Field Day Festival: Triumphant homecoming for Loyle Carner as Erykah Badu shines

After eleven years in East London’s Victoria Park, Field Day celebrated its debut weekend in Brixton’s Brockwell Park with suitable finesse thanks to storming headline acts Loyle Carner and FourTet.

Along with Lovebox, Field Day was moved from Victoria Park after Lambeth Council signed a contract with US events company AEG, owner of Coachella Festival, bringing All Points East to the East London location.

Despite the complications a move to a far more residential area and smaller venue could bring, the festival’s diverse roster of artists upheld Field Day’s commitment to mixing grass roots talent and iconic musicians.

This blend is optimised by Friday’s headline acts. Loyle Carner, at the relative beginning of his career, is championing family relationships, particularly between mother and son, while his delivery was wholesome, humble and energetic.

The Lambeth born artist told the crowd how his nan and grandad live in a council flat nearby, how he remembers playing football in Brockwell Park and dedicated a song to ‘everything about South London’. His joy at being there was palpable and spread a positive vibe across the site.

On the other side of Field Day’s spectrum, no one else is more deserving of the title ‘iconic’ than Erykah Badu. The entire park gathered to see Badu, with an agonising half hour before she emerged.

Badu played the classics, ‘Next Lifetime’ and ‘On & On’ from her debut album, Baduizm, combined with later releases from 2015 mixtape, ‘But You Ciant Use My Phone’, opening her set with ‘Hello’ and a track with a shared name as the album penultimately.

The signature stripped-back attire, solo microphone and headdress of her 90s career were swapped with loose shirt, synth machine and tall hat. Badu teased by playing song beginnings, then opening a heartfelt dialogue with the audience and jumping back in. Badu joked she made Baduizm for all the 90s babies in the crowd.

The star was probably not used to venues with such a strict curfew, as her late arrival meant her set was cut short in the middle of ‘Bag Lady’. As a result, a few songs were noticeably missing. Unfortunately, Badu’s goodbyes were not said over the microphone, but by waving expressively and silently. Nonetheless, the crowd seemed truly revered once it ended, and I think respect is due to Field Day’s commitment to its new residential home.

The Saturday line up saw notable DJ’s Daphni, Floating Points and FourTet fit the bill. Daphni is Dan Snaith’s third musical alias. He combined sounds from his first album under this name, his fabriclive93 performances and some new material.

Floating Points and FourTet played The Barn Stage on Saturday to close the festival. Fans loyal to both artists, who share an uplifting element to their songs, stayed to hear them both. Floating Points didn’t disappoint, and got crowds moving as the festival reached its close.

FourTet’s closing live set at The Barn Stage was stopped after the opener ‘Planet’ due to overcapacity. The experimental DJ, known for blending instrumentals with electronic pulsing beats was told to stop by security, until it was deemed safe after about half an hour’s wait.

Despite this hiccup, when the music eventually continued the crowd were revitalized. There was an extended period of very British complaining which any good festival would be lost without. The remainder of FourTet’s set was incredibly memorable, and he is something of a Field Day legend since playing the first one back in 2007.

Field Day’s ‘village mentality’ was certainly upheld as the crowds across both days were some of the friendliest I’ve ever encountered. The festival seems to have kept its loyal fanbase and its South London location has given it’s East London roots a new lease of life.

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