Seven summers ago, Field Day Festival launched its yearly tradition of bringing a thrilling array of new music to east London. Taking place in the city’s Victoria Park, Field Day Festival is one long party that attracts the most discerning minds in music. Curated by London tastemakers Eat Your Own Ears, its line-up has one foot in the dingy, sweatbox venues where the best new bands emerge and the other in the clubs that are home to progressive electronic acts and DJs.
Consistently ahead of the curve, each consecutive Field Day Festival carries the sense that if you miss it, you really will miss out. For Field Day 2014, the festival is spread over two days for the first time. Metronomy top a bill including Warpaint, Todd Terje, Jamie xx and Sky Ferreira on Saturday 7th June. On Sunday 8th the Pixies will play a headline set on the guitar-oriented second day which also features The Horrors, Future Islands, Pond and Temples. With a tantalising mix of heavyweight and fledgling talent, Field Day 2014 celebrates the festival’s remarkable and rapid growth.
2007’s inaugural Field Day Festival laid the foundations for it to become the festival The Guardian wrote has “the most cutting-edge line-up of the festival calendar”. More than 50 acts played across four stages as Field Day quickly established that it would attract the artists the industry salivated over most. Four Tet, Caribou, Florence & The Machine, Foals, Laura Marling all played. The following year Foals returned to headline and the event’s capacity was increased to 10,000. Scottish heroes Mogwai brought their brooding darkness for a headline set in 2009. Alongside them were a relatively unknown Jon Hopkins, indie stars The Horrors and The Temper Trap as well as a nascent The xx, who played on the tiny Bloggers Delight stage.
The names Field Day could attract were fast-establishing its reputation among music’s cognoscenti. French disco kings Phoenix closed out Field Day 2010. With the festival having grown again, Anna Calvi, Mount Kimbie, Hudson Mohawke and Gold Panda appeared across six stages. Field Day secured the year’s most-sought after acts in 2011 as Warpaint, James Blake, SBTRKT and Jamie xx all performed. The rest of the line-up was full of original and forward-thinking talent. A trip to the Village Mentality tent was rewarded with riveting sets from Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti and Factory Floor, while Twin Shadow, Connan Mockasin and the returning Horrors rocked the Laneway Festival stage. 2012 saw a rising Jessie Ware perform in a rammed (and tiny) Red Bull Music Academy tent. Franz Ferdinand headlined with a memorable hit-packed set after producers Julio Bashmore and Blawan, Canadian singer Grimes provided afternoon and early evening highlights. US indie stalwarts Mazzy Star also played a much-anticipated slot. Last year’s headliners Disclosure and Animal Collective proved the perfect precursor to Field Day’s move to become a two-day event in 2014.
Scattered between Field Day’s stages is a quiet and welcoming world. Time between the acts at Field Day is spent sampling its Village Mentality. Celebrating the homely British tradition of the village fête, this enchanting area offers activities including a Wild Goose Chase, Cocoanut Shy, Finders Keepers, Tug Of War, Tombola and Sack Race. Look out for the traditional bandstand and fairground rides too. Around the good-spirited games is a selection of the tastiest food and drink available in London. Field Day approaches this with the same attitude with which it books artists, so expect the latest street food vendors, trendy pop ups and barrel after barrel of craft beer.
With all this and more on offer, Field Day promises to be a highlight of the summer once again. Of course, the addition of a second day puts the acts playing on Sunday into sharp focus. The Pixies will show the Field Day crowd what life without Kim Deal is like when they play new material from their recent album ‘Indie Cindy’. The Horrors have just released their fourth LP, ‘Luminous’ and are in the process of dreaming up intense and exhilarating ways to bring its songs to life for their select festival slots this summer. Also on Sunday, 4AD’s Future Islands will offer emotional guitar pop and eccentric body-popping, while Sheffield twosome Drenge will bring feral riffs. On Saturday, headliners Metronomy, who dazzled Field Day in 2012, will celebrate this year’s ‘Love Letters’ album. Dev Hynes, another familiar Field Day name, will offer up the sexy pop of his Blood Orange project, while slots from Neneh Cherry and Australian baggy aficionados Jagwar Ma both promise to be highlights. Field Day 2014 is looking as unmissable as ever.
Words by Ben Homewood
Images courtesy of Field Day and Carolina Faruolo.