3, 2, 1, go! Leaping majestically in the air like a drug induced salmon, this man has no limitations. It’s 2pm on Saturday afternoon and his display of hopping prowess shows an athlete in peak physical and chemical conditions. But wait, here’s a competitor approaching from behind with scant regard for fair play. The crowd shudders as the two warriors come crashing to the ground, a tangle of potato bags and ill-fitting 90s tracksuits. Our man’s not for beating though, not when we’re only two hours into a gloriously sunny Field Day 2015. Showing great strength, the Samson-haired hulk pulls himself to his feet and with two final leaps bundles over the finish line.
I didn’t envision my first few minutes of field day being spent watching a sack race, but as I high five our victor during his lap on honor, I thought it best to leave any further preconceptions at the door. The gleeful nature the sack race participants embraced was probably a good attribute to remember over the next 48 hours.
Field Day 2015 hosted an eclectic line-up, with a blend of up and coming acts and cult favourites making it the festival of choice for certain music aficionados. What soon became evident was that if the current act you were watching didn’t tickle your senses, there would probably be one round the corner that did. Saturday’s bill leaned more towards electronica with Caribou closing the Eat Your Own Ears main stage after a spirited day of festival revelry. They might not have packed quite the punch that some of the crowd were hoping for, but his all white-clad band provided an atmospheric ending as the daylight faded on Victoria Park.
Earlier that afternoon, Kindness enjoyed a large crowd for some funk/disco action in the sun, while Clark played a live DJ set, turning the tiny Bugged Out tent into a mid-afternoon rave. Fresh from the release of their second album, Born Under Saturn, Django Django were in celebratory mood for their evening set – and like all great parties – brought along the balloons. During their penultimate song, the four-piece released giant multi-coloured balloons into the baying audience. Looking a bit like a sea of discarded yoga balls, the strong winds sadly meant they disappeared all too quickly over the festival fences – to be enjoyed by Sunday’s dog walkers rather than the crowd. Gusts aside, it topped off a great set as the band blended new and old songs to great effect – topped by the dancefloor friendly Default.
At times on the sold out Saturday it felt like the park was creaking under the weight of visitors with the bars and food stalls overrun at many points throughout the day. Sunday was noticeably quieter however and probably resembled the village atmosphere that the festival aspires too while still keeping its buzz.
If Saturday was the hyper younger brother who’s eaten a whole bag of Haribo Sours, then Sunday was the older sibling who prefers to discuss his record collection over real ale and crumpets. Grunge-inspired Diiv brought some mid-afternoon crowds to the main stage, although despite naming themselves after a Nirvana song sounded more like Billy Idol than the spirit of Kurt. Later on Matthew E White did his best to entice the crowd with his intricate ballads, but a combination of his whispered vocals and poor sound levels meant the audience struggled to connect. By sheer volume alone, Gaz Coombes did a better job afterwards and unleashed a noise onslaught on the crowd – with a set heavy from latest album Matador.
On a day dominated by rock acts, it was Patti Smith who took home the plaudits playing a triumphant set of her classic album Horses. Showing the younger acts how’s it’s done, she provided a powerful and passionate performance that proved her lasting legacy as a rock and roll icon. As the sun dipped, the fuzzy drone of Ride made sure that the crowd went home with ringing ears and smiling faces. Next year’s sack races have a lot to live up, but until then Field Day can proudly look back on another eclectic, entertaining and energetic festival weekend