The music was top-notch. Despite what else you hear, it was a fantastic headline set from Queens Of The Stone Age - on the money, on-form, on-point - no Feel Good Hit Of The Summer but nothing is perfect. A gloriously hot Summer's day. Too hot, definitely, but a glorious celebration of music. There was Josh Homme, there was Iggy Pop being truly rock star, there were The Hives controlling us from the palm of their hands, and there was rock and roll abandon. Even Run The Jewels found their way in. This lineup was more Reading Festival than this year's Reading Festival. It had all the makings.....
That said, you've probably already heard about the problems at these Finsbury Park weekend concerts. Oh, what problems...
Promoters Festival Republic know what they are doing when booking festivals. Reading, Leeds, Latitude. Some huge, established events. The market however is intensely competitive and many other promoters are stepping up their game. All Points East was fantastic - contactless payments, good stewarding and barely a hint of a queue at any bar. Finsbury Park as a venue seemed slap-dash - not as easy to get to compared to Hyde Park or Hackney, and the organisation stank of nostalgic shambles. Many security checkpoints designed to stop you getting in, only to be let into a festival area that seemed far too small for how many tickets were available. Nearly all bars and stalls were cash only - this is 2018 and that's disgraceful. Worse, there was only ONE exit - so many times we were held back for crowd-control when trying to leave. This isn't Wembley after a football game.
As established, It was already too hot, but queues for bars were lasting two hours plus. Fair play to the stewards, they were handing out water constantly - but only those of us near front of crowds benefited. You were given a choice - spend hours in queue for drinks or dehydrate and see the bands you want. It was uncomfortable witnessing QOTSA fans leaving early, missing the band, because of the overcrowding. Many people were passing out in the crowd. Even the VIP section - for us guests who had paid more for the privilege of having our own secluded space, had queues for over an hour of drinks. Not good enough.
Many, many have complained since. Which forced Festival Republic to put out a statement out, subsequently blaming drinks supplier Workers Beer company for having a 40% staff turnup failure. http://www.festivalrepublic.com/news/workers-beer-company
The lack of contingency plans or priori-warning to punters is disturbing.
Back to the music, it started off rather nicely. With topless Miles Kane swaggering through some afternoon indie rock, or The Hives mocking us for Brexit and comparing themselves to royalty. All things seemed fine. Then Iggy launched himself upon our hearts - also topless, and straight into the front loading of "I Wanna Be Your Dog", "Gimme Danger", "The Passenger" and "Lust for Life". This was why we were putting ourselves through today's ordeal. It almost made it worth it.
review by: Raph Pour-Hashemi
photos by: Raph Pour-Hashemi
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