Victoria Park in London has its spots where, if only for a brief moment, you see no buildings, hear no cars and you can allow a gentle sense of escapism to creep into you. As 30,000 people descended on the east London park, the trick of Field Day is to make everybody feel miles away from the city, whilst being at the heart of the vibrant music culture it attracts. Field Day has found continued success in producing a line up which attracts people who know good music, rewards them with undiscovered treats and keeps them coming back by having a fresh, yet unpredictable mix of high calibre acts every year.
The day began with the synthesiser sorcerer Rizan Sa’id creating frantic dancing to the infectious dabke before Omar Souleyman graced the stage bringing an influence which appeared calm, yet it initiated swells of frenetic appreciation of the Syrian from the packed tent. At times I’m sure the vibrations felt on the floor were only half provided by the speakers, the rest coming from dancing feet as heart rates increased and shapes thrown became slightly overambitious.
Jamie xx drew a huge audience in the Bugged Out! tent as his technical prowess stitched together songs which really shouldn’t have worked. Throughout the set ran a continuing thread with an emphasis on listening to the understated intricacies of the tracks such as “Sleep Sound”, but still acknowledging the fact that in that moment, crowds will be vocal in their appreciation. The seeds of the songs had been sown in the crowds’ subconscious long before they found themselves belting out the lyrics to “I’ll Take Care Of You” or “You’ve Got The Love”.
From the distance, a pulsating, magnetic beat began drawing me towards it. The hypnotic repetitions and ever so subtle variations and nuances produced an allure which kept me taking great strides towards it. Time appeared to distort as giant orbs bouncing from the crowd into the sky travelled slowly and elegantly. A lone shuffling onstage figure offered contrast to the gliding spheres as Jon Hopkins’ continuously fine tuned his mesmerising techno to show off all the rich textures and delicate layers hidden behind the vivid beat. Despite the daylight detracting from the famous visuals, by way of an apology the sun covered the joyous crowd in a golden glow which gave a nod to the organic samples the distorted tracks found their origin in.
To close the day, Metronomy emerged in sharp white suits to begin a dazzling show full of glitzy hits, such as “Love Letters” and “The Look”, brooding undercurrents of “She Wants” and the disco ball illuminated the thousands during the pretty “Everything Goes My Way”. Closing on “You Could Easily Have Me” the driving, scuzzy riff topped with a shaky tiptoeing synth line from ‘Pip Paine’ showed the band being keenly proud of their past, a past which involved them humbly playing football in the very park they now were headlining their first ever festival in. A past which seems simultaneously distant, and yet inextricably intimately linked to the present, a contrast fitting of Field Day.
Words by Sam