North London’s Finsbury Park was the place to be on the weekend as it was host to Hospitality In The Park – The UK’s largest Drum And Bass festival. Organised by premier D’n’B label Hospital Records and in its third year running since its inception in 2016, an estimated 12,500 partygoers trampled Finsbury’s fair, rain sodden land.
With 8 different tents and hundreds of artists and DJs showcasing their best mixes there was always going to be lots to do and see but of course the main Hospitality Arena was where the majority of the best action was at, as well providing the best refuge from the sopping weather which was turning a touch biblical, raining 40 days and nights from the span of mid afternoon to late evening.
I made my way into the venue at around 2pm, already feeling the rib-rattling quakes of bass from outside the main arena, just in time to catch Logistics who delivered a dark, grimy, acid-drenched set quite apart from his usual brand of smooth, uplifting liquid funk. London producer Metrik took over the decks at 4pm and lifted the roof off with a stunning, bombastic, hi-energy setlist, not a wise idea considering that the heavens were opening above us with a nonstop deluge. While the terrain was a now a mudbath, the music was scintillating, the atmosphere electric and a Mission Impossible-style lazer maze light show was a constant source of dazzlement as well as epilepsy.
Inching my way to the front of a sardine-packed crowd of pumped up, blissed out revellers, I bore witness to an immaculate live set from Welsh wonder-producer and foremost face of Hospital Records‘ High Contrast. Standing centre in a mini pulpit of hardware synths, the best-selling D’n’B icon was supported by a nifty live band featuring glamorous singers, guitarist, trumpeter and a drummer on an acoustic kit who definitely had their work cut out pounding out a 70-minute artillery fire of dance, d&b and disco rhythms. Together they dished out all of his greatest hits including ‘Racing Green’, ‘If We Ever’ and ‘The Basement Track’ with much aplomb and then wrapped it up with a version of ‘God Only Knows’, his latest single which is out now… on Hospital Records.
Fellow Hospital stalwart London Elektricity followed up behind decks once the tireless roadies put all the turntables back into place and the night was due to close with headliner Danny Byrd and the launch of his newest album ‘Atomic Funk’ but I had to follow my heart and catch D’n’B legend and renaissance man Goldie play the final mix at the Outlook tent just a short hop but a mile of mud away from the Hospitality arena. Hip Hop outfit Foreign Beggars gamely stoked the warm vibes and kept crowd bouncing for the grand introduction of the Metalheadz messiah. Together with MC Lowqui, Goldie served up an intense set of terse jungle and breakcore, dropping his comeback single from last year ‘I Adore You’ into the mix and delving into some seriously splenetic, head-mincing glitch beats during the rapturous finale. Standing a mere 2 feet away from the juddering wall of subwoofers lining the front of the stage for the nearly the entire set, my ear drums were so beautifully numbed by the bombardment of bass frequencies that once the music was over people talking around me started sounding like chipmunks and regular pop music playing on my speaker sounded like a thin, wispy kettle going off. Who needs any other music than Drum and Bass however.