I’ve been to a number of Wireless and assorted day festivals in Hyde Park but generally not been won over. Prefer to wander around the arena knowing my tent, a cup of tea and a snooze on a musty sleeping bag are only a stroll away. But Field Day in east London’s Victoria Park was a very pleasant experience with more of a proper ‘camping festival’ feel to it, and with a copious amount of good music.
My son, a FD veteran, told me the sound system had been a problem but they seem to have sorted it out for this year. Queues at ticket pickup were long with two-hour waits for some, except for our agents WeGotTickets, where inexplicably there was no-one at their counter. Through to bag search where the security guy was unhappy with my two 500ml water bottles as we were only allowed one litre. Once in, the site was impressive, with food areas, plentiful bars and loos in evidence as you wind your way through the park, with stages dotted here and there. We squashed into the Village Mentality tent for Django Django who unsurprisingly attracted a huge crowd. Second on the must-see list were Afrocubism, with their huge line-up of veteran musicians. The band sauntered on in their own time, chatting and tuning up, eventually kicking off around 25 minutes late which must have been a headache for the organisers. Their set was just beautiful, with their seamless afro-cuban rhythms bringing a different sound to the festival.
Beirut were as good as I had imagined they would be, Zach Condon’s emotive, vulnerable vocal style set against the band’s mariachi, folky sound, but the rising din of people chatting and the leakage of sound from a nearby tent became too intrusive. For a better sound experience we moved forward at which point I couldn’t see them. It’s a trade-off. Mazzy Star were awesome, see my post Mazzy Star Ate my Ears.
All in all, Field Day provided a good festival experience. The number of stages was impressive. The bars were on the expensive side with a bottle of cider and a bottle of lager at £9.60. The food stalls could have been more imaginative, more ethnic choices, and less sandwiches/wraps. But these are all niggles really, the festival is about the music and Field Day, with seven stages, offers an abundance.