Hospitality in the Park exceeded expectations by a mile, I’m still buzzing off the atmosphere of the day. Setting the bar very high at the end of the festival season, read on as we recall a day of unity, bangers and massive vibes.

It’s 12:20pm under London’s clouded skies and rain is steadily spitting as Matt and I exit Finsbury Park station. I go to whip out Google Maps to find our destination, “just follow all the people that look like they’re going to a festival,” says Matt. Logical thinking was going to take a while to kick into my hazy mind, why didn’t I think of that? Finsbury Park is pretty much two ticks away from the station, making it the easiest festival to get to from transport that I’ve ever been to! By the time we’d queued up and gone through security, King of the Rollers were already kicking up a storm…

IT’S ALL KICKING OFF….

Finding our way into the main tent was easily done as large white ‘HOSPITALITY’ letters and “Share The Love” flags guided the way. Making our way into the main arena, it was all well underway. It’s never too early to have a good skank to some face-cringing d’n’b; King of the Rollers and Inja had the tent rowdy and full to the brim! What a way to get right stuck in to what was about to be a massive day.

After heavily limbering up, we decided to have a little wander around the site. The festival had an array of places to sit and chill, although the English weather had punished their generosity and the butts of anyone that weren’t bothered. It was an interesting set up with just another space to wander freely and not too much to get lost in. Every tent we walked past with thumping making the decision of the next adventure harder. The Run-Vaderz tent was unadulterated, beautiful chaos. With the bar at the end of the tent, getting a drink there turned it into a game of ‘dodge a flying drink’, and words of ‘fuck off’ accompanied the relentless, brain crunching sounds of jump up. Remembering Halogenix was on soon, we made our way to his set

We’d written a review on Halogenix’s LP Deep News on Critical Music back in June, so it was only right to see what he delivers live. The visuals and stage at L.I.R was brilliant, set up to look like a portal and it definitely felt like I’d been transported during his set. The setting couldn’t be more on point with the dark and bionic rollers accompanied by the mind-warping backdrop. We were in our element and the atmosphere couldn’t be more electrifying.

D’N’B HISTORY LESSONS…

A quick detour into the Outlook tent allowed us wind down for a moment as the flawless and intellectual bars of Children of Zeus helped us along the way. However this watch an itch that needed to be skanked off and the sounds of Logistics was a drawing force not to be reckoned with. Skanking the way back into the Hospitality tent (briefly diverted on the way by a lovely group of lads that mistook one of us for their mate), the crowd as going bonkers and it didn’t take long to hear why. The arena could’ve easily erupted an earthquake; Hospital Records’ Logistics accompanied by Wrec MC was a ride of sing-a-longs and stinkers. Aptly followed up by Hugh Hardie and Wrec again. Phwoar that was a set that left me speechless! The energy was well-balanced, MC’ing by Wrec was the perfect amount of hype and every fellow raver was on the same level. It was all a perfect combination.

LTJ Bukem’s set was looming in the Med School tent, tucked in a maze with a warehouse looking building with the words ‘London Warehouse and Co.’ spray painted above the entrance. As I made my way through the walkway, it lead round and opened up into an absolute sweatbox. The more I made my way to the front, the hotter it got but I was hell-bent on being given a drum and bass history lesson by the man himself. I managed to catch Lenzman’s final tracks as Bukem set up his kit which was a nice transition of liquid drum and bass. GQ did a brilliant job of prepping the packed out tent for the storm that was about to unknowingly hit us, and then it happened. No warning was needed as LTJ came out the gates guns blazing, my ears blessed with a slap of spine-tingling, punchy rolling Jungle snares. There was no holding back as the whole place exploded in a cheer of approval and limbs uncaringly flew everywhere.

I can’t recall a single moment of slowing down during Bukem’s set and he definitely lived up to all my expectations, making his set my favourite of the day through and through.

LET IT F***IN’ ROLL

After a trip to the bar and a few sips of Hospital’s signature ale (if you’re adventures with drinks of just like ale, try it it’s not bad at all), Let It Roll had sorted out the brief issues with the subs and the carnage was back underway. Full spectrum on the bassface scale, the tent was absolutely booming with razor sharp synths and k-hole awakening rolling percussion. There was absolutely no hiding away from the sounds of Mefjus B2B Calyx & Ceebee.

Their b2b was nothing short of exhilarating and the visuals aided the experience so well. The wildest of skanks made an appearance on the floor, a fully engrossed crowd under the control of complete mastery.

Just when I thought the obliteration was done; Alix Perez, Monty and mc SPC took to the stage. More than ready for round two, the 1985 showcase definitely did not disappoint. I was taken aback by the sheer precision of mixing, combination of tracks and overall flawlessness delivered by the 1985 crew. Absolute scenes were taking place in the L.I.R tent and I knew it was far from over, and I was to be making a return to watch Noisia headline later.

LIVE MUSIC WITH A TWIST

I love walking out of a tent to witness the darkness fall across a festival; the lights come on and the vibe changes. We know it’s almost winding to an end, yet there’s still so much more to come. It’d been a savage day so far, my back was caving in but the skanking was not done. I still had a little something left in me, so I decided to have a wind-down.

One thing I really took to about Hospitality was the live bands they’d had play previous years, so I made it a must to make sure I checked out a live set on the day. I managed to catch a good bit of High Contrast and it was an outstanding performance. With a set up of the man himself on keys; guitarist, drums, trumpeter and singers, the sound coming from the Hospitality tent was grand. From their drum and bass rendition of old school house tunes, to goosebump inducing high notes and buildups, High Contrast executed every song on the setlist. I had a lovely dance with a few ravers and exchanged drowned out words. The day was coming to it’s grand finale, so I enjoyed the rest of H.C’s set and headed back to the Med School tent to take advantage of the makeshift stage benches.

HOSPITALITY IN THE PARK ‘19 THEN?

As I was hoping my sitting arrangement would magically ease my aching back, I managed to exchange less inaudible words with festival-goers whilst waiting for the night to be topped up with a headliner set from Noisia. Danny Byrd was to rock the main tent in a clash but I knew I had to see the Dutch masterminds when the opportunity arose. DBridge and Nu: Tone had taken to the stage and were keeping us all in high spirits, experimenting with genres in an interesting set. It was a vibe that sealed off a successful day of talent and hard-work and notable messages of communion, love and unification. Not once was a bad notion stirred, or a cautious look exchanged. Just pure wide-eyed fun and love for the scene.

I decided I’d recharged with enough energy to drag my way through the sludgy mud towards the Let It Roll tent for Noisia. As expected, it was a full-house with eager ravers spilling out of the sides, trying to squeeze their way past to get a better view. Not deterred by the situation, I dug my way in and created enough space for myself due to the help of a few absolutely dirty drops. Martijn was representing the trio with Master X doing a tremendous job of MC’ing; not too long into the set I’d completely forgotten about my earlier back issues. There was no sign of caving in now, the variety of music was too hot. Hitting all areas of harder electronic music, any neuro to breakbeat fan would’ve appreciated the bass churning, high frequency grinding symphony of merciless sounds coming from a fat soundsystem.

In true festival style, Noisia signed off his set with ‘Dead Limit’ mixed in with Hazard’s ‘Mr. Happy’, granting all the hopefuls their wish for the night. It was a brilliant moment, considering how many times I’d heard the mashup by now, and I couldn’t help but get carried away in the moment and chant my lungs off.


Hospitality In The Park was more than a success, drawing in 12,000 ravers all dancing come rain or shine, friendly faces were everywhere you turned and good music wasn’t too far with every step either. Next year isn’t even a question, come rain or shine it wouldn’t matter. As the last festival of the season, it was a great way to sign off what has been a great summer for the London-based drum and bass label, Hospital Records.

Thanks to Hospital Records for a splendid festival; gathering the best of the best for some unforgettable sets, the crew in charge of the sound and visuals too. Not to forget all the acts that made Saturday one to remember.

 

Author

Drum'n'Bass head and student from Somerset, currently based in Manchester. Lover of all things 174.

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