The Old Blue Last, that veritable bastion of indie music in London’s increasingly hipster east end, has joined the fray and hosted their own one-day festival in nearby Shoreditch Park.
The UK is saturated with (and usually at) music festivals. Every weekend of the summer months there are festivals of every size and persuasion happening in fields up and down the country, including London’s multifarious parks. The beauty of these London events is that there is no camping involved, and minimal travel for locals. You can’t beat a day of great music in the outdoors, and then being able to sleep in your own (or someone else’s) bed at the end of it.
The Old Blue Last is renowned for putting on bands that are on the cusp of bigger things – as well the occasional international stars – and usually for free. In the same spirit of generosity, advance tickets for the festival were a mere £5, and £10 on the day, for seven bands plus DJs for those who prefer their music recorded, rather than live.
Given the venue’s track record, it was hardly surprising when the midday opening was delayed, but as there were barely enough people there to constitute a half-decent queue, this didn’t present much of a problem. Despite opening act, Lou E, starting late, all other acts ran to schedule.
South London’s Shame brought their punk ethos to the sun-drenched park. It was somewhat incongruous seeing them shouting and spitting beer in the early afternoon, when the hot-and-sweatiness usually comes from close proximity in a small, dimly lit pub.
For a change of pace, Falmouth’s The Black Tambourines brought their surf-rock psychedelia, which felt more appropriate to the general audience vibe. Last-minute addition Johnny Lloyd played a more blues-rock set, and his band featured the only female musician of the day. Given how many female acts perform at The Old Blue Last venue, it was rather strange that there were none at the festival. Happyness added more pysch-tinged rock to proceedings, before the two headliners, and clearly the main attractions, Spector and Swim Deep, hit the stage.
The energy and excitement both bands brought certainly put a strain on the stage barrier and the stage security, but apart from a couple of minor incidents the good vibes carried on till the end, with a respectable nine o’clock finish, to be followed by after parties at the host’s venue and other nearby locales, for those more nocturnal creatures.
All in all, it was a great afternoon out, with top music and a relaxed sunny atmosphere. It would be nice to see it happen again next year, but until then there are still at least another six weeks of festivals to go.
Words & Photos: Chris Patmore