Festival: Love Saves The Day
Date: 23-24th May, 2015
For the last three years I’ve spent my birthday weekend revising manically and sulking at missing out one of the West Country’s most loved festivals. The opportunity to attend this year’s Love Saves The Day now that I’m finished with University and free from an inconvenient exam timetable was therefore one I seized with both hands. A festival’s fourth outing is quite often make or break, and considering that this year LSTD was taking on a considerably bigger venue and number of acts there really was a lot at stake.
However, with the sun shining and a lineup of electronic artists completely unprecedented in Bristol, the stage was quite literally set for what promised to be a cracking weekend, and here’s how it went…
Having spent our morning and early afternoon enjoying a boozy, sun-soaked brunch in Bristol we reached Fishponds and Eastville Park by around three o’clock. Getting in to the arena was relatively hassle-free, with fast-paced queues and plenty of attendants directing people. With a total of nine stages on offer as well as countless other distractions including a pillow Jacuzzi and an inflatable church we really were spoilt for choice, and spent 20 minutes carefully building our itinerary while making a number of rather unpleasant sacrifices.
The day’s early acts were in full swing, and after savouring the closing moments of the sensational K15 we made our way over to Futureboogie’s Apocalypso where Maxxi Soundsystem was taking over from Session Victim. This is where the weekend really kicked off for us and many others, the Brighton native delivering his funky brand of house while the temperature soared up to 22 degrees. At this point, it was clear festival season had arrived, and spirits were about to get even higher as Leon Vynehall prepared to take the reins.
Having been a huge fan of Leon Vynehall since his early Laszlo Dancehall days, the chance to see him perform solo was one I was massively looking forward to. He’s a producer known for his eclectic taste and wide range of influences, and you could see why as he plied his trade for 90 minutes in the scorching South-West heat. Dipping in and out of disco, house, funk and elements of hip-hop before rounding things off with It’s Just (House Of Dupree), it was an experience I don’t think anyone will be forgetting in a hurry.
While the sun set the mood continued to rise, and crowds from all over began the obligatory flock over to the main stage where Groove Armada were just about to tag in Julio Bashmore. Playing in front of his home crowd at a festival run by a lot of the people who made it happen for him in the first place, you could see this performance meant a lot to him. His set was an hour and a quarter of trademark swashbuckling house cuts including Broke in the BX by The Martinez Brothers, an old time favourite of mine that I first heard back in 2012 in one of JB’s Radio 1 shows.
As Jessie Ware took over the main stage duty a number of dance music’s heavyweights prepared to round of proceedings elsewhere, with Tale Of Us, Artwork, Gorgon City and AME all on display. 11 pm and the close of play approached, and although we were buzzing from what had been an incredible day we decided to head back to the flat and recuperate for round two.
After a solid seven hour sleep, a greasy breakfast and plenty of coffee we were rearing to go again. Although the full Sunday lineup was less inclined towards our taste there were still an excess of artists we were dying to see, and we duly made our way over to Fishponds on the LSTD-run Love Bus from Temple Meads.
First up was the BUMP Roller Disco, where Bristol native and Futureboogie regular Christophe delivered the funk to a crowd trying desperately to stay on their four-wheeled feet. An hour later we had the hang of it, and were busy racing around the track to the sound of Lee Pattison until we realised just how long we’d been there.
As the temperature soared the outdoor stages benefitted more and more, David Rodigan attracting what must have been one of the biggest crowds of the weekend outside the main stage. After soaking up some of the spirit we made our way over to Cocktails and Dreams, where Cardiff party-crew TEAK were dishing out a musical education to a small yet buzzing crowd. Following them were Stamp The Wax Residents, who continued the good vibes into the early evening where things were about to get a whole lot more serious.
After a quick feed and a sit down we followed the masses over to the Paradiso, where Floating Points into Daniel Avery and then Four Tet presented undoubtedly the most exciting prospect of the whole weekend. The sound inside LSTD’s largest tent was unreasonably good, and within minutes of Daniel Avery taking over from Floating Points the crowd was bursting out the Paradiso’s brims.
Avery’s steely techno was certainly a contrast from the sun-kissed disco vibes of outside, but the kick drum quickly worked its magic and had the crowd locked in for hours on end. After an hour and a half of ruthless four to the floor grooves Four Tet delivered a majestic closing set that quite literally left people speechless.
Despite having nothing planned for after we were disappointed not carrying on the night before, and therefore decided to make our way over to Stokes Croft to see what we could find. Before we knew it we were outside Wilder Studios, a small space where Stamp The Wax were throwing a nice little BYOB after party. Feeling pretty chuffed we stumbled in, not realising that Voyage Recordings main man Harvey Sutherland would soon be rocking up to deliver a one of the most intimate and magical live sets we’d ever seen – I couldn’t have asked for a better way to turn 22.
Needless to say, Love Saves The Day exceeded all my expectations. What intimacy may have been lost in the transition from Castle to Eastville Park was more than made up for in outstanding performances, wonderful detail and a West Country sense of community that you just can’t get anywhere else. It’s very rare these that you can go to a music festival without at some point getting pissed off at the crowd, technical delivery or ridiculous queueing times, but everything just came together perfectly over the two days.
Massive props to everyone involved, already looking forward to next year.
Words by Jamie Kenyon