Jun 13, 2016blog

Field Day - The Good and the Bad


Rainclouds, crowds and feathers, oh my. Victoria Park’s somewhat misnamed Field Day festival brings together alt and indie artists over two days and half a dozen stages.

City centre festivals always bring particular challenges, since there’s no campsite to build the community spirit they rely on. What’s a festivalgoer to do?

The good

Masked Swedish world-fusion act Goat. Since they gyrated onto the scene in 2013, as Glastonbury took a punt on the unknown collective, they’ve grown and grown. Not bad for a gang of stoners from Gothenberg. The masks probably help.

Sunday headliner PJ Harvey’s music is nothing short of haunting, but her performance adds an extra dimension to the tunes. As she plumbs her back-catalogue, she flits between the stage personas that originally made her famous. These multiple personalities are expressed in dance, voice, gesture, and you’re in no doubt when she moves from one to the next.

PJ Harvey’s feathers.

PJ Harvey at Field Day 2016.

“This one’s dedicated to everyone who has an iPhone and isn’t currently on it”, Swedish electro-popster Molly Nilsson says during her stripped down set. Smartphones may not encourage the transcendent, pure musical experience festivals sell us tickets on, but they must be good otherwise we wouldn’t all have them. So by that logic, being able to go home and charge them every night must be good too.

No one has brought wellies. No one. Despite being able to check the weather forecast in the morning and access a normal wardrobe. For the select few who did choose appropriate footwear, this presents an opportunity. You get free reign over the muddier parts of the arena — usually the shortest routes from place to place. Enjoy: you’re practically a god in these parts.

The toilets. They aren’t quite as disgusting as a countryside festival, so it counts as a win! What’s this? Enough benches and tables for festivalgoers to actually sit down on while they eat/drink/consume? You mean we don’t have to squat in the mud? Surely you’re joking, Mr Feynman. Glastonbury could learn a thing or two.

The bad

You have never known true fury until you have seen a press photographer cover a festival headliner with an iPhone and a vintage film SLR.

DJs. DJs everywhere. It’s like East London has run out of bars, clubs and pubs and needs to conjure up more stages to keep them in headphones and vinyl. DJs between acts, DJs on bandstands, DJs in tucked away corners of the arena playing to each other. DJs.

It’s easy to forget you aren’t in a field in the middle of nowhere. Photo: Carolina Faruolo & Linn Koch-Emmery.

The price. Say what you will about Field Day, but it certainly gives value for money. The calibre of the acts are impressive given tickets are a mere £50 for a day and £99 for the weekend, at a time where larger festivals are pushing £250 for their weekend offering.

As the music ends, you remember this is the centre of London and you don’t have a tent, so you find yourself either handing your life savings over to Uber or making the most of your transport knowledge to find a route home.

The panicked journey to get back before last tubes when you realise you already gave your life savings to your landlord, because you live in London. Almost makes you long for camping.

Visit the Field Day website at: http://fielddayfestivals.com/