Festival review: Field Day
06:20 12 June 2014
Field Day has always had something of a split personality; mixing as it does cutting edge music (and haircuts) with an atmosphere akin to that of a village fete.
This year, its expansion into two days opened up another interesting duality, as the dance-heavy intensity of Saturday sat alongside a Sunday afternoon of lazing in the sun.
More established and with an overflowing amount of new talent over five tents, Saturday clearly drew the bigger crowd, some of whom wisely gambled on the morning’s early thunderstorms.
The weather quickly broke into clear blue skies and the warm vibes passed down across the sizable space in Victoria Park; evident not least in the 50 man tug-of-war games playing out amongst hay bales in the village circle.
Dev Hynes’ Blood Orange shone early on the main stage with a typically cool performance, while the crowd began to swell once Warpaint appeared to treat audiences to their moody, yet surprisingly danceable, Californian indie – which encompassed a rapturously received cover of David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes. Elsewhere, energy levels were sent through the roof in the Crack Magazine tent by Jagwar Ma, who barely let up through any of their half-instrumental, half-DJed barnstorming electro-dance tunes.
As night came, audiences were split particularly between SBTRKT’s collaborator-heavy show in the Bugged Out tent and Metronomy on the main stage.
The latter though, making their headline debut, were resplendent in matching white suits with their new breed of clarified pop. Frontman Joe Mount at the very least seemed moved by the occasion, saying: “I hope you’re finding this night as special as we are. I’m sure you are.”
Perhaps the dance/trance nature of Saturday’s lineup had zonked festival-goers into states of exhaustion, but Sunday had a noticeably calmer vibe. This was aided no doubt by a more psychedelic, indie bill, as sun-creamed bodies lay relaxing on the grass to the tripped out noise-pop of Pond, Temples and the Horrors. That’s not to say there was no mayhem however; in the Shacklewell Arms tent specifically, hard rock duo Drenge sent the crowd spinning into a muddy, moshpitted frenzy.
Moreso than Saturday however, much of the second day felt like a build up to the headline act.
The Pixies took to the main stage around nine to what must have a been a record crowd for Field Day. The iconic ‘80s underdogs blasted through what at times felt like a greatest hits set, with songs like Debaser and Here Comes Your Man sending all ages into universal delirium between a smattering of well-received new material. Talk was cheap from singer Black Francis and co, but in a way that summed up the whole ethos of Field Day; a weekend that put the music above anything else.