Field Day

A little field can grow good corn says the screen print art slogan on the twirly washing line in the village fete field. East London’s coolest boys and girls sit on bails of hay in their colourful plastic shades and short jeans, discussing the day’s timetable and whether to enter the boys vs girls tug of war or go for a cup cake and a cup of tea in the Independent tent.

This is Field Day, a day festival in a park, not a field, with enough nerdy twiddles and thoughtful young men to fill a trainspotter’s little red book to overflowing.

Actually, the crowd in Victoria Park are less nerdy than expected, the sun is out, intermittently, the shades are on and the day ahead looks fabulous so most crack open a can, spark up and get on with the traditional festival pursuits of wandering from one big to tent to another in search of the next thrill, phoning mates to find out if they are having a better time than you and taking pictures of each other making shapes with that distinctive photo face that only ever comes out when there’s a lens pointed at it.

On to the music and the highlights for me were, in order of strength of emotional impact:

Atlas Sound in the Adventures In The Beetroot Field tent, one man, a guitar and a box of pedals making an extraordinary sound with delay and layers of beats and vocals. He’s long and gangly and incredibly geeky but the voice is beautiful and the looped vocals hit home – what do you want to be when you grow up?

Caribou, on the main stage, perhaps not as powerful as expected, losing the impact of the album by playing with a quite traditional live line-up, drum, bass, guitar, keyboards; a little lost in the bright sunlight on the big stage without a band front man to take the focus of all those eyes; but redeemed by a stellar version of Sun, surely the tune of the summer.

Phoenix, on the main stage, so tight, so tuneful, a proper band for a festival, being brave and playing everything from the last album.

The Fall, Mark E Smith owning the stage, with total disdain for the audience and his band, turning down the guitarist half way through a song, looking like the scary, angry old man he has always sounded like, he’s still got that edgy energy and twisted verve that characterised music of the late 70s, and so much character and personality. Love them or hate them The Fall are unmistakable, the dude is a legend and it’s great to have seen an incarnation of his band. Silver Apples, one man and some crazy synths, like some crackpot professor doing karaoke in a parallel universe, it’s crazy and compelling.

Ramadanman on the main stage, even though he was too quiet and hidden in the corner.

And some boys with hoodies and laptops and some others with decks, arms aloft, doing what DJs do. Some we’re good, some not so good. Many hard to distinguish without a programme to hand. Overall though, the Field Day was a real winner, sun, dust, great music, friendly folk; I’ll definitely be doing this one again.