The Hospital brand is so global, so wide reaching and so influential that it was only a matter of time until the 20-year senior record label decided to throw its own festival.
Hospitality In The Park was a one day drum and bass extravaganza, which took over a modest section of North London’s Finsbury Park; the same site as Wireless Festival. Drawing in a crowd from the far corners of the world, the 10,000 capacity event was a celebration of modern dance music culture and a fitting end to the festival season. The line-up featured some famous Hospital Records veterans. High Contrast, London Elektricity and North London local Etherwood were all present and correct. However other acts from Shogun, Ram and other record labels also peppered the line-up, making for a constantly changing music experience as the day went on.
Things kicked things off early. With a 11:00am start, Hospitality In The Park made the most of the late summer/ early autumn sunshine. Beautiful weather is always the crux of a good festival experience. Rain and cold are the killers of a good vibe. Comfort and warmth are key. The festival site itself was surprisingly small. However, it was a welcome change to be able to amble around the site in less than five minutes.
All of the stages were under cover inside big-top esque tents, and each one had its own unique set design. The eponymous H of Hospital Records loomed over the main stage whereas a playful flower arrangement framed the Dub Phizix and Strategy hosted Well Good Do.
Truly there was a lot to see. S.P.Y and SP: MC got the early rising crowd going under the giant H, followed shortly by Etherwood who brought his own ethereal variety of drum and bass to the table. Anyone familiar with Hospital Records’ now legendary club nights will probably know that drum and bass attracts a pretty varied crowd. Old, young and utterly global, there are few music-loving communities as committed as this one. The atmosphere, as a result, was joyous and constantly buzzing with excitable energy. Truly you never see people in the western world happier on-mass than at a music festival.
Drum and bass was by no-means the only slice of music culture on offer however. To name but a few others; the Rampage tent featured dub-step legends Funtcase and Cookie Monster of Flux Pavilion’s Circus Records and Well Good Do hosted hip-hop jazz-funksters The Mouse Outfit. An eclectic line-up indeed. Even though drum and bass was the obvious focus of the day, there was variety to be found everywhere. The tiny Reggae Roast hosted stage was a particular favourite of punters wanting to rest their dancing feet as it offered out a less crowded space to sit and chat.
A true highlight of the day came in the form of the London Elektricity big-band. Tony Colman’s veteran liquid drum and bass act was bulked up by a huge brass band and two percussionists, two singers and and MC. It was truly a treat to see an often completely computer-generated genre be freshly laid out in this way. Just after, in the Rampage tent, the fiery Black Sun Empire let out wave upon wave of heavy drum and bass beats. The multiple ways that this genre was displayed was like a breath of fresh air, and there was plenty more to come later.
As the day turned into night, the atmosphere continued in an upward trend. Drinks were flowing and there was no sign of anything or anyone slowing down. Into the early evening Calyx and TeeBee laid down some intense sounds to a grateful audience in the Rampage Tent. The lighting and stage design truly came into its own during the darker hours of the festival. The impressive strobe and colourful lights became almost an act in themselves and added another dimension to the music on display.
The night was topped off with a set from fan-favourites High Contrast, who played to a rammed tent of people who wanted to suck up the last drops of the day. As the curtain fell and the punters moved onto whatever night they may have planned, it was clear that the everyone would have been happy to stay there for a whole night, or come back the next day for more fun.
Hospital Records has proved itself a worthy festival host. After selling out of its 10,000 tickets a few weeks before, it really wouldn’t be surprising for fans to see a bigger and longer festival appear in the future… Watch this space!
This Hospitality In The Park article was written by Zoe Anderson, a GIGsoup contributor