Bristol, 27–28 May 2017
Choose life. Choose a magic rainbow. Choose a sparkly red jumpsuit and to live vicariously through good music. Choose a fantasy wedding hosted in an inflatable church by a half-naked priest, and choose a bunch of glittery people to give you away. Choose LOVE SAVES THE DAY.
The first few months of 2017 whizzed by as quickly as the ripples of water that rush out after you divebomb into a lake to celebrate the start of festival season. Love Saves the Day arrived at Eastville Park in Bristol this May Bank Holiday for a vibrant weekend of infinitely eccentric fun. 2017 marked the 6th year of the festival; the change of location from the previous Castle Park now allows for bigger lineups, a larger capacity and more quirky activities.
A medley of artists graced the fields this year. The Saturday was predominantly techno and electro while Sunday was bona fide drum ‘n’ bass. The organisers of LSTD are the same disco-ball masterminds who created the WOW! Stage at Glastonbury Festival – hence, there was no lack of awesomeness. Wandering about the festival, you’ll find entertainment in every little nook and cranny. The agenda included a roller disco, a ball pool and a bejewelled karaoke trailer.
Follow the scent of prismatic flowers and exotic belly dancers and you’ll happen across the Lost Gardens; brand spanking new, it was the low-key, get-down-and-get-tribal area of the festival. Located to the side of the main stage, Amour AMI, NYTA and X-Sherry’s all tended to the woodland stage and nurtured the Eden into full bloom.
Mura Masa played their popular, mellow love songs to everyone’s delight (Are You There? caused mass sing-a-long). If you got a little chilly, you could always walk over to the Arcadia stage, easily spotted by a tall, mystic witch’s hat, housing a DJ booth in the centre and intermittent bursts of flames heating the perimeter. It was a supernatural setup which brought with it a majestic presence. Craig Richards and Hodge performed futuristic hocus pocus on Saturday, spinning spacey tunes and breaking the laws of gravity. Friction & Linguistics and DJ Hype B2B with Hazard then got crowds gathered around the cauldron on Sunday.
In the build up to Jamie Jones’ set, the audience subsided into their own zones, however it didn’t take long for Mr Jones to raise the mood. The early spirit of summer was in the air as couples freely embraced, perhaps following the instruction of a glowing sign above the stage that read ‘Kiss me quick!’
Now, let us take you to Paradiso, where Bicep, an electronic duo from Belfast, had filled out the tent. The pair played a quality set supported by a dazzling light show that really added to the funky techno, rave feel. As the only tented section of the arena, Paradiso clearly had its very own vibe.
On entry to the site on Sunday, the grass seemed to have developed a bouncy suspension; there wasn’t a soul in sight who wasn’t jumping and jiving to the sound of drum ‘n’ bass, and this energy was infectious.
Notably bouncy was the dance-off stage. DJ Platinum and Carasel worked in harmony to cater to the crowd’s desires. Carasel, a raw MC, refers to himself as ‘Bristol’s original wig splitter’. A dub robot with a bionic eye watched over the people skanking and waving their tentacles about the place. The whole scene was set with a country bumpkin influence: a boxing ring stood in front of the stage, with hay barrels surrounding the dance floor.
Kate Tempest slowed the pace down for a minute, supplying a refreshing dose of realness. She performed tracks from her latest album, Let Them Eat Chaos, which tells a strikingly relevant and poetic story of strangers who are each fighting an individual battle between their conscious and subconscious mind. Yet, they are all united by an inner knowing that there is more to life than living within the boundaries of society’s constraints. Tempest closed her magnificent set as strongly as she started, emphasising the lyrics to her track, Europe is Lost: “What are we gonna do to wake up?”
The schedule organisers must have thought to save the best ’til last, as Fat Freddy’s Drop put on a spectacular show. The band united a multitude of people on the main stage, with an enticing saxophone trio and powerful bass instruments. Dallas Tamaira, the band’s vocalist, wore an ocean blue flowing robe which was equally as stunning as his soulful voice. A complimenting mix of funky reggae and silky dub created a psychedelic sound. Impossible not to become absorbed in their performance, it felt as if you had slipped away from the festival and entered a Fat Freddy’s Drop solo gig. They simply owned the stage and left everyone wanting more.
No lack of awesomeness here; you'll find it in every single nook and cranny. Festival highlights: Fat Freddy’s Drop