Afterthoughts: Field Day 2017

It may be a little too steep to class Field Day as the pioneers of one-day city centre events, but it’s definitely become the exemplary model of how it should be done. This year was the festival’s 10-year anniversary, and it now faces competition with a far greater number of city festivals compared to 2007. But despite this, as others have come and gone, Field Day has returned to Victoria Park year after year, establishing itself as one of London’s finest.

Its main selling point has and still remains its eclectic line-up, cherry-picking some of the most exciting artists from hip-hop, r&b, indie, electronic and more, championing household names such as Caribou, Four Tet and Mumford and Sons before they held such popularity. And despite it now averting back to its one-day format after briefly expanding into a weekend festival, this year’s line-up still boasted the same Field Day pedigree we’ve come to expect.

Main Arena

Luck was on its side, too. “We played here last year but it was fucking raining,” said Loyle Carner, as he offered an appropriately sun-blushed performance of Hip Hop on the Eat Your Own Ears stage. There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the young eloquent rapper, and his set fulfilled expectations as he worked through numerous cuts off his recent debut, Yesterday’s Gone. ‘The Isle of Arran’ worked particularly well through the main stage acoustics.

The Barn

In contrast to Loyle’s breezy delivery, the bars from Sacramento’s Death Grips were delivered with spit-laced venom, sending the crowd at the Crack stage into a frenzied, moshing state of mind. MC Ride was equally hyperactive on stage, strutting around bare-chested as he spat out their bizarre lyrics, seeming increasingly threatening as the set progressed.

It’s fair to say Moodymann’s set lived up to his ‘eclectic’ reputation. Its been well publicised that he worked Kings Of Leon’s ‘Sex On Fire’ into his set, receiving a mixed reaction from the crowd and from the Internet since. But it’s this spontaneous nature of his shows that makes them unforgettable and all the more intriguing, and cuts from Future, DJ Koze and Hendrix all went down well. ‘Sex On Fire’ did to an extent too; it just depends who you ask.

Aphex Twin

After refuelling and basking in the rare British sunshine, it was time head down the main attraction on this year’s line-up – Aphex Twin. His first UK performance in five years took place at The Barn, a colossal space featuring a “high-powered sound system and one of the most technologically advanced lighting rigs around.” As promised, Aphex’s set was truly a sensory onslaught, from the dazzling visuals to the disjointed, glitchy style that is synonymous with the Warp signee. It felt fitting to sign off the day amongst a packed crowd in the new arena, showing how Field Day is still aiming to improve each year, and is certainly succeeding.

Words: Nathan Diamond
Images: Andrew Whitton, Max Miechowski, Samantha Milligan

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