Photography and article credits Andy Xu and Richard Clifton
Hospitality in The Park continues to go from strength to strength. Building from last year’s first instalment, this musical extravaganza is looking to become a firm fixture in the London festival calendar. Billed as the last hurrah of the summer, drum and bass heads from all around the world descended on Finsbury park to see out the summer with a bang.
Once again, the legendary Hospitality record label gathered together an all-star cast from the all corners of the drum and bass world. The line up this year Included a few familiar Hospital Records mainstays; London Electricity, back with his big band, and Roni Size were all present and correct. However, the appearance on the line up of outliers such as Deep Medi, gave the sense that you were seeing all the wide facets of the genre in one explosive mix.
There was a definite sense of higher production values and slicker stage set ups this year. Notably Med School, Hospital Record’s JR label represented with their brand new stage, the Cuckoo’s Nest. With the new set up featuring an imposing warehouse façade from the outside, the tent looked much like a homage to the famous techno club, Berghain. The long snaking queue outside only added to the similarity. If the aim of façade was to make the eager punters feel like they were entering a warehouse rave, those conditions were well replicated inside, giving the stage a dark exciting feel.
Removed from the summer vibes beyond the tent’s walls. Alex Perez laid down a high energy, bassy set that only added to the warehouse feel of the stage. Keeping the momentum going Etherwood continued to keep the energy levels high. He played what is becoming a signature style of heavy versions of his liquid classics, which left the crowd euphoric as they sang along and danced to the beat.
The Fabric Live tent further showed that it’s a brand that is very much alive and kicking after reopening earlier this year. Artists who had made their name playing at Fabric in attendance, with My Nu Leng headlining the stage. Skepsis presided over a enraptured crowd, playing heavy beats layered with singalong vocals; the perfect festival set!
There was no end of surprises at Hospitality In The Park 2017. Cocooned by sounds from all the stages, dancers at the silent disco stage were reveling in their own world. Presided over by a gleeful tuxedo wearing MC.The Main Squeeze area allowed people some time and space to relax away from the crowds. Set out with the food trucks it was an island of tranquility away from the unmistakable drum and bass beat that permeated the festival grounds.
As the sun descended, Fred V and Grafix took the stage as they continue to pioneer their new live set format. They played through all the fan favorite tracks from their latest album; a mixture of heavy bass with ambient sounds and serene vocals that has become their signature flex. With night having fallen it was time to seek out the darker sound of drum and bass. In the Let it Roll Tent, Carlyx & Teebee, along with the fiery Black Sun Empire, let out wave upon wave of heavy drum and bass beats. Leaving the audience wishing for more after the final bassy note had rung out into the air.
As with last year, Hospital Records have succeeded in curating a top quality line up only further enhanced by a friendly likeminded crowd. The production and design continues to be slick, inventive and exciting to see grow and progress. As the festival approaches its third birthday next year, we can but wait with baited breath, to see what they come up with next!