I was tempt­ed to call this piece “A Tale of Two Fes­ti­vals”. Sat­ur­day at Field Day 2016 was pri­mar­i­ly geared towards a mid-twen­ties crowd, with plen­ty of dance music and DJs on offer. The cen­tre of the site fea­tured the fes­ti­val’s delight­ful Vil­lage Men­tal­i­ty area where games and gen­er­al silli­ness were in full flow on the ‘vil­lage green’, com­plete with hay bales and cake stalls. A brass band played near­by. It made it all feel like a big, good-natured par­ty rather than a fes­ti­val. Sun­day felt quite dif­fer­ent, with an inter­est­ing mix of up-and-com­ing and estab­lished artists, plus a more demo­graph­i­cal­ly mixed crowd.

My pri­ma­ry must-see was Float­ing Points play­ing live, and he did­n’t dis­ap­point, this was a stun­ning set of jazzy tech­no which fit­ted well with the ear­ly evening slot.


The main-stage set by Four Tet was equal­ly enjoy­able although, despite Kier­an Heb­den’s appeal, halfway through we decid­ed to check out some of the oth­er stages – FOMO is a big prob­lem at Field Day. We pre­pared to move off but once away from the crowd­ed area around the stage, Four Tet sound­ed even bet­ter (there’s cer­tain­ly been a big improve­ment to the com­plained-about qui­et main stage sound sys­tem), so we threw our bags down and danced like lunatics till the end of his set.


We returned to Field Day on a sog­gy Sun­day where we found it was all change on the the music, and indeed the vibe. The crowd were some­what old­er, and I admit to being delight­ed at the sight of a num­ber of peo­ple of my age (40s, 50s).

There was more than enough intel­li­gent­ly-curat­ed music to take us through the day – Thurston Moore was an inspired main-stage addi­tion, all churn­ing gui­tars and lacon­ic vocals. How­ev­er a clump of must-see artists in the evening entailed mad dash­es from one end of the site to the oth­er, not an easy task with the inter­mit­tent rain turn­ing the heavy-traf­ficked areas into a mud­bath. I was sor­ry to miss Goat, but did catch a set by Blos­soms, a band who have quick­ly risen through the ranks, they per­formed a sol­id set. In search of sum­mery vibes, I checked out Aussie band The Tem­per Trap – they were less the laid-back Aussies I was expect­ing and deliv­ered quite a high-ener­gy set – Down Riv­er sound­ed par­tic­u­lar­ly good.


It felt like an hon­our to see Air at last– and I’m glad to say the French duo were spell­bind­ing. The appre­cia­tive crowd sang their way through Sexy Boy and Kel­ly Watch the Stars, by which time the rain had stopped and a glow­ing red sun­set was start­ing to appear.

rsz_airPJ Har­vey announced her arrival in mil­i­tary style with a march­ing band. She looked like an exot­ic bird, feath­ers ruf­fling as she strut­ted across the stage. The audi­ence were in rap­tures as PJ played a mix of her new and old­er num­bers. Down By the Water and To Bring You my Love pos­sessed a raw, pow­er­ful menace.


Field Day festival 2016




We also enjoyed saun­ter­ing around the site try­ing to choose from a huge­ly var­ied selec­tion of food trucks. Bud­dha Bowls did a healthy veg­gie cur­ry which we loved, and Crab­bieshacks were pop­u­lar with their soft-shell crab burgers.

Field Day fes­ti­val, 11 and 12 June 2016

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