Field Day


Written by Kelly Angood
Photos and illustrations by Lydia Garnett
07 Sunday 07th August 2011

Last time I ventured to Field Day a couple of years ago the split decision as I left the house to go in bare legs was fucking idiotic. It pissed it down all day and I spent the majority of my time drinking warm cider penned into a cold, damp tee-pee waiting to chat to hipster bands and spying on unattainable boys. To be honest, I’ve had better fun. So when I left my flat on Saturday I felt a certain sense of weather related deja vu and grabbed an acutely non on-trend pac-a-mac on the way out. I was pretty smug about my light weight rain sheath but more so when the sun did finally appear in the late afternoon.

The annual East London day festival has had its problems in the past, such as crappy sound and toilet queues long enough to give you bladder stones, but despite this it has always been bolstered by a great multi-faceted line up and fantastic people watching. Living in Dalston I thought I’d become accustomed to fashion goths and hipster punks, but I wasn't disappointed with some of the style choices out at Victoria park on Saturday. Camille, a make-up artist from Bethnal Green was most excited to see Warpaint and looked amazing. She ironically described her festival style as ‘Sunday Best’. Getting dressed up to essentially sit in a muddy park seemed to be a given at this year’s Field Day.


Rihanna, a singer and poet from Dalston also stood out from the crowd with her patchwork style describing it as ‘tropical chill’ (alright love...). She told us she was on the way to see LA native Ariel Pink ‘if she could fucking find the tent’. She had a point. If Field Day was going to be winning any prizes it would probably be for its ludicrously small signage and unreadable map. There is no denying it looked great, but the graphic designers obviously had no grasp on the concept of cartography.


The boys seemed to make less of an effort with Jamie, an events organiser from West London, rocking a classic jeans and a t-shirt. He was there with his friends from the band Tribes (hence the tee). Knowing little about them (Ed - read our interview!) we headed over to watch them on his recommendation at the Shacklewell Arms/Lock Tavern stage. They played a joyous set of innocent rock anthems, including the single ‘Sapho’.


Roughly a year ago I made a ludicrous statement that I ‘hated live music’. This is the kind of bullshit that you can’t really live down amongst friends and therefore end up living by. Despite doing wonders for my education of bass music and the Archers, it meant that I couldn’t really maintain a conversation with any of the music obsessed guys in East London without a serious eyelash fluttering blag. Though, secretly I was looking forward to seeing Zola Jesus, the tiny blonde Russian/American singer song writer known to her parents as Nika Roza Danilova. As we arrived she was belting out ‘I Can’t Stand’ from her Stridulum EP and it was a perfect translation from recording to stage, her voice just as bold and beautiful as you would expect.

Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus played at the Bloggers Delight stage which was one of the smallest at the festival and always horrendously busy. Later in the afternoon it began to feel like a bit of an insult to have crowd pullers like Jamie XX and SBTRKT headlining such a small venue. That said, at least the sound was good unlike in its neighbor Bugged Out!

After a few drinks we went along to see Erol Alkan there and were so disappointed we left. The music was great, but it was so quiet that we were having an audible conversation ten rows back from the front. Some people were obviously oblivious to the sound issues and loving it, including a girl crowd surfing on a hobby horse...

Erol Alkan in the Bugged Out tent

One of the highlights had to be the laid back American all girl quartet Warpaint playing the Eat Your Own Ears main stage. Their debut album ‘The Fool’ has solidified their fanbase which is ever increasing as people become introduced to their captivating harmonies and stripped back guitars. The show captured a consistently strong momentum and ‘Undertow’ seemed to be a peak for the impressively huge crowd.


This Field Day was the biggest ever in its short five year history and it’s set to continue to grow. I for one wouldn’t miss the next one for the world because, despite the pricey booze and questionable sound, it was the best fun I’ve had this side of August.

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