In the run up to festival season it’s perhaps impossible to ignore the roaring reputation of London’s Field Day Festival. Every year, hundreds and thousands of festivalgoers get their best party clothes on and descend on Victoria Park for a weekend of music, dancing and revelry with some of today’s best acts. Now in its tenth year, Field Day isn’t showing any signs of slowing down and is as mighty as ever with a line up to match. With nine stages to choose from and roughly 130 acts on Saturday alone, Field Day is not for the faint hearted! Phoenix and myself were two of the lucky winners of backstage passes this year, which let us see some great acts and pick their brains.
Although working for the SRA, the team in the Jägerhaus, a stage that first appeared last year, very warmly hosted us. Jägerhaus acted as our basecamp, bar and most importantly a rain shelter! The Saturday line up included the likes of Fews, Jamie Isaac, The Invisibles, NZCA Lines, Georgia, Petite Noir and a Metronomy DJ set. When the acts weren’t playing we were able to dance to their haus DJs, sip delicious cocktails or distract ourselves from the wet weather with a hexagonal pool table that made me question everything I was ever taught in GCSE maths. With rustic wood everywhere, comfy sofas and stag heads modelled out of Jagermeister bottles, Jägerhaus was a perfect blend of style and substance – a great base for us.
Phoenix and I spoke to South Londoner, Jamie Isaac, who hails from the same area that we, work and study in. As well as congratulating him on his smooth set and discussing what colour his music would be, Phoenix and I also spoke about the unique music scene of south London and its thriving creative scene.
— hotbeverages (@harrriettea) June 11, 2016
As well as speaking to Jamie Isaac, we also spoke to Georgia, who played a magnificent late afternoon set. New to the London festival scene, Georgia explained that this was her very first Field Day performance. A born and bred Londoner, Georgia’s set was one of passionate drum playing, brilliant lyrics and infectious dancing, where the entire audience seemed to match her upbeat and energetic performance.
NZCA Lines – pronounced like Nazca – were a duo serving up a fresh take on electro pop in crisp white outfits. It’s uncertain whether the NZCA Lines new the weather forecast when they left the house, but they were certainly brave! Not only were they great to talk to, imparting their wisdom on the kit they use and why, but they also had a great story of their initial meeting which involved a window and a reflection…
Other stages at Field Day included Fader, Resident Advisor and Shacklewell Arms and Moth Club, with some of the headline acts being home grown talent. James Blake and Skepta, arguably two of the most talked about men in music right now, played to vast poncho-wearing crowds. There was a moment when the rain stopped and the whole crowd went wild in the glorious sunshine with ‘shut down’ as their soundtrack.
James Blake closed the festival, playing oldies but goodies, as well as parts of his new album, to a sea of mesmerised fans. Goosebumps definitely arose; tears may have been shed. The closing set of the main stage, hosted by Eat Your Own Ears, had a dramatic yet intimate feeling. From the lights, to his delight at performing in London, to the last trickles of rain, it was a perfect and almost cinematic ending.
— Phoenix Martins (@PhoenixMartins) June 11, 2016
Other huge acts included Nao, Novelist, Slimzee, Mabel, Gold Panda, Dean Blunt, Kelela, Mount Kimbie and Bicep, to name just a few.
Field Day is not only great for music; it’s also all the little things that make this festival so special. Dalston’s Voodoo Rays kept the pizza flowing, East London’s Five Points Brewery created a beer in honour of Field Day’s tenth birthday, and Blue Tit hairdressers were giving everyone trendy hair styles quicker than you could say ‘hair chalk’. Exploring the theme of ageing, Field Day also created a straw and hay bale area that was an amalgamation of village fete meets school sports day. This was the place to grab a bunch of friends and try out some tug of war or a good old fashioned eating contest. Needless to say Phoenix and I passed on these opportunities in spite of the very colourful Field Day tea towels that were up for grabs.
All in all, Field Day 2016 was a very successful one. Yes, it rained, but armed with ponchos, glitter, friends and music, the crowd managed to make it through to the end of the day. In spite of the wet weather, spirits were high, good times were had, people still danced and ultimately, Field Day reigned supreme.
Both Phoenix and I had a great time at Field Day and felt very honoured to represent the SRA. We both want to thank the Student Radio Association for giving us the opportunity to be involved in project like this and a huge thank you to everyone at the Jägerhaus who made sure our day was filled with music and happiness – and for the Jägermeister ponchos.
Roll on 2017!
By Harriet Wynter