I love Bristol. Period. I like to pretend I’m still from the West Country and claim ownership of it in some way, when in fact I’ve lived in this sprawling metropolis called London for over half my life now. In the capital of the South West things have moved on, massively. The city has gone through a wealth of changes since I left back in the '90s at the peak of ‘Trip Hop’. Back then it was ‘well dodgy’, the breakbeat reigned supreme and the city rarely thumped to the sound of the 4/4. In 2015 it’s all change - it happened long before this year, I’m just using it for effect in my little story - no longer do people talk about the city in the terms of “yeah that was where Massive Attack came from” but more “oh yeah I’ve got friends who’ve just moved there, they love it”. As London buckles further under its increasingly draconian licensing and absurd house prices, Bristol has subtly mosied up from the side and reinforced its standing as a musical powerhouse of the South once again. Cheap(er) rents have brought a new breed of musician and artist to the city. While dub still underpins the beating heart of the town it’s now just as much about the doof doof these days, with Stoke’s Croft producing some of the most interesting House and Techno in the country and Idle Hands leading the charge as one of the new generation of record shops.
And then there’s Team Love who have slowly built themselves a Bristolian empire with the Love Inn pub, programming Silver Hayes at Glastonbury, co-running The Garden Festival in Croatia and then the small matter of Love Saves The Day. A two day festival quickly becoming the official start to the summer.
Making the move from the inner-city Castle Park to Eastville Park in the outer fringes of the city this year, the event now feels like a full-blown festival as opposed a rave in the middle of town.
Well-stocked bars with excellent local ales, sensory experiences across the site, roller discos, sunshine and good food options meant that on Saturday we got into full festival experience mode. This was the beauty of LSTD 2015; there was space to move around and enjoy the fringe tents instead of running from stage to stage catching ten minutes of this person and ten minutes of that person's head. Musical highlights of the Saturday were Leon Vynehall and the ever excellent Craig Richards. It’s never not a pleasure to hear this man play records.
While the heavens threatened to open on the Sunday, musically it was bang on point. There should be a lot more people in the tent for Phantasy head Erol but what threatened to be a washout of a day up above had given rise to bright sunshine. So it was a toss up for many between the Erol doof or the sunshine. We chose the doof. Erol is still most ace and most vital. Elsewhere throughout the day Floating Points just gets better and better, Davery (Daniel Avery)’s festival sets sound as alive as the first time we heard him in the woodland at Farr all those years back.
Channel One’s ubiquity on the festival circuit of late is something to be celebrated and nowhere does their heavy dub-ness seem more at home than on a Bristol crowd. Elsewhere, the sun’s still out, Mr Horace Andy is playing his greatness on the main stage and we’ve just bumped into people who’ve travelled all the way down from London just to see him. This is a good moment.
Later on Roni Size and Reprazent hammer out the still timeless ‘Brown Paper Bag’. They’d even written a song specially for the occasion too - ‘Love Will Save The Day’. Oooh ya crowdpleasers!
By the size of the crowd he’s drawn Skepta’s turned into a full-blown pop star, yet he's lost none of what made him so immediately vital. Playing the game but in his distinct own way this is without doubt the ‘energy’ highlight of the weekend.
What else? The sound was excellent throughout the weekends - a rarity for city festivals.
I still don’t know what to do with this Love Saves The Day branded cup though. Do I give it back? Do I email them asking them for a quid? I’ll just take it along next year.
Who's the prick in the blue shirt? R$N <3's Robin Sure.