After the inaugural edition last year, Hospitality in the Park returned, and with 12,000 tickets sold anticipation filled the air to see how the event, set up by Hospital Records, was going to progress into more of a spectacular show.
With eight arenas there was a concerted effort to provide an impressive representation of the whole DnB spectrum. As London was treated to some untypically warm weather for this time of year festival goers couldn’t escape the heat under cover as King of the Rollers sent the Invaderz tent into a frenzy with a plethora of funky basslines. Even though it was still early in the afternoon there was already an unrivalled craziness about the crowds, as a sea of inflatable giraffes were wafted about in the air.
The atypical atmosphere at a festival usually offers a paradigm shift from reality and this event, situated in Finsbury Park, was no different with all kinds of quirky structures, like the Med School Warehouse.
Stepping away from the hustle and bustle of the festival grounds into this dark and murky building provided a refreshing shock to the system as some of the finest liquid acts, including LSB, Whiney and Calibre, changed the pace. Being presented with the opportunity to sample all the different nuances within the DnB world was a real treat.
Walking around the various stages you couldn’t escape the sense of overwhelming appreciation that some of the world’s biggest names in drum and bass were all in one place. All around faces were littered with beaming smiles, The Prototypes making no mistake in maintaining the most seismic and soul shattering soundtrack as the sun started to set.
The unique selection of artists curated to play the Hospitality tent meant it was almost impossible not to salivate profusely when the set times were first released. Bringing together DnB heavyweights like S.P.Y alongside the likes of Mat Zo, who is renowned for making house music but has recently established an alter-ego alias called MRSA, wouldn’t look out of place as a couple of headline acts. The fact that these two played near the start of the event gave a crystal-clear reflection of just how enormous the roster was.
Carrying on the theme of uniqueness, Hospital’s head honcho London Elektricity and his big band provided a breath-taking live performance, reuniting with old friend and vocalist Liane Carroll once more to spectacular effect. Last year this act had performed for the first time ever and after playing a magical debut show they assembled once more, offering a tantalizing interpretation of various DnB classics as well as other iconic numbers.
Witnessing DJs showcase their talents at blending music is always a joy but when a genre is portrayed in such an alternative fashion it also prompts immense jubilation and wonder. The jam-packed tent and the way in which the whole crowd were captivated by every verse was a really honest reflection of just how well received the act was.
Immediately afterwards it was the turn of Fred V & Grafix to showcase their brand new live show for just the third time, after an intimate set in Bristol and a first festival offering at Lockdown.
The duo have always strived to share their sound through intricate musical instrumentation and so deciding to enter the world of live performing seemed like an exciting inevitability. Despite some unfortunate technical difficulties the pair still managed to produce a performance of mesmeric proportions, demonstrating just how talented they are, as Fred V showed off his soothing vocal talents. Often it is hard to comprehend how artists only receive an hour to showcase their creative endeavours but to be left with just 45 minutes, owing to circumstances out of their control, and still cause mass hysteria was awe-inspiring.
As the event drew to a close there was no let up in the seriously gargantuan clashes. My Nu Leng were ready to bring a raucous conclusion to proceedings in the FabricLive tent whilst DBridge and Calibre joined forces to honour the late Marcus Intalex, evoking a waterfall of emotion.
This may have been just the second edition but the time and effort spent on the design, curation of artists and developing the festival’s identity certainly paid off with a wondrous celebration of all things DnB.
Photos courtesy of Hospitality