London’s Finsbury Park will once again play host to some of the biggest artists on the planet as the lineup for Wireless was released. Taking place across the weekend from the 3rd July to 5th July 2020, this is bound to be a sellout so get your tickets fast!
Exit Festival’s latest announcement includes Skepta, UK’s king of rhymes who is seen as not just the rapper but an activist and the only MC who managed to popularize the London sound in United States! His fans include Mick Jagger, Pharrell Williams, Drake, Naomi Campbell, as well as A$AP Rocky, with whom he released the planetary hit “Praise the Lord“! The phenomenal IAMDDB is also coming from the British Isles, after being shortlisted by the BBC on their acclaimed Sound of 2019 list, so it’s only natural that her trap-jazz bangers “Shade”, “Drippy” and “Kurr£ncy” are a mainstay on the best hip-hop and R&B parties. In order to keep the Main Stage’s Sunday finale in the spirit of hip-hop, EXIT will host the master of live performances Desiigner, the creator of the decade’s most viral hip-hop song, “Panda”, which reached the tops of the American charts and has over a billion YouTube views to this day! This summer, EXIT will take place at the spectacular 18th century Petrovaradin fortress, from July 4 to 7 and still discounted tickets can be found at exitfest.org.
At a time when the music industry was turning its back on the street phenomenon of “grime”, Skepta became the best-known representative of the style that many call the new punk! It has been more than a decade since Skepta made everyone go nuts with the famous “Rolex Sweep” dance, after which came prestigious awards in the form of Mercury, BRIT, BET, MOBO and NME trophies, as well as the influential GQ list of best-dressed celebs. He was also featured on the cover of the famous mag last year, alongside supermodel Naomi Campbell, while the two were rumored to be in a relationship. Skepta is not afraid to take on burning social and political issues, as well as the hot topic of racism, which is why many refer to him as more than a rapper, but an activist. His rich biography lists colabs with names such as the great Mick Jagger, while Drake went as far as tattooing the initials of Skepta’s record label and collective “Boy Beter Know”. With the help of the megaproducer Pharrell Williams, he published his monumental “Konnichiwa” album three years ago, which consequently went gold in Britain and brought Skepta numerous accolades!
Hip-hop’s influential XXL magazine dubbed Desiigner one of the next big things in its “Freshman Class” list for 2016, and lo and behold, he published his huge hit “Panda” just a few months later, receiving the Billboard award for the best rap song, thus leaving Migos in the dust with “Bad and Boujee”, as well as Rae Sremmurd with his popular “Black Beatles” number! He was noticed by Kanye West who signed him to his record label, G.O.O.D. music, with new record-breaking tracks following, such as “Timmy Turner” and “Liife”, where he was joined by the trap legend Gucci Mane. Recently, he sent his fans in a frenzy thanks to brand-new singles “Soul” and “Earned It”!
Proof that Manchester is not just a city of Brit-pop comes in the form of a young artist dubbed IAMDDB, short for I Am Diana Debrito, who calls herself a “lovechild of trap and jazz”. This fearless lady found herself at the third place of the BBC “Sound of 2018” list, while her name was also listed on the acclaimed Forbes’ “30 under 30 Europe 2019” list.
This year, just as the name suggests, all genres will be thrown in the mix on the Addiko Fusion stage, including hip-hop, thanks to the announced arrival of the Balkans’ rap queen Sajsi MC and the beloved rap-trio Bad Copy! This “hip-hop festival within a festival” will carry on to Cockta Beats, the new hotspot for all hip-hop fans which will only feature performers of this genre! The mind-blowing line-up is currently lead by the biggest regional rap stars, Vojko V and Krešo Bengalka, popular regional bands Atlas Erotika, Bekfleš, Buntai, Hazze, High5, I.N.D.I.G.O, Krankšvester and 30Zona, as well as new talents, such as Klinac and Elon, whose star-studded career is more than guaranteed. The gang at the fortress will further gather the most popular DJ collectives and mix masters, such as Vatra, Cake Boys, FAM, Irie Scratch & Shorty P, Bajko Felix, DJ Laki & DJ Rokam, Palace, Traples, Luka Brasi, PLYZ, New Wave, In Da Klub, trepaj il krepaj, Vaske, Yung Rosh, Zimski and Lil Yung.!
EXIT tickets are available at exitfest.org, and for those who wish to bundle them with accomodation and local transfer, there are also packages starting at €135. Default accommodation is the festival camp located on the city beach, while hotels can be booked through EXIT’s official tourist agency at exittrip.org.
EXIT Festival will be held 4-7 July 2019 at Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad, while the always diverse line-up will include The Cure, Greta Van Fleet, Carl Cox, Skepta, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, DJ Snake, Desiigner, Lost Frequencies, IAMDDB, Sofi Tukker, Tom Walker, Maceo Plex, Charlotte De Witte, Boris Brejcha, Peggy Gou, Jeff Mills, Amelie Lens, Dax J, Phil Anselmo & The Illegals, Tarja Turunen, 65daysofstatic, The Selecter, Peter & The Test Tube Babies, Whitechapel, Atheist Rap, Arcturus, Total Chaos and many more to come soon.
After the month we’ve had, particularly in Manchester, it’s hard not to frame this year’s Parklife in relation to the Manchester Arena. That’s not to say this is a bleak review. Quite the opposite. The crowd’s unflinching capacity for a great time was matched by heartfelt tributes by the artists, and the organisers, and the ravers themselves. It didn’t affect the festival but you could sense its presence, almost out of sight, but not like the many dark clouds that shrouded the festival in a near constant state of shite weather. Love overcomes terror was the message.
Another external force that you could taste here and there, now and then, was a buoyancy that I’ve felt around me since the General Election, or more significantly, since Jeremy Corbyn managed to really whip up the young and youth culture and give it a platform to rise to prominence. There’s a real buzz, a real hope and a real voice that has been given to a whole generation that it hasn’t had in my lifetime and it looks certain that we are entering an era that will be defined by its young people. And by solidarity.
The grime movement seemed to be a vocal supporter of Jeremy Corbyn in the recent General Election and it was represented en masse on the stages of this year’s Parklife. A genre itself buoyed by a new wave of devotees that found a resonance in the energy and frustration and defiance of something the UK can really call its own. It’s so big now guys like Stormzy are doing adverts for Man United, the most valuable football team in the world. That’s why I was hyped to see the alpha and the omega, the grime I fell in love with as teenager that has now once again found relevance and forced itself further than it’s ever been. A man at the top of the current crop of made men like Stormzy, and the godfather of it all, Eskiboy himself. With artist careers that stretched back to the ‘70s, there was always going to be those different generations of artists represented, and intergenerational divides are a thing in 2017, but Parklife offered a musical experience that seemed to show a way to bridge that gap.
I’m not sure that necessarily had that effect on the crowd though. As I said earlier, this was a much younger crowd than I had seen before. Twenty years ago we didn’t really have much going on in terms of festivals, now they’re non-stop. I came of age at a time when it was just starting to take off. I’ve been to festivals all around the world. But the majority of mine in those days were camping festivals, self-contained, on-site festivals. Festivals where for five days you didn’t leave and got to know every little area. You knew what time to hit the showers, you found the best place for chicken and chips, you knew where to get cigs and where to get cash. But since then we’ve seen the rise of the one-dayer.
Parklife have been keen over the years to stress it’s a ‘weekender’ but really it’s just two one-dayers back-to-back. They sell tickets for individual days. Part of the reason for that is to mitigate for the loss of food, drink and merchandise sales for those who have weekend passes but don’t make it to the second day. That’s a problem. There’s no commitment. From what I saw (though I have no figures to back it) the majority of people there were either from, or based, in Manchester and the surrounding area (though there were still plenty who weren’t). People could turn up when they wanted, leave when they wanted and if they couldn’t be arsed or were incapable of the basic functions required to get there, could just sack off the Sunday altogether. No one really committed to it, and you could feel it. Lots of fun no doubt, great music unquestionably, positive people in abundance, but no real vibe.
The weather didn’t help. It was miserable and demoralising from the get-go. I went once when it was sunny and thought Heaton Park was the perfect setting for a festival. It still is, but part of the magic was that it combined a festival, with the age-old English pastime of just chilling in the park on a nice day. Snap back to Parklife 17. People were huddled in ponchos on the bank that overlooks the Temple/Ram jam stage, cowering under shelter, rubbing their hands between their thighs, wading in wellies. That said there was still plenty of movement visible in the canopy above the thousands strapped to every stage, especially when the black clouds turned grey and the acts were in full swing.
On the Saturday Anderson .Paak gave an energetic headline performance of most of Malibu, with no coke (disclaimer: unconfirmed), in the Sounds of the Near Future tent on Saturday. Rodigan got the bare ‘signal’ from the gathered crowds. It was great to see Damian Marley thrash his body-length dreads chanting More Justice and Welcome to Jamrock if only his amped up rendition of Could You Be Loved was under blue skies. Wiley disappointed. He just played vocal versions of his most commercial tracks and basically just ad-libbed over the top. I still loved seeing him, and the crowd loved it and he had them in chorus. Better be careful what I say though considering his Twitter moves the next day. BBK were good. Jme – a key torchbearer for Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign – did Don’t @ Me, Frisco was decent, you don’t necessarily hold your breath in anticipation of Jammer but Skepta was hype. We had to leave early because we decided to approach this festival professionally, with a professional plan and professional attitude. Unfortunately that meant limiting time with each act and tear-arsing it around the back of the festival in buggies to a stage on the opposite side of the Park. I’m not sure that approach is really suited to my review technique. That’s not me.
What I did get to see from that was how large an operation the festival was. How much work went on behind the scenes. How many police and paramedics and security and artist liaisons and press escorts and engineers that were on hand, often invisible, to put together an event like that. It really was an enormous project. Credit to all of them because it couldn’t really have been better organised and executed. Particular shout out to the press team. That’s testament to the size of the brand now. Parklife really has come far in almost a decade since the early days of Mad Ferret. We had the Mayor deliver a tribute to the 22 people who died in the bomb, and the emergency services of the city in front of a packed Parklife Stage and there was a genuinely emotional minute of noise in memory of 22 people, many of them children, who went to a concert, to hear music, and be a part of a live performance, who never came home that night, and that was heard during that celebration. That was the moment I was most aware at how young some of the faces were there. And then I realised it was because the 1975 were on next. I couldn’t tell you anything about their performance. I honestly had never heard of them before seeing them on the line-up and also because by then we were already hightailing it down a mudpath in a petrol golf caddy to see BBK.
Shoutout to Paul Taylor, who has taken the amazing photos. They’d gone the extra mile with the tents this year. Not just big top carnival style ones, oh no. Palm House (like the one in Kew Gardens) was a huge conservatory with white walls and what looked like real-life palm trees, though being from Manchester I’m not familiar with such exotica. I didn’t get there in time for Moodymann, though I got to see Jasper James later on at Soup Kitchen in town. All eyes were on the Feel My Bicep line-up on the Sunday, I only caught glimpses regrettably. The Hangar was another mammoth arena shaped like a place you might store jumbo jets when you’re not using them. Again I didn’t get to spend much time in there but I was passing though during what were the unmistakeable, trashy sounds of Eric Prydz, to bear witness to some absolutely out of this world, other-worldly, outta sight, light green laser beams flying about in every direction.
The food was mostly shit, I thought, and comms was as ever impossible. The search policy, though understandably strict following recent events, seemed a little ineffective seeing as though on both days I was fruitlessly searched at the whim of a sniffer dog that couldn’t do anything to prevent some of the jaws I saw getting about the place.
Disappointed I didn’t get to see J Hus and or Carl Cox. I did however see someone who I wasn’t particularly keen on seeing, mostly because I have a selective dislike for hype. Funny how these things can influence how we approach music. Need to cut that out really, this probably helped. Run the Jewels I’m talking about by the way. They were actually sick. Their music went off, they were gassed, the crowd were gassed. I guess part of it is that some artists really are made for the main stage. When you have a lot of energy in your music, and your performances are animated and interactive, you just can’t squeeze that into Spotify. So big shout out to them. It reminded me of UK soundsystem culture, even had an essence of the early 2000’s Wiley that I had looked forward so much to seeing.
I closed out the whole thing with a performance that I consider my favourite. In previous years this has been someone like Moodymann, or Loco Dice, Optimo, or Scuba, or Patrick Topping, or Nina Kravitz, or even Dizzee Rascal at one festival for the lols. This year it was nothing of the sort. It was the last sound of Parklife 17 to echo around north Manchester. It was Frank Ocean. Thousands descended, in the darkness, on the Parklife Stage. On both days the sky was black way before the sun went down. The crowds squeezed as far back as the flashing lights of the ferris wheel and the high, spinning ride. Tension grew in the silence. Frank Ocean was running late. Pockets of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ chants drifted in the chilly wind. And then something happened. It wasn’t immediately clear what was going on.
The main stage was filled with two huge screens that mostly didn’t struggle with keeping on top of aspect ratio, orientation and displaying info that was presumably not meant for the public eye. I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty confusing. I heard Frank’s voice and I could see a part of his head on one of the screens. Then it became apparent he was performing, not from the stage itself, but from a little satellite stage opposite the stage. He introduced himself with a humbling softness, both carefree and charming. He maintained this throughout. The crowd felt a little flat but in his own way he dominated the next forty or so minutes.
It was a huge open park, it was open air, it was dark and cold, breezy with patches of drizzle, but he made it intimate. His stage lit up like a tiny island in the sea of people. Lights twinkled in the distance like candle-light. He built the energy with the ebb and flow of the playlist he kept referring to, even if the transitions involved him skipping the track on a player, awkwardly almost exposing the illusion. His performance was sometimes clumsy. Goofy even. A couple stop-starts, issues with his headphones, with his mic, visibly alone, at times marooned. But when he sang Chanel, when he sang Nikes, when he sang Ivy, when he finally sang Thinking Bout You, with 70-odd thousand people around him failing to hit those angelic notes that lift the chorus, he had still managed to carve out a real connection with the audience. A bond that went above and beyond the hectic hustle and bustle of earlier in the weekend, when energy levels were still cruising and the frantic thrashing through mud from stage to stage.
Frank Ocean’s deeply personal lyrics, stripped back melodies, his live guitarists and his voice brought peace to Parklife. It ended when he finished.
Zara Larrson, Post Malone, Flatbush Zombies, Lil Dicky, Big Narstie, Noname, Nef the Pharoah
Saturday 8th July
Young Thug, Sean Paul, Lil Yachty, Wiley, Section Boyz, Yungen, Dave, Mostack, Jez Dior, The Age of L.U.N.A, Big Tobz, Young T & Bugsey
Sunday 9th July
Ty Dolla $ign, Wizkid, Lil Uzi Vert, Tyga, Desiigner, Hilltop Hoods, Mike Skinner & Murkage present Tonga, Stefflon Don, Yuna, Cadet, Aj X Deno, Abra Cadabra, Topaz Jones,
Main stage hosted by DJ Charlsey
Headlining Friday is Chance The Rapper, who is rapidly establishing himself as the hottest hip-hop artist of his generation. Since the release of his first official mixtape 10 Day in 2012, he’s won three Grammy Awards, collaborated with Kanye West on the critically acclaimed Life of Pablo, and clocked over fifty-seven million streams of his debut album Coloring Book. Having recently announced his 40 date US tour, including two sold out shows at the Hollywood Bowl, this is one act not to miss at Wireless 2017.
Following a momentous performance with Boy Better Know last year, London’s very own grime luminary Skepta will return to Finsbury Park as Saturday’s headliner. Last year saw his ground-breaking album Konnichiwa receive a well-deserved Mercury Prize among countless other awards and take his music worldwide. This summer, Wireless is delighted to host Skepta performing to his home crowd.
Known for some of the biggest hits of the past year, two-time Grammy Award Winner The Weeknd will be closing Wireless Festival on Sunday. The performer, producer and songwriter made history in November 2016 by breaking Spotify records with single ‘Starboy’, which still hold the record for most streams in 24 hours by a single artist.
Bryson Tiller will be bringing crowd pleasing singles ‘Don’t’ and ‘Exchange’ to Finsbury Park for a UK Festival Exclusive at Wireless 2017, alongside the “James Dean of rap” G-Eazy. Swedish songstress Zara Larsson and the young and talented Post Malone are also set to perform on the Main Stage.
Already a big fan of performing at Wireless Festival, Base Defense League Big Narstie will be back with a number of bassline dropping hits. Gritty and atmospheric Flatbush Zombies, comedic rapper Lil Dicky, poetic Chicago rapper Noname and Californian rapper Nef The Pharaoh have also been added to the line up.
Dynamic hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd, stereotype defying rapper Young Thug and the flame-haired Lil Yachty all join the line up for UK Festival Exclusives performances. Also performing are grime legend and godfather Wiley, ‘Temperature’ dancehall superstarSean Paul, UK rap crew Section Boyz, and Capital Xtra Show host DJ Charlsey who will open the festival on the Saturday and Sunday.
Underground British sensation Yungen, 18-year old rapper Dave and Mr Gangster With BanterMoStack, are set to carry out unmissable sets. Further acts to perform on the Saturday are hip-hop meets grunge rap artist Jez Dior, Walthamstow’s Big Tobz,the much talked about TheAge of L.U.N.A and The Royal Foundation winners, now major label signed Young T & Bugsey.
Regarded as one of the best MC’s of all time and with a career spanning over 20 years which includes hits ‘One Mic’, ‘N.Y. State of Mind’ and ‘If I Ruled the World’, Nas will be making a UK Festival Exclusive appearance at Wireless on the Sunday. Also added is R&B and rap fused Tory Lanez; the Toronto born artist known for hit single ‘LUV’, renowned producer Ty Dolla $ign, and the one of a kind Tyga who will be bringing with him five studio albums that include tracks ‘Rack City’ and ‘Faded’. Nigerian singer songwriterWizKid,catchy buzz rapper Lil Uzi Vert and ‘Panda’ celebrated Desiigner will also perform.
Mike Skinner and Murkage present Tonga will be at Finsbury Park this July, alongside a long awaited performance from one of the biggest hip-hop successes to come out of Australia, Hilltop Hoods. London’s grime queen and an artist to watch out for this yearStefflon Don, teenage marvels AJ X DENO, and popstar Yuna will be joined by ‘Stereotype Freestyle’ rapper Cadet, grime purist Abra Cadabra,and storyteller Topaz Jones for the ultimate music experience this summer.
It’s that time of year again, where the rest of the UK has basically resigned itself to Autumn but Bestival-goers know that there is one last high summer fling to be had. Cars crammed with people and gear are flooding the ferry docks, horns are blaring, people are already on the drinks at 9am… off we go to the Isle.
Upon arriving at Robin Hill, it’s clear something has gone awry. For some unknown reason they’ve decided to trickle-open the carparks, meaning those wanting to camp in yellow can’t actually park in yellow because it’s currently closed. For those not au fait with Bestival’s layout – the giant hill/massive walk through three campsites to get from Red parking (which is the only one open right now) to yellow camping, is utterly soul destroying when you’re carrying 4 days’ worth of binge-drinking materials. The second fail of the day (related) is that by not opening multiple car-parks and therefore access gates, EVERYONE IN THE WORLD is queuing for red entry. Two hours to get in is beyond mental, hopefully this will be rectified for next year because it was truly the worst entry system we’ve encountered at a festival this year, and Bestival have done it so right the last five years or so before.
After finally trudging over and setting up camp (in a field where toilets haven’t been delivered yet… what is going on?!), it’s time to head over to the arena to see what’s what. Next big shock of the day… where on earth is the main stage? The stage that sits in its’ place is about a quarter of the size of last years’ behemoth and is low-down, downhill. There are a lot of short people who are going to be seeing absolutely nothing this weekend that’s for sure.
Luckily, The Magic Meadow is up and running with the true Bestival vibe to make us feel better about everything. Happily The Feast Collective has only been moved here, not banished because everyone is starving and the food is just incredible. Where else can you side by side order a grilled-shrimp-and-samphire burger, raclette draped chips and a spicy beef rendang? With a pint of Bestivale in hand it’s off to scout out some early bands.
Asylums on the Invaders of the Future stage are punky and lively, you can’t really argue with a band who love to perform. ‘Joy in a Small Wage’ is perfect rock band fayre, easy to sing along, great to dance to, and the band themselves are leaping around the stage as they play in front of the Day of the Dead bar.
The highlight of Thursday is Besti-faves, Hot Chip in the Big Top. Weird and wonderful as always they play to a busy tent despite starting at nearly one am, and their electronic melodies can be heard far and wide across the still-filling campsites.
Friday sees ferries delayed by the discovery of a World War II torpedo in Portsmouth harbour which is later disposed of by controlled explosion, but with everything soon back on schedule it’s becoming apparent that not enough camping has been opened by the festival this year. Having sold only 40,000 tickets compared to years’ 50,000+ it seems that a decision was made to condense campsites. However, they clearly went a field too far and people are scrabbling for space today.
Anyway, on to the first proper arena day and we find ourselves drawn in by the presence of The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle over on top of The Grassy Hill. At a price of £5 for ten minutes of bouncing, it’s pretty damn steep, but hey we’re drunk and ready to throw some shapes. After knackering ourselves out, getting told off by the flip police, and avoiding serious damage it’s time to explore Caravanserai over in the Stardust Field.
What can I say about Caravanserai except, it’s magical. Surrounded by half-caravan seating booths, a carousel stage and Wurlitzer carts, it almost feels as if you’ve stepped into an American Horror Story set, without the inherent creepiness I guess. An area is being roped off by toothless yokels who are swigging something foul from an xxxx bottle and people are being called up to ‘dance off’ against each other, choosing ‘beats’ or ‘junk’ as backing tracks. As people crowd in we see a wookiee face off against a cheerleader who is throwing flips on a perilously downhill slant, a pole-dancer takes on a guy with a bizarre rope-tied tiny tears doll, and an extraordinarily drunk flying squirrel twerks at an Adidas clad musician. It’s bizarre and brilliant.
Heading out to the main stage for something a little less frenzied we catch Kitty Daisy & Lewis on the main stage as they whip out the harmonica for some bluesy riffs.
Next up are Bestival legends and all-round disgracefully wonderful pervs, The Cuban Brothers. No Bestival could be complete without them and their crazy array of stunts, tricks, the tightest jumpsuits ever seen outside of Olympic gymnastics and old school hip-hop vibes. Starting off in traditional carpet-print suits, Archerio and Kengo hit the stage with their dance duo which we as always attempt to emulate badly. Miguelito rocks ‘Mike For President’ in his gold wrasslin’ belt, and guest BAM from hip hop crew The Jungle Brothers comes out just in time to be accused of #sexyfavours. As they sing “I’m a Jungle Brother, and he’s a Cuban Brother” we see Juan Erection and Kengo bust out the big moves with huge flares, head spins and tucks. Mike pops into the crowd for a bit of fondling and then busts out the swan pants with absolutely zero shame. The Cuban Brothers are party central and the huge crowd is laughing and dancing along with them. The only sad bit? Kengo brings out his skates but the stage appears to be a bit wet to see him do any tricks. Damn!
Next up, Norwegian waif Aurora is elfin and adorable. Wearing a ton of knitwear in the high summer heat, she has a touch of Tilda Swinton about her, but oh that voice. She soars with ‘Winter Bird’ and instantly endears herself to us when by breaking her ethereal spell to say “I really had to pee before I came on stage, but when I started to sing… it went away. I didn’t pee myself on stage though!!”.
Years & Years hit the stage with a light-show based on the lines of their album cover and some pretty fabulous futuristic outfits. Frontman Olly Alexander is dressed in metallic geometric 8-bit armour which kind of looks like a Minecraft/Moschino collaboration and with huge ticker tape explosions they race through hit after hit. ‘Take Shelter’ and ‘Ties’ have everyone mesmerised and as snappy modern dancers flood the stage it’s clear the band have upped their production value in the last two years. Finishing up with everyone singing along to ‘King’, Olly yelling “I love this festival” and a massive rainbow streamer explosion from the top of the stage, they have been a perfect Bestival band.
Over in Bollywood there’s a sweaty crowd dancing their hearts out whilst cocktails are flowing at the cocktail bus next door. A tiny rave is happening in Sunday Best and there are people spread out all over sampling the culinary delights on offer here. Anna Mae’s Mac & Cheese deserves a mention for being the stodge that saved our souls after two bags of wine. Yes, bags. Praise cheesus!
Heading into the Ambient Forest for a bit of a calm-down, we take a stroll into the revamped Amphitheatre (amazing new design) but we are a little sad that the late-night movies have been axed this year, along with Scroobius Pip’s much loved Satin Lizard Lounge. The forest itself is full of new seating nooks and artistic installations like the Tron-esque musical pipes, and the tinkling of ivories can be heard through the secret entrance to the Gatsby-esque Blind Tiger.
Back to the main stage and Skepta has drawn a massive crowd for ‘It Ain’t Safe’ but it’s Major Lazer who really take it up a notch with thousands pouring into the arena for the likes of ‘Lean On’ and ‘Light It Up’.
Over at the Spaceport, set in a giant fuse box underneath a massive rocket, Carl Cox is lighting up the night with some solid beats, followed by Diplo straight off the back of his main stage performance. The ribbon-wrapped area, flanked by two huge astronaut installations is awesome, but the layout does make access quite difficult with thousands of bodies piled in.
Alas, predictions were true and the rain has put a stop to many of the wild and wonderful costumes we’re used to on a Bestival Saturday, not to mention the main parade has been cancelled due to ground conditions. Such a shame! However, spirits are never dampened at Besti when Mr Motivator is on hand for an early shakedown. There’s something weirdly comforting about a man espousing health in the midst of our foul hungover scurvy-wracked state. No I haven’t had any fruit for three days except in a cocktail, but I’m pretty sure I can keep up with these aerobics… probably…
The Chuckle Brothers are obviously both terrible and nostalgically hilarious but it’s Wolf Alice who deserve a much bigger, less soggy crowd for their soft, rock style. ‘Bros’ and ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ are brilliant and should have been sun-drenched. Hopefully we can catch them again at a less damp future Bestival. Lady Leshurr is a powerhouse performer with hit 'Brush Your Teeth' and clearly everyone is loving the return of Craig David, no matter how many times he says his own name.
Over at Invaders, Pretty Vicious’ ‘Cave Song’ has a huge crowd up and jumping including a rowdy bunch of people dressed as their older selves with inflatable zimmer frames – The Future, I geddit, very clever. Followed up by rowdy bijou band Hinds who rock so much pocket-power they practically eclipse the main stage sound, we are loving their energy. Yelling “What’s up Bestival! Bestival is the first festival we did as a band… we were so excited because it was the first time we ever had like an artists wristband!” they echo the sentiments of quite a lot of new bands who were given their first chances at this festival. Rob Da Bank and co. have always been right on the cutting edge of booking up-and-comers, allowing new acts to flow into the festival mainstream.
Onto tonight’s main stage headliner – The Cure. With probably half the crowd never having heard of them, it’s a pretty great turnout. Hits ‘Friday I’m In Love’ and ‘Just Like Heaven’ are absolutely amazing, but the three encores and an almost three hour set they perhaps go a step too far.
Next door on the Invaders stage, PC Music Allstars followed by Danny L Harle bring a small slice of electronic rave, then euphoria to the side of the Magic Meadow and the glowsticks are out in force (ermegherrrd right?) and as we head back to the campsites later on, the STA Travel garden is inexplicably packed with people winding to… Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl. Yep, that’s the last song in my head before sleep. Thanks guys.
Waking up to thankfully clearer skies it’s a chance to break out all the sparkly shit we couldn’t wear yesterday and walking through the tent graveyard, uh, campsite – it’s clear some people have gone full feral now. Broken poles poke holes in the sky as wellies (with feet still in them) protrude from tents, their owners flat out in oblivion.
The arena mud has dried enough to provide safe passage and it’s soon time for a bit of Electro-Swing with French movers and shakers Caravan Palace. At first a fairly small crowd has gathered but as they begin to blast out their strange mix of high tempo beats and jazz-swing riffs the arena suddenly becomes a bouncing, writhing mass of bodies throwing down together. It’s a big statement but I think CP are ‘the’ band of the entire weekend, the sun is out and the set is just incredible. Bow-ties and braces are the look, and cute and firey vocalist Zoé Colotis Charleston’s across the stage like she was born in the wrong decade. Hopping into the crowd to pull on a fans’ Union Jack tshirt, Zoé yells “We don’t care about Brexit, we love the UK!”. It’s a stellar performance and a great book for Bestival.
Over in the Big Top, a very different type of electro-swing-come-dubstep is going on with an incredible array of circus type acts to boot. Slamboree are fiercely Burning-Man in style, there’s a hint of cabaret mixed with Mad Max and freakshow vibes. Their sound is new, fresh and the fire-performers, skeletal dancers, fabric-winged fairies and kabuki masked creeps are amazing.
Taking a little time out up at Slow Motion, we laze in Solace with tea and cake, marvel at the Owl and Falconry display and laugh at Llama’s butts before attempting drunken hoop twirling and some hefty/danger fraught poi. The yoga tent looks great, but we are way beyond balance at this point.
In the Ambient Forest we stumble into becoming performers ourselves with the Uke band by The Gypsy caravans. With a song book filled with unlikely and brilliant options, we stay for renditions of Don’t Stop Believing, Friday I’m In Love, and go all out at the top of our voiced for The Final Countdown. This is the kind of unexpected happening that sets Bestival apart from other festivals, unplanned weirdness is always memorable.
The Out of Africa Bar & Disco Shed provide a little downtime as we listen to Michael Jackson jams and drink enormous cocktails whilst ducking to avoid the frenzied games of swirly tennis (swingball?) going on behind us. Grabbing some free fabric wristbands from the merch tent (if these were made up, why did we all get crap plastic wristbands for entry this year?) we stomp our way back to the main stage for Bastille.
Returning triumphantly to Bestival, Bastille are this time dressed in white jumpsuits with ww.com on the back, depicting their brand new album ‘Wild World’. Kicking off with old favourite ‘Bad Blood’ we know it’s going to be a good one, and the crowd is absolutely sardine-rammed into the arena. ‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ and ‘These Streets’ are brilliant, and new track ‘Good Grief’ gets a great reception. Despite it not really being a surprise any more, we all get down with their cover/re-working of No Scrubs ‘No Angels’ and ‘Of The Night’ a mashup of ‘Rhythm of the Night’ and ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’.
Dual headliners Sean Paul and Wiz Khalifa make their mark on Bestival, with everyone getting their groove on, reliving their noughties youth. Though ticket sales say that this years’ headline choices perhaps weren’t up to Bestival’s usual standard, it’s clear those who are here are having a rowdy good time.
Now, hugging your mates and telling them you intensely love them is pretty standard practice at Bestival, it’s just that kind of place that makes you love the world, but the closing fireworks is where you can hold each other tight and reminisce on the great/hazy memories you’ve made this weekend. Soon you’ll be trawling through blurry pictures of yourself looking an absolute state and missing every single moment of this magical festival, but for now – we’re oohing and aahing at this amazing Prince Tribute. Complete with screened video, purple smoke and confetti, we are truly sad that Prince never made it to Bestival, the kind of place that would truly have revered him and his music. The solar system rings of fire glow below as massive rockets flower in the sky and it is beautiful.
The night is still young for those squeezing every last ounce of Bestival into their souls, and The Human League are playing to a huge crowd in The Big Top. ‘Together In Electric Dreams’ and ‘Don’t You Want Me’ go way beyond karaoke and into the you-can’t-hear-the-band-because-everyone-is-singing territory.
Caravanserai is also full of life, with fire performers, aerialists and tightrope walkers walking high above cosy groups of people laughing in waltzer cars, whilst bursts of fire flame into the night from The Spaceport in the distance. Grabbing some gourmet grilled cheese we make the last trek back to the tents, watched by the shining eyes of the Lovebot.
There have been many harsh reviews floating about for Bestival this year which I think are largely unfounded. Yes things were very different which definitely came as a shock after the sheer grandiosity of the last few years, but the atmosphere was as ever, oh so Bestival. The creativity, beauty and balance was still there – all the things Bestival is renowned for. For every mad moment where something truly serendipitous has caught you off guard, where something held you in the kind of wonderment you thought you’d lost after childhood, and for every second you forgot your problems and just let loose, Bestival is the engineer. The thought that drives this festival is apparent in every corner, no matter the budget. I will be there next year with bells on. Or whatever stuff the new theme requires really.
Not long now til we, you and a stellar line up of the biggest bands in the world head to the coast in Spain for the 22nd edition of FIB Benicàssim.
The amazing 2016 line up is now complete and includes exclusive shows from some of the biggest and best names in rock, pop, electronica, hip hop, indie and beyond.
Your only chance in Spain this summer to see very special festival headline shows from Muse and The Chemical Brothers, to witness the biggest rap act in the world right now, Kendrick Lamar live, to dance to the massive hits of Disclosure and Major Lazer or to check out the legendary Massive Attack.
Beyond these, there’s the some of the greatest new acts around like The 1975 & Catfish And The Bottlemen, indie tunesmiths like TheVaccines and the Maccabees, the best in electronica from Jamie XX, John Talabot (Dj Set) and more. Pop? Jess Glynne. Grime? Skepta
Something for everyone including some of our favourite Spanish acts, Hinds, Dorian, La Habitación Roja…
FIB Benicàssim 2016 – 100 acts and four days and nights you’ll never forget. The greatest bands in the world and YOU at the festival of the year!
For ticket info and the timetable of acts, check out their website.
Predicting something very special as we charge inexorably towards The Future, the Bestival crew are set to whet your appetite with a hearty helping of amazing bands and DJs that will be joining The Cure Major Lazer, Diplo, Carl Cox, Fatboy Slim, Bastille, Skepta, Wolf Alice and many more at Robin Hill this coming September.
Rob da Bank says: “I love booking Bestival. It’s proper ‘kid in a sweetshop’ time when I look at all the acts out there and try to curate a line-up that makes sense across many genres… which is how I think Bestivalites like it. It’s not just booked for you, it’s for me too, so I cannot wait for a weekend encompassing Kano, Goldie, Mura Masa, Evian Christ and Reggie and Bollie. If you fancy it too, I’ll see you on the ferry!”
Upping the grime ante, renaissance man Kano will be joining us to showcase his skills with some super-sick bars. His recent Fire in the Booth for Charlie Sloth was a total masterclass that set the standard for the young pretenders, making his appearance at Bestival truly unmissable.
We’ll also have future perfect live performances from much vaunted Seattle duo Odesza, the lush and sultry Snakehips, wunderkind producer Mura Masa, London collective WSTRN, superfly freestyler Lady Leshurr, BBC Sound of 2016 nominee Billie Marten, Brits Critics' Choice nominee Frances, soul-funk-jazz-pop fusionist Izzy Bizu. and X Factor’s real superstars Reggie & Bollie.
Also taking to the stage will be the inimitable Los Hermanos Cubanos, The Cuban Brothers, the sublimely intimate This Is The Kit, South African folkster Jeremy Loops and our old mates the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band.
Stepping up to the platters that matter to keep you dancing all night long expect DJ sets from beat juggling behemoth DJ Yoda, Metalheadz legend Goldie, Southampton’s finest deck destroyer James Zabiela, sonic adventurers Mount Kimbie, and Ellesmere Port’s boldest export Evian Christ.
There will also be sets from Radio 1’s Heidi, bass marauders Oneman b2b My Nu Leng, on the fly edit merchants Melé & Monki’s NRG Flash, architect of grime and recent Bestival FM guest Artwork, and Honey Soundsystem, Applescal, Poté and Venum Sound.
And, adding a soupçon of off the wall behaviour, we will have Bestival antics from spandex-clad force of nature Mr Motivator, crack of dawn ravers Morning Gloryville, and Circus Raj.
From its early inception back in 2007, Field Day has evolved across two days, heightened its levels of production, expanded its culinary and extra-curricular activities, yet always remained true to its core values – impeccably curated music at the heart of everything it does is. Continuing this ethos Field Day are honoured to announce PJ Harvey for a London exclusive in 2016 on Sunday the 12th June.
Since her first album Dry – a record Kurt Cobain considered one of the 20 greatest albums ever written – PJ Harvey has received worldwide acclaim for her unique, restless artistic vision. The recipient of multiple awards, she is the only artist to have won the Mercury Music prize twice, first with the platinum selling Stories From The City: Stories From The Sea in 2000, then over a decade on with 2011's Let England Shake.
2015 has found PJ Harvey breaking more new ground, releasing her first volume of poetry and writing and recording her as-yet-untitled 9th studio album in front of live audiences inside an architectural installation at Somerset House.
Awarded an MBE for services to music in 2013, her headline slot will be a Field Day exclusive and be the first UK live, full band show since she played at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011.
FIELD DAY 2016 – Saturday
Elsewhere at their decade celebrations, Field Day Saturday will see long time friend of the festival Four Tet play a key slot on the Eat Your Own Ears Main Stage."One of the UK's most dedicated club DJs, capable of holding a room in sweaty excelsis for eight hours without pause." He's restlessly dedicated his life to creating other-worldly club music, with his timeless productions sounding like they've been beamed from another dimension.
All-conquering grime superstar Skepta graces Victoria Park with his presence as he continues to bring grime kicking and screaming into 2016. A new album imminent with a reportedly all star cast of collaborators, his ascendancy continues at pace. Get set to get Shutdown.
Led by the enigmatic frontman Bradford Fox, Deerhunter bring their gloriously shape-shifting genres and sounds, vacillating from post-punk to pop, auspiciously under the all-encompassing umbrella of indie-rock.
Floating Points has won over crowds around the world with his strictly vinyl club sessions, spanning, house, techno, soul and disco, steadily climbing the ranks of the globes most impressive DJ's. Floating Points will bring his enchanting full band show to Field Day Saturday, for a mesmerising performance filled with warm electro weaves and delicate euphoria.
Mercury Prize nominated and this year's rising star SOAK will also appear on Saturday, along with a further line-up which veers into corners as diverse as Cass McCombs blending rock, folk, psychedelic, punk, and alt country, plus Yorkston Thorne Khan, which encompasses the mighty Scottish folk nobility of James Yorkston.
Founded in 1970, the six piece Senegalese Afro-Cuban, Son, Wolof and Pachanga band Orchestra Baobab, are hailed as one of Africa's great iconic bands, producing more hits in less than a decade than other bands in a lifetime. Elsewhere, Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band will bring their mix of traditional Thai sound with echoes of folk-rock, blues and dub to a Field Day stage.
Renowned for their beautifully blissed out sound, London duo Mount Kimbie come to Field Day on the Saturday and will be joining DJ Koze who was recently selected to mix the 50th edition of !K7's seminal DJ Kicks series. Also up on the Saturday is Motor City Drum Ensemble – a much in demand artist who over the the past few years he's cemented his reputation as one of the top ranking record pioneers making Resident Advisor's Top 20 DJs last year.
One of the biggest names in the German electronic music scene and part of the Robert Johnson family, Roman Flügel is also on Saturday's line-up. A chameleon visiting many styles from ambient to house, techno, electro and leftfield. Special Request, the rugged alias for house and techno stalwart Paul Woolford is inspired by the unruly conventions of UK pirate radio stations, with productions span from murky house through darkside techno to chaotic eye-of-the-storm hardcore/jungle tear-outs. Also joining Saturday's bill will be the dynamic house duo Dusky, who in just three years have asserted themselves as leaders of the UK underground.
Live electronic acts come in the form of Holly Herndon, Kink and Red Axes. Holly Herndon brings her unique blend of glitching, bewitching electronics and choral voices to her sonic performance. Recent album Platform, co-released on 4AD and the peerless RVNG Intl has seen another step forward in her production and gained her further plaudits far and wide.
Hailing from Sofia, Bulgaria, Kink's an enigma in many different forms and will perform one of his much-lauded live sets at Field Day. Tel-Aviv producers Dori Sadovnik and Niv Arzi have been performing together for a long time, first as post-punk band Red Cotton. It's with their current Red Axes incarnation that they've struck gold, touching on stripped back slow mo techno.
Ghanaian musician Ata Kak, was the first ever post on The Awesome Tapes from Africa blog which spawned the hugely influential label. Obaa Sima has gone on to transcend genres and appeared in an unbelievable array of DJ's sets since. Ata Kak comes to the UK to play Field Day for what will be his first time out of Ghana. Special.
Performing new live music for the first time, Wild Nothing, the American five piece indie rock/dream pop band from Virginia, will bring their shimmery, synth-washed indie pop recordings to Field Day Saturday. While Trevor Powers' a.k.a Youth Lagoon, will provide the Festival goers with an insight into his ever mind expanding and varied productions.
Producer, DJ and software developer Avalon Emerson and electronic music producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mura Masa also join for the Saturday, along with Dean Blunt, an artist renowned for consistently delivering compelling and unpredictable performances and the terrifyingly gifted Meilyr Jones.
FIELD DAY 2016 – Sunday
On Sunday, hailing from Buchanan, but now ensconced in Iceland, singer, song-writer and honesty purveyor John Grant joins the bill alongside PJ Harvey. His third solo studio album, 2015's Grey Tickles, Black Pressure featured several guests such as singers Tracey Thorn of Everything But The Girl and Amanda Palmer. In 2014 John Grant was nominated for Best International Male Solo Artist at the BRITS and appeared on UK TV show, Later with Jools Holland in early October this year, accompanied on stage by a band including several backing singers and special guest Budgie.
Also on Field Day Sunday, Baltimore dream-pop duo and masters of the lullaby, Beach House are known for creating music which is dark, dreamy, and alluringly hypnotic. Since their formation in 2005, Beach House have charmed indie music enthusiasts across the blogosphere with their languid songcraft, and the eerie warmth of "Apple Orchard" landed on Pitchfork's Infinite Mixtape MP3 series in August 2006.
Swedish psych-rockers and master of the on-stage costume, GOAT will bring their unique sound to the main stage. The indie-informed and highly electronic adept Junior Boys, are back with a much lauded new album this year including a synth cover of Bobby Caldwell's 'What You Won't Do For Love'.
Elsewhere on Sunday's cohesive yet eclectic line-up, Glaswegian DJ royalty duo Optimo will be representing. JD Twitch of Optimo's Autonomous Africa, Optimo and Optimo Trax labels responsible for some of the most incredibly diverse releases of recent time. Former Sonic Youth frontman will also bring The Thurston Moore Band to the Sunday Field Day crowd.
BBC 6Music resident, and member of the best-selling duo Everything But The Girl, Ben Watt will play with his band featuring Bernard Butler, whilst Molly Nilsson's synth-pop also comes to the fore. Plus many more to be announced complete another classic Field Day Sunday.
Adding to an already stelar assemblage of electronic music heavy weights, MINT Festival are excited announce some further additions to their 2015 line-up.
Sunday the 20th September will see the unstoppable grime MC Skepta come to the Wetherby Racecourse, playing the Detonate + Jungle Jam arena alongside the likes of Sub Focus, Shy FX and Cause & Affect.
Also on the Sunday, MINT Festival welcomes the legendary Zed Bias, an artist who has been pushing the underground bass scene forward for the past two decades. Zed will present his 'Madd Again' LIVE showcase, featuring MC's Trigga and Killa Benz, expect a big, bashy, grimey affair.
Skepta and Zed Bias will join a wide range of electronic artists over the two day event, including Sven Vath, Green Velvet, Ricardo Villalobos, Skream, Maya Jane Coles, Todd Terry, Seth Troxler and many more.
With over 25 stages, revolutionary soundsystems, zombie love-ins, psychedelic woodland adventures, 24-hour free haircuts, and a host of dazzling new attractions, Bestival’s Summer of Love is already looking pretty damn fit. But as ever, we want to get everyone we love involved, including this rather sultry bunch of musical marvels that will have you rockin’ Robin Hill all weekend long this September 10-13.
Love commando Rob da Bank says: “I’m well excited with this new batch of acts we’re announcing tonight. With so many identikit festivals about with similar acts and bills I’m proud that 12 years on we don’t go with the flow. If the indie amazingness of Drenge isn’t your bag then grimy faceslaps from Skepta and Wiley might be, and if you’re insane and don’t like the legendary junglist brilliance of Roni Size and his live Reprazent show then perhaps, just perhaps, you’ll be singing ‘to me, to you, to me, to you’ whilst dancing in a pair of ill-fitting tropical shorts to the Chuckle Brothers. No matter what, there’s plenty more fish in the sea to come, as our Summer of Love really starts to heat up. See you down the front.”
Bringing on the love with big fat beats, we’ll have main stage appearances from grime pioneer Wiley, who completely smashed it as our secret guest in 2012, plus the unstoppable skank machine, Dub Pistols.
Dub Pistols legend Barry Ashworth commented: “The Highlight of the year for us will always be playing Bestival, this year we are back on the main stage, it doesn’t get bigger than that, and if that’s not enough you can always catch me spinning tracks and drinking in the Sunday Best Cardboard Record Shop! There’s only one Bestival!”
Not quite true, Barry, there are two Bestivals, but we know what you mean! Big love to all our Canadian brethren! More Isle of Wight-based Bestival main stage action will come from cool chanteuse Gabrielle Aplin, sing-along faves Dodgy, and the Isle of Wight’s own Xockha and Yrslf.
Old blue, Bestival’s beloved Big Top will be playing host to some mighty sounds this summer, too, including the much requested return of Joseph Junior Adenuga AKA Skepta and an absolute must-see live set from drum n bass hero Roni Size & Reprazent. We’ll also have recently expanded noiseniks Drenge, our favourite scratch master DJ Yoda Presents: Breakfast of Champions, with his brand new hip-hop band busting up the Big Top live, and then the man himself will be taking on Bollywood for a typically special DJ set, and we’ll have one of the coolest bands ever to grace a festival, Sunday Best favourites, the utterly incomparable Kitty Daisy & Lewis.
Commenting on their latest Bestival appearance, Kitty Daisy & Lewis uttered as one: “We’re so excited to be coming to Bestival again this year, we always have a great time. Sunday Best know how to throw a festival!”
The Big Top will also welcome a high-voltage rock assault from Dinosaur Pile-Up, plus sets from Kero Kero Bonito, Lloyd Yates, Seafret and – we’re not sure it’s possible to express quite how excited we are about this – The Chuckle Brothers! Yes, it’ll be history in the making with be-mulleted slapstick to me, to you. CAN. NOT. WAIT.
As if all that wasn’t enough to get you all giddy with joy, he was one of the smash hits acts that started our summer in finest style at Common People, so we’re extremely pleased that turntable ninja, Jaguar Skills, will be joining us to destroy the dancefloor at The Port.