OK I admit it, I went to Field Day to review it and was also on a stag do at the same time. Naturally I got carried away, danced too much, took lots of blurry photos, didn’t interview anyone & went home from the ‘after party’ at 2am after half a can of beer & an encounter with a mouse – don’t ask.
I did however have a rather ‘authentic’ Field Day 2014 experience, which means this review although short on facts, original photography & journalistic insight, will at least be honest.
We started off at 1pm, down the pub. Because if you go to Field Day before 2pm your just going to be waiting to get in with all the other over enthusiastic hipsters who have to see everything, on all stages, at all times and who run about with highlighted programmes like scouts at a jamboree, with beards. Admittedly, one of our party had a programme like this, I didn’t see him look at it once after we arrived. Field Day is about having a party & getting drunk in a London park with much better sound systems than your mates iPhone speaker on London Fields – so thats what we set about doing.
We arrived at around 3pm to a less than 5 minute queue and promptly got on the ridiculously expensive beers, this statement goes for all festivals. I’m not singling anyone out in particular but this is really starting to get out of hand now. Anyway, after a little wander about we made our way to the main stage to watch Seun Kuti & Egypt 80. Who were bloody amazing, hazy, 3 beers down sunshine and afrobeat are exactly what the doctor ordered. An enthusiastic performance from the man himself and some scandalous dance moves from his backing singers kept the crowds attention.
Then it was onto the tents, and we all know what that means. The infamous Field Day volume level debate. Apart from the odd little bit here and there, if you were at least halfway into the tent the levels were fine. A vast improvement of previous years. My iPhone level meter showing up a respectable 100db, so it seems the balance might have finally been struck between residents & organisers which is nice.
First up was Jackmaster & Oneman’s ‘Can U Dance’ Show in the Bugged Out tent. Overall pretty good, good skills, good selections, gun fingers, fist pumping etc. Personally I’m not a fan of MC’s but as they go Chunky did a good job at shutting up just enough not to ruin it and shouting just enough to make his fee seem worth it. It’s always difficult to present DJs to such a large space and this worked really well, loads of big current hits from the likes of George Fitzgerald, Hessle Audio etc etc. What more can you ask for really.
Then over to the RA stage to check out Todd Terje, if you read my preview I was lording this up as possibly the best live gig of all time. Well, it looks like Todd either bottled it, forgot his synths, had a technical hitch, or a timing/billing beef (I highly doubt the first 2), because this was a deejay set. So I stood around and watched him play some tunes, they were good sure thats why he’s good, but not live! We left disappointed before the inevitability that was Inspector Norse came whistling across the open spaces outside the tent whilst we got on with putting the stag on one of the conveniently placed fairground rides – that went upside down and everything – it was mental…
Then we returned to the serious business of dancing, the sun finally starting to wain a bit and the stage lights started to come into their own, out of a cloud of green smoke came Daniel Avery & Erol Alkan who stepped up to a packed tent. Playing a mix of washy indieish noise and pounding techno, they were bloody great. I can’t remember specifically what they played but it was really good & the contrast to Todd seemed to work nicely somehow.
Then we watched SBTRKT play the same tunes we’ve all heard a thousand times before, now repetition isn’t the worst thing in the world, the tunes are good, well played etc etc. But if the only thing you can add to the show from previous years is a massive paper dragon, well…
I missed a lot of artists, caught half sets & odd 10 minutes of a lot of stuff; Simian Mobile Disco, George Fitzgerald, Dusky & Metronomy, who all seemed to be doing the business. I’m really gutted I missed Lunice, Danny Brown, Gerd Janson, Dixon & Ame – but you can’t see it all.
Overall Field Day was great, musically diverse, loud enough, sunny and interesting. Production as ever was lacking a bit compared to other festivals. However taking into account you’re in a public park in London and don’t have a month either side of the festival to set-up & take down, it was a good party & well organised.
Bring on next year!
For more info head over to fielddayfestivals.com