Sunday at Field Day 2016 offered the usual set up: eight stages including a band stand. Unfortunately the day was marked by scattered, heavy downpours of rain and the soil was pretty muddy from the previous day, so all the outdoor activities, including the team games organized by Village Mentality on the so-called Village Green were jeopardised. Not sure many people actually missed those games, but the rain definitely made the day a bit more uncomfortable for the lack of dry places were to sit and have some rest.
The offer of drinks and especially world food was quite varied, including healthy choices, but not many places for lounging in a dry environment were offered, apart from the VIP area. I personally think this could be improved especially as punters are not allowed to bring any drinks and food on site ...and cans of Red Stripe beer are charged £5 each, pretty greedy!
The result was a continuous flux of people walking in the mud from one tented stage to the other, and with six tented stages offering music at the same time there was a lot to walk!
The Shaklewell Arms' tent offered an interesting selection of bands along the lines of the music offered at the homonymous pub in Hackney.
A lot of energetic rock bands including Blossoms with their psychedelic indie pop, and Goat. Goat entered the stage dressed with shamanic robes and masks, giving high expectations with their inspired dancing, but apart from being visually extravagant, their show was not that surprising musically.
Moon Duo did not bother dressing up and kept the stage dressing absolutely minimal but offered a deeply meditative and shamanic sound, a great introduction to P J Harvey's show, who played soon after, on the main stage just next to them. Moon Duo played in the Moth Club's tent, which was organized by the fairly new venue of the same name, again, in Hackney, and again set up by Lanzarote, the events group behind other Hackney venues like The Shacklewell Arms, The Waiting Room and The Adam & Eve.
The main stage was organized by Eat Your Own Ears in association with The Quietus. Many people complained it was too ... quiet, and it is true it was hard to hear bands over the background of chatting people, unless you were pretty close to the stage. However, the sound was pleasantly balanced closer to the stage. But I guess that is always the problem at big concerts, if you are far away from the stage you will see the band from the two big screens mounted at the two sides of the stage and not hear much of the music ...and if you want to hear the music better, and possibly see the artists directly with your own eyes, you will have to stand squashed in the crowd. I am sure there are actually better ways to enjoy a concert, especially when it is something reflective and theatrical like PJ Harvey's.
P J Harvey's show was absolutely stunning, she played more or less at same time as Air, the other main act, so people had to make a choice between the two if they actually wanted to enjoy either of the full concerts. That was also the case for the entire day, the offer of bands was huge, but it was hard to actually see more than a few, unless you were just happy to check out a couple of songs of each band and spend most of the time walking from one stage to the other.
PJ Harvey's show was deeply intense. She did not bother flattering the public with lots of egocentric and distracting "I love you, all", "You're an amazing crowd" etc. she and the band kept it all to a minimalist perfection, everything was all well thought through. She got to the stage dressed in black feathers, escorted by her nine body-guards/musicians, including Mick Harvey and John Parish, with rolling drums and the melodies of saxophones. They mainly presented songs from their recent album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, but they also honoured the public with classics like Down By the Water and To Bring you my Love. She did not forget to dedicate a song to photographer/filmmaker Seamus Murphy who collaborated on and inspired The Hope Six Demolition Project. And as an homage of the Gods or Mother Earth, when PJ Harvey was on stage, even the rain stopped and the sky cleared up over us.
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