“There’s no better feeling than being in the dance with your best mates and hearing a sick bassline drop. Nothing better in the world…”
Not our words; they’re the words of a buzzy young random from Bristol. He’s on his second ever rave and he’s decided to park his arse by us on some hay bales at the end of the night as we enjoy a last beer of the day and watch the happy Hospitalites bounce home through the gates. They’re walking like our new friend is talking. Situation? Vibey.
It’s been this way since the gates opened almost 12 hours ago: friendliness and positivity. It’s exactly what you should expect from any decent festival but there seemed to be an extra air of unity at this year’s Hospitality In The Park. This was potentially down to a combination of things…
The inclement weather; the fact that it’s the last festival of the season so everyone’s squeezing the most they can out of it; the fact the line-up covered every shape and flavour of bass imaginable; the fact that London knows how to pull together and thrust its middle finger in the face of adversity whether that’s the ongoing threat of terrorist attacks or the removal of Uber’s licence. Whatever the delicate combination of factors was; the balance was precision maintained throughout the day as Finsbury Park turned into one en-mass grin. Like a great big in-joke that everyone was sharing, you could turn in any direction and grin at your raving neighbour and know you’d get the same knowing smirk back.
Tldr: Hospitality In The Park 2017 was a buzz. And everyone knew it. Well, almost everyone. The buzzy Bristol boy was pretty much spot on; the only thing better than being in the dance with your mates and hearing a sick bassline drop is when you’re in the dance with thousands of other like-minded groups of mates and knowing they’re on the same trip, too.
Biggup Hospitality and everyone in attendance. Here are four of the many things that helped to make the festival so memorable.
Photo credits: Alex Mead (Decoy Media), Augustini Creative
The main critique of last year’s inaugural Hospitality In The Park were the low sound levels. An inner city festival is never going to be the loudest of events but it’s clear that by playing by the rules last year paid off as this year’s event had crystal clear sound and decent volume in every tent.
Everyone played a blinder. Everyone.
This is should be a given, but at some festivals it does feel like DJs are just rinsing out the bangers to keep the great unwashed happy. Not here, though. Just like other killer bass specialist festivals such as Let It Roll, Liquicity and Nu Forms, every DJ on the line-up knew they had a crowd in front of them who properly know their beats and would lap up anything they played. There was no pandering to the lowest common denominator or feeling like they had to keep the crowd on-side, every DJ dug deep and drew for their finest to crowds who knew what they wanted…. From the darkroom club-like Med School tent (which was so busy there was a constant queue to get in there) to light and airy Invaderz tent which throbbed like a jump-up beacon slap bang in the centre of the festival, the dialogue between the dancefloor and the DJ was tangible and alive.
The Hospitality tent in particular was loaded with epic moments such as live performances from Roni Size, The London Elektricity Big Band and Fred V & Grafix and an insane historical showdown as Krakota and Stamina MC deconstructed the NHS back catalogue in a 21 Years Of Hospital set. Elsewhere Clipz lived up to the comeback hype with an incredible fusion that cleverly sat between jungle, jump-up, soulful, savage, old and new in a mind-blowing way, Skepsis battered us with an endless slew of bassline hurters and TC and Metrik’s closing down the mainstage with nitro-powered b2b oblivion.
Let It Roll
Galvanising the sense of unity in drum & bass right now, D&B motherfest Let It Roll hosted a stage and imported a strong sense of Czech badness to the event. One of the most riotous arena of the day, Let It Roll provided heavyweight heaven as the likes of Audio, Break, The Prototypes, The Upbeats, Calyx & Teebee and Black Sun Empire all shelled the north London park throughout the day. Break in particular went in heavily and reminded the elbow-room only tent just why he’s so respected. Stripping the vibe right back to bare drums and building it up again, the Symmetry bossman went beyond the call of duty.
It’s not all drum & bass… A healthy balance of flavours and tempos was brewed all day from arena-to-arena and a generous helping of dubstep could be felt throughout. Stirring up memories of a time when dubstep was the dominant sound of the capital’s club landscape, the deep enveloping rumbles and sub frequencies of 140 music could be felt throughout the day; Caspa absolutely shelled the hell out of the Fabriclive arena with a bouncy range of 2007-style halftime swagger and new Vibration Series cuts while the toxic frequency fusion emanating from the Deep Medi tent was on-point throughout. Mala’s closing set was especially on point as he flipped through his signature kaleidoscope and brought his label’s tent to close with several rewinds of Joker’s latest scorcher; the fittingly titled Mad Night. It was a pretty mad day to be fair, too… And plenty more to come. Hospitality In The Dock 2018 has just been confirmed for March 30 next year. See you there.