Sunday, 1 June 2014

Field Day 2014 - Preview

Our one experience of Field Day was in 2011. It was, as far as festivals go, a huge disappointment. Having gained a reputation as being London’s hipster festival we’d geared ourselves up to witness some tragic haircuts and bad fashions, but what we hadn’t been expecting and received was an event dogged by a site design that led to horrendous overcrowding in some areas, soundclash / general poor sound quality from a number of stages and an audience that be they hipsters or not seemed more intent in chattering / shouting to their friends and ignoring the music completely to make the likes of James Blake virtually inaudible. It was enough to make music fans who actually go to festivals for the music kick off, but as it turns out riots in London took place that weekend anyway after a protest in Tottenham following the death of Mark Duggan who had been shot by police earlier in the week. 

So it is with some trepidation that in 2014 Breaking More Waves returns to Field Day, which has now expanded into two days (shouldn’t it therefore be called Field Days?). However, we hold out some hope, for in 2013 the festival received very good reviews, The Quietus calling it ‘perhaps the best Field Day yet’ and The Guardian stating that ‘East London's premier hipster one-dayer has finally found its groove after some trying early outings.’

So what can you expect from Field Day? In a nutshell we’d say eclecticism and the slightly leftfield in Victoria Park. The organisers have split the two days, with Saturday featuring a heavier line up of electronic and dance based acts, whilst Sunday is geared more towards indie and rock. Over the weekend you can get to see a mix that includes the likes of ageing alt rockers The Pixies to the crazy Omar Souleyman and his traditional dance sounds from Syria to Australian indie dance specialists Jagwar Ma to the comical disco / jazz /cocktail lounge / house / rumba sounds made by Norweigan Todd Terje; there’s something for everyone here, particularly if your tastes are a bit more adventurous. Those who want Calvin Harris, David Guetta and Coldplay should stay well clear. 

If you want to try something different from the music for a while Field Day also has a bit of a village fete / school sports day flavour with silly games such as competitive knot tying, three legged racing, dib dab dobbing, pillow fighting, tug of warring and the like plus Tate Britain and Etsy will be running drop-in workshops on the Saturday to celebrate Tate Britain's latest exhibition, British Folk Art.

Rather than present a whole long list of recommendations that you’ll probably never press play on we’re just selecting one act from each day of the festival that we’re marking as a must see. They are:

Saturday – Todd Terje

Producer and DJ Terje’s LP It’s Album Time may be flecked with silliness but it’s a musically diverse work that is entertaining and full of charisma. From Cuban rumba to Moroder like pulses it will be fascinating to see how it works in a live context.

Sunday – Future Islands

The last time we saw Future Islands was in a Butlins Holiday Camp in Minehead in 2011. Our reaction to Sam Herring’s performance was echoed by thousands in 2014 after their show stealing performance on the David Letterman show, the TV exposure allowing them to breakthrough to a far bigger audience. Now Field Day is Future Islands’ for the taking.

If you fancy seeing if Field Day has now got things right you can grab tickets here. It's on the 7th and 8th of June in London's Victoria Park.

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