originally posted: http://www.festivalforyou.com/reviews/2016/we-are-fstvl
We Are Fstvl came, saw and conquered this bank holiday; with energy consistently high, I was dazzled by the love and happiness that erupted as I began my journey from West Ham’s tube station, aboard Upminster’s shuttle buses, seamlessly covering Damyns Hall Aerodrome like a blanket and carried me home sweet and sound in the early hours.
A festival jungle, myself, my wingman and new recruits (I did warn you in the preview that you’d leave having made a set of new friends) weaved our way through giant lettering, climbed under abandoned airplanes and cargo and mingled with other excitable people, which lead us to Philip George on the main stage who gushed about the festival that it “gives me goosebumps inside knowing people vibe to my music like this,” as he entertained crowds with his addictive dance featuring cosmic sounding segments. The ever popular Amine Edge & Dance whizzed crowds into a frenzy; known for their slick remixes and with an injection of hip hop, the French duo kept fans focused with huge drops. With enough tents to keep ravers occupied it wasn’t surprising it was a muggy affair in some, with a stellar line up in UKF you were lucky to get a look in but I was fortunate enough to experience My Nu Leng spinning classic garage, causing the tent to drip… the heat was on! MCs were an added bonus as the arena jumped about ecstatically when reminded of vintage tracks. DJ SKT sent revellers wild when he rocked up with cavemen and cavewomen in tow, seemingly dropping tracks with jungle like elements, as well as his current remix of Bell Biv Devoe’s ‘Poison.’ Then came the swap, Norwich duo Sigma set about getting hands in the air and caused crowds to sway in solidarity to some of their most desired hits, including ‘Changing’ and ‘Redemption.’ They quite easily could have closed the evening but it was still very much early days on day one of We Are Fstvl. Rumour had it in the aptly named tent that Bill Patrick was dipping adoring fans in nu romantic electro. Ok, it was no rumour, as he transported us heat worshippers to the white isles; alongside Patrick the Rumour tent welcomed music muncher Eats Everything and Guy Gerber. Back at UKF Monki rolled back time with Detroit mash ups to 90s deep house and current day grime numbers. Bringing the day’s shenanigans to a close were DJ Fresh & Fatboy Slim, who beat crowds into submission on the main stage. With die-hard revellers still bouncing around, they laced their own loved up hits with 21st century belters under a stream of ribbons, a rainbow of pyrotechnics and an explosion of fireworks. We wouldn’t be shocked if a quarter of the festival’s weekend attendees copped out of coming the next day, as I got wind of friends that physically couldn’t handle another day of musical debauchery.
Day 2 and Upminster had again became a torrent of glitter, empty balloons and near earth-shattering bass as we approached the site but Festival For You was made for this life, so with grit and determination we were ready. Queueing up for more loot (that’s tokens to those who are picturing me in pirate gear) we gained speed for the day’s antics but agonisingly missed man of the moment Craig David’s TS5. Alas spirits were lifted as we heard a West London twang, a voice that rang a bell instantly as the realisation that Kurupt FM’s MC Grindah was taking the reins to get crowds hyper. Working the field like snake charmers, showing off some moves that Sean Paul would would be proud of, but ultimately making people scream as banger after banger scratched, they were without a doubt my act of the day. It’s a lot to impress people with an extensive garage discography but to also have people hunched up laughing, well that was a bonus. As we sashayed away Mistajam and General Levy ensured the energy refused to waver, and off we went to track down a handful of Sunday’s bulky line up. Inside the Cocoon arena we experienced Richie Hawtin who lifted the room with his ambient house and techno, whilst Sven Vath shut the house down with his Ibiza trance. For those who were struggling to know when one song finished and the other began, there was Disciples who alternated between their hits like ‘How Deep is Your Love?’ and other head bopping and arm elevating tracks. As darkness and the chill reminded us that the day would soon be over, I headed over to what would be the closest bit of Paradise as Marco Carola traded places with Jamie Jones to see Sunday out. With the tent packed to capacity, lights flickering and dancers swaying on stage, this really was the DC:10 of Upminster, as he slipped through some of the most hypnotic deep house and techno of the day. Shuffling out of the tent around 11pm I had to admit defeat, force myself out of my new community of friends or attempt to find refuge in the ancient realms of We Are Fstvl.
The weekend could only be described as euphoric. Sure a lot of people (including myself) weren’t sure who they were listening to half the time but the people you met along the way and the joint exhilaration was something that money couldn’t buy. So having recovered by Monday evening, we were amped to learn that tickets for 2017 would be on sale very shortly. Keep your eyes peeled here.
Gutted you missed out? Then click here to go through to We Are Fstvl’s Facebook page where they’ll be sharing a recap of the weekends most magical moments
Written By Vanessa Carby