A day filled with fun, food and fabulous music!
I arrived onsite to catch young ska band, Chainska Brassika, midway through their set. Their up-tempo sound sent a surge of energy rippling through the crowd; until most were up on their feet dancing. The sun finally started to emerge and a good time was being had by all!
The festival itself generated a happy, chilled-out vibe from the moment I stepped in. Think: Less drunk than Reading and Better organised than Hyde Park. People of all types and groups made an appearance, for families there was plenty of variety shows, face painting stalls, and interactive activities for them to engage with. For friends, there was bars galore, as well as the John Lewis tent to relax in, for people who had pre-booked the luxury beforehand. But for me, I was happy enough just to stay by the main stage.
Sunny Afternoon took to the spotlight next, causing a new wave of people to pile into the front section. What can I say? They certainly delivered on the atmosphere. Performing fifteen songs from their Olivier Award-winning musical, Sunny Afternoon sent the crowd into a frenzy with their amazing renditions of The Kinks’ biggest and best hits. Ray Davies himself even made an appearance onstage, much to the delight of the crowd, to introduce the infamous Waterloo Sunset. Stating that the song is always: “For London, for you.”
The event was well-timed and organised, with interludes from DJ’s Jerry Dammers and David Rodigan, to entertain the audience between acts. By 4:00pm, we were treated to another amazing talent, this time in the form of soul singer-songwriter, Laura Mvula. Her set was littered with both jazz and contemporary R&B styles, with most songs being taken from her 2013 album, Sing To The Moon. Crowd favourites, Green Garden and That’s Alright were kept to the end, and lifted the crowd into high spirits once more.
The penultimate act, Kelis, got everyone fired up as her and her beautiful backing band came on stage in the early hours of the evening. As people gathered closer, and the bundle of bodies stretched further back, everyone was delighted to dance, jump, shout and sing along to all that Kelis had to offer. From her best-known number, Milkshake, to her party anthem, Bounce, the R&B singer had everyone on their feet with her amazing vocals.
An hour of DJ interlude later, and we were all ready for Madness. Anticipation growing steadily as everyone pushed further forward once more to get a better look at Britain’s best ska band. Right on time, they were out and on top form! Kicking off the set with the more subtle tones of Embarrassment, the only way was up for the seven-piece as they launched into one hit after another, leaving the crowd in awe. The biggest and best tunes were saved for the end, with mass sing-a-long’s to House of Fun, Our House and of course It Must Be Love…love, love! Finally, the group ended on the sensational saxophone-filled sounds of Night Boat To Cairo, a wonderful way to end a wonderful day.