This August Bank Holiday weekend, one of London’s staple underground music festivals returned to their spiritual home of Victoria Park for the first time since 2018. Marking a new chapter in their colourful 14 year history, Field Day partnered with the critically-acclaimed event series APE Presents and became a welcome addition to the fifth All Points East Festival.
Taking place on Sunday 30th August, Field Day curated an eclectic lineup of dance music’s brightest talents and rising sensations for a day of unforgettable raving.
An artist who has slingshotted into the limelight in recent years thanks to her infectious productions and captivating playing style. The London-based selector’s performance at Field Day fully lived up to the hype.
Perfectly setting the pace of the day early on with some undeniably groovy selections such as Alan Fitzpatrick vs Patrice Rushen with “Haven’t You Heard”. The beefed up version of the 1979 classic went down a treat as the crowds packed in to the East Stage. The energy continued to build throughout her set, dipping in and out of breaks, house, disco and beyond.
Real name Paul Woolford, the anthesis to his house alias took the reins of the BBC Radio 6 X Stage with an injection of bass-driven beats, jungle and electro. Keeping the crowd’s attention glued to his action-packed set throughout, Special Request took the X stage on a rollercoaster journey.
Making a thrilling entrance with head-turning tracks such as the Old Bass System Crash Mix of DJ Nemet’s “Da Bomb”, got things off to a flying start. The buoyant rhythms bounced through the X stage with rapturous applause. Turning things up a notch as we moved further into his performance, saw some of his own raucous productions getting a spin. The likes of “Vortex 150” and “Spectral Frequency” erupted through the speakers leaving the entire stage rocking.
As one of Dubstep’s earliest pioneers, and member of acclaimed trio Magnetic Man, Artwork, real name Arthur Smith took to the West Stage for an hour of non-stop good vibes. Now known for playing eclectic house, acid, and groovy disco, Artwork raised the spirits of the day with a proper feel-good, hands in the air, and sing-a-long set.
Artwork kicked the crowd into a groove with the funky bassline of Donna Summer – “I Feel Love”, with the crowd erupting into song as the chorus came into full effect. “Gimme Gimme Gimme” by Abba, and Dan Hartman’s 1979 classic “Relight My Fire” all received the same warm reception as Artwork jumped on the mic and says “I hope you’re having a a lovely, lovely time” – we sure did!
The Aussie-born, London-based sensation was in charge of the West Stage’s penultimate performance. Known for his high tempo rave-ready productions, the Steel City Dance Discs label boss opted to ease the crowd into his set with some lo-fi house such as his iconic tune “Liverpool Street In The Rain”.
Before we knew it, the vibe began to shift in true Mall Grab style with the chaotic sounds of X Club with “Psychopath” tearing through the speakers. Keeping us on our toes throughout, the set featured a gripping concoction of releases on Steel City such as Kettama’s pumping sun-tinged hit “Higher” and his own renowned tracks such as the spell-binding “Sunflower” taken from the Looking For Trouble EP LFT005.
One of the UK’s most exciting new talents, made up of Leeds-born Harvey Blumler and Gosha Smith, headlined the North Stage for 90 minutes of electronic escapism. These guys have had a meteoric rise since Annie Mac selected their 2018 record “Prayer” as her Hottest Record In The World, and they’ve had a slew of releases on Stress Records as well as their own imprint – Rave Science.
Their set was full of uplifting melodies and rhythms which they’ve become known for in their productions. Their highest charting single “Ecstasy (Over & Over)” echoed through the speakers, filling the room with energy – which these guys certainly had behind the decks. Closing on their latest record “Want Need Love” was a special moment too – with the crowd signing along to those high notes.
Northern Irish duo Bicep are electronic producers that need no introduction. They have performed at some of the biggest events in the world, sold-out shows for their live performances, and produced some of the most popular underground anthems (some of which will never be released). This was the first headline live performance for Bicep at a major British festival, with every other stage closing before they took to the East Stage.
Bicep live is a different experience to a DJ set. They only play Bicep produced tracks, and bring incredible visuals supplied by the acclaimed company Black Box Echo. With lots of melodic interludes, custom edits of their tunes, and re-interpretations of their records, you never know what you’re going to get.
This was a standout performance from Bicep, sending uplifting melodic vibes throughout Victoria Park. Special extended edits of “Glue” and “Apricots” were stand out moments for us – with these interpretations adding a new wave of emotion. The visuals perfectly accompanied the music, with bright colours, multi colour lasers, and effects contrasting against the night sky.
Closing off the bank holiday in style, Field Day had our cheeks sore from smiling, and feet sore from dancing. The site was huge, which meant for many steps, but no sound bleeding to other stages. Despite knowing what open air London festivals are like, we would have liked to have heard clearer sound and bass in the North and X stage to give more impact to the records. Hats off to Field Day for putting on an eclectic line up and a fantastic day!