For the 3rd year running Field Day was bathed in, more or less, uninterrupted sunshine. Of course this is brilliant unless you're A. Ginger and B. stupid enough not to bring sun cream.... But this meant i got to meet the wonderful Welfare Team who took pity and gave me a great first impression of Field Day 2015.
Now in it's 9th year and more or less split into synths on Saturday and Guitars on Sunday (loosely....) this festival is really nicely laid out in a beautiful little world of its own in Victoria Park. The tips of the nearest high rises poking out over the tops of the trees and flashes of the Gherkin from near the Crack Magazine stage. I got there nice and early and it was a bit slow filling out, as non camping festivals normally are, but still the Hackney Colliery Band got a pretty good early doors crowd.
Imagine the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble but sprinkled in Earl Grey tea and kicked through a greatest hits ever compilation album, these guys are so good at covering songs with marching band brassy goodness. I managed to then head over and catch Tei Shi under the Shacklewell Arms Tent which her music nestled within perfectly. An atmospheric but often powerful set of songs she also got a large group for such an early slot and the press presence suggests she's highly rated outside the festival fence as well.
As the day wore on I often found myself drawn to the bandstand to see the various DJ's keeping everyone dancing in the middle of the park. The sun drenched geographical centre of the festival was buzzing all day and just round the corner the Village Mentality sports day / olde worldy games were up and running (the dance being a favourite of mine) until the big hitters hit the main stages across the evening.
Owen Pallett was the first blow away act for me, beautiful and virtuouso violin skills from a man that started playing when he was three and who could be found later that day playing with Caribou to finish the whole day off. Also in the Crack tent that day was Tune Yards, and her inimitable warbling and percussive compositions were my favourite part of the day, before FKA Twigs finished the stage off with a very very polished performance of her very individual sound.
In between them were the disco / house / funk tunesmiths Todd Terje and the Olsens, whose drummer looks like a Game of Thrones wildling kicked through the 60s and landing in the drumming soul of the 70s, and the confrontational Run the Jewels on the Resident Advisor stage. Run the Jewels are ridiculously smiley for a group with very gritty messages in their music and the crowd were lapping it up in a really fun set.
Caribou added a cherry to what was musically a great day with some really great examples of intelligent artists at their peak. Huge bass sounds and fantastic songwriting arrangements had the punters drooling and at the front it felt like my ribs were shaken loose. Bangin. The smaller festivals, and those without the goldfish bowl of everyone camping in a massive musical refugee camp can lack the gruelling intensity of the uber-fests but this is a really good day out for music fans, and your a tube line away from hitting the town afterwards. Result.
Published on 16 June 2015 by Owen Tetley