. It is nothing short of epic to see these legends grace the stage together, this is an unforgettable rock moment.

‘Do The Evolution’ showcases the bands unmistakable delight in playing live, the energy is infectious and seeps into the crowd – contrastingly heavy, under the rainbow pastel summer skies of London. Van Halen tribute cover ‘Eruption’ is fittingly brilliant, and out in the front row the camera pans across a young lad with a “1st Row” sign, dances along as Eddie uses his plaid shirt as a cape for ‘Black’ and manages to snag himself one of Eddie’s tambourines, I am intensely jealous of a child.

A second tributary mention goes to the late great Taylor Hawkins, and is dedicated to his wife and children by the band. ‘River Cross’ is another thoughtful dedication to the people of Ukraine, and as the lighting rig snakes and changes to slither over them, the band drop into arguably their most famous song ‘Alive’. Hearing this live, is a full body experience, the ridiculous bone shaking power that this song has over everyone is absolutely wild. If you didn’t love it, I’m sorry to say, there’s something wrong with you.

Closing out with The Who cover ‘Baba O’Riley’ wouldn’t have been my number one choice to be sure, but adding in a return from Johnny Marr and Andrew Watt, I can’t deny it’s pretty special. It’s been such a different and varied set from last time I saw them, many moons ago at Leeds fest 2006. Grateful doesn’t even cut it – how lucky are we to be back outside after the absolute shitstorm of the last couple of years, witnessing something like this?

Live music isn’t just fun, isn’t just entertainment, or diversion. It’s the lifeblood of what it means to be humans with shared experiences. Pearl Jam tapped into that reservoir tonight, it was clear on so many awed faces leaving the arena. Thank you BST for making sure this happened, despite every setback.

Metrofest 2021 Review

This weekend, in North London’s Trent Park was the scene of what was supposed to be a day of winding back the clock and enjoying some of the world’s finest RnB and HipHop musicians. The lineup read like a who’s who from back in the day; Fat Joe, Blackstreet, Mya, Horace Brown, Bobby V, Eve, Jon B, Tony Touch & Fatman Scoop were all set to perform at Metrofest.

With lockdown rules lifting across the country and various restrictions for international travel still in place, there was always a risk that an international artist may not make it into the country or fall ill and test positive for COVID. This is the risk one takes with organising a festival during these times. Did this have an impact on Metrofest? Read on and find out.

A few days out from the event, Eve cancelled citing ‘unforeseen circumstances’. Cancellations happen, it’s just a part of the industry. Other artists that travelled to London from USA had arrived days earlier and were quarantining in various hotels in London (as far as we know).

Fast forward to Sunday, the weather was holding out, the ground was soft and not too much of a mud fest and the crowd was building after the event opened 90 minutes later than it was supposed to, with very little warning to those already arriving on site at the original 11am opening time.

As I arrived mid afternoon, there was still a fairly sized line of people waiting to get in via the General Admission entrance. As I entered the festival grounds, Horace Brown hit the stage and belted out his big tracks like ‘One for the Money’ & ‘Things we do for Love’. Horace is pretty chill and was great live, his soulful voice played out over the sound system and pulled in a huge crowd. Next up was Mya, whom a good number in the crowd came to see.

We waited patiently for the transition but the minutes turned to hours and there was no sight of Mya, a DJ was playing music on the main stage trying to keep a nervous and anxious crowd entertained. During this time, there was no official message or comms from the organisers that anything was changing.

Jon B was supposed to be on at around 5pm, but that time came and went. Bobby V and Blackstreet were up next but again, there was no sight of these artists on the main stage. Fatman Scoop was supposed to be hosting the main stage for most of the afternoon, but he also was not seen until late into the evening.

You could sense the frustration of the crowd, some who had travelled from various parts of the country, drove hundreds of miles, spent money on trains and accommodation to see their favourite old school artists. With just a DJ on the main stage for a large part of the afternoon, the noise from the restless crowd grew louder.

Eventually Fatman Scoop turned up and hit the stage to bring the crowd back to life as he got the crowd to join in on tracks like ‘Be Faithful’, before Jon B then arrived, almost 3 hours after he was scheduled to perform. Performing a short set full of classics including ‘Are U Still Down’, ‘Someone to Love’ & ‘Dont Talk’, he quickly left the stage before the nights headliner Fat Joe took over.

Walking out to his classic collaboration hit ‘New York’, the crowd piled into the main stage area to see the Brooklyn rapper in his first UK live event. Taking us through his hits from his vast back catalog, he played ‘Whats Luv’, ‘All the Way Up’, ‘Lean Back’ and this years big hit, ‘Sunshine’.

Cut short from what was supposed to be an hour’s performance, Fat Joe left the stage, only then for Bobby V to come out and perform. With a tight cut off time at 9pm, the Atlanta singer performed for less than 10 minutes before the sound cut his performance off and the crowds were informed to leave.

Meanwhile, as Fat Joe was performing, Blackstreet released a video on their Facebook page apologising to fans for not performing at Metrofest due to a number of organisational issues. You can see their video here:

After the event, social media was brimming with unhappy festival goers who felt cheated and wanted their refunds back due to a number of high profile artist no shows and their inability to cash out the remaining money from their wristbands. The cash out system started working after a day of technical glitches & three days after the event finished, Metrofest posted on their Instagram the following statement:

As a reviewer, I must be transparent and fair and my honest view of Metrofest is summarised here:

  • It’s important to remember, logistically running a festival in these unprecedented times is extremely difficult and risky and it has reflected as such at Metrofest.
  • There was a great crowd in attendance!
  • The main stage lineup promised so much yet failed to deliver with a number of no shows.
  • The transparency and comms from the organisers needed to be much better, especially as the afternoon went on and immediately after the event.
  • As a member of the press, the press area wasn’t fit for purpose, one portaloo for some 50+ people which by 3pm was not a pretty sight.
  • Exiting the festival was problematic if you were in the VIP area. You needed to exit through the general admission exit, but it meant heading out into the main stage crowd which was pushed up against the VIP entrance. It was dangerous with people being pushed up and squashed against the temporary fencing. I feared someone would get seriously hurt and eventually security opened another exit.
  • As a member of the press, I was issued a press pass, only to have it confiscated off me mid-festival due to too many people backstage. This was extremely embarrassing for me and uncalled for.
  • The above issue stems from either a lack of security and people without the correct passes being allowed backstage. Two security guards mentioned to me they were understaffed at the event.

Do I hope that Metrofest will return again next year, absolutely. The idea of an old school RnB music festival has a wide appeal, but there are some fundamental things that need to be sorted before the organisers gain the trust back in those that attended!

Creamfields comes to Chemsford

Creamfields one of the world’s biggest electronic promoters have revealed plans for an all-new 50,000 capacity two-day camping festival in 2022 which will see them bring their award-winning festival South, taking over the stunning Grade II listed Hylands Park for Creamfields Chelmsford.  

With the iconic Hylands villa as its backdrop, the multi-stage festival will also give fans the chance to experience the colossal 15,000 capacity Steel Yard superstructure is scheduled to take place on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th June Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend, which has been moved to a four-day weekend next year to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.  

The launch of Creamfields Chelmsford is a game changer for the UK festival landscape and coincides with the 25 year celebrations of its award winning sister festival in Daresbury, which is staged annually in the heart of the Cheshire countryside and attracts sell out audiences of 70,000.

Since its inception the UK edition has become one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world, attracting big name artists including Calvin Harris, Swedish House Mafia, Eric Prydz, Tiësto, deadmau5, Carl Cox, Bicep LIVE, Chase & Status, Pendulum and The Chemical Brothers.  Internationally, Creamfields is one of the few festivals to have successfully established itself on the global market with shows staged in Chile, Abu Dhabi, Ibiza, Malta, Argentina, Peru, Hong Kong and multiple cities across China to name a few. 

Creamfields Chelmsford is an exciting new addition to the UK Festival calendar and for fans in particular who can expect an all-star line-up of dance music heavyweights to be announced. 

Creamfields flagship festival in Daresbury, will take place 25th – 28th August Bank holiday weekend 2022.