Field Day Review \\ Bigger, better, familiar

“Bigger and better” is the consensus from Field Day goers, many of whom have developed a loyalty to coming to the festival every year. It’s no surprise that the overall atmosphere of the day mirrors otherworldly happiness as people flock over green grass to enter a space that sits outside of the usual rhythm of life, and the good news for camping-phobes? It’s only for one day. 

The attendees are a mix dominated by East London hipsters with the occasional prog-rock haircut poking out, Summer dresses and ‘Fuck Brexit’ badges. Being greeted at the entrance by a singing caricature of former-mayor Boris Johnson is a reminder that music festivals can be a political space – of sorts. 

Field Day is not reliant on a specific genre theme. Offering an eclectic line-up with quite a lot of lesser known acts, it finds a balance with the hard hitting headliners. London-bred Loyle Carner brought freestyle, modesty and a cheeky sense of humour to the main stage. He embraced the relaxed nature of the crowd who sang with him throughout this set. Flamingods provided psychedelic world-folk that was alight with child-like energy. “We all come from the same piece of fucking earth”, said lead Kamaal Rasool, “and we need to celebrate that.”

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Into the night Flying Lotus brought beats that could be felt coursing through the body with tumultuous force. Fatima Yamaha gave a joyous performance of light and sound to get lost amongst, whilst Aphex Twin’s set fulfilled any childhood dream of playing with big lasers. They stretched the entire length of The Barn – a new stage for 2017 – in mesmerising movement to match the electronic soundscapes. The initial feeling of being a sardine in a tin was soon overcome. 

Ending the night with Omar Souleyman was a treat. Sweat drenched bodies (possibly spattered with a bit of rain) embraced the Middle Eastern sounds with gravitas and energy in a physical expression of joy and release. A young Iranian woman next to me expresses a sense of nostalgia, smiling with the comfort of familiarity. 

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JS | Nina Fine

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