[John Holt | Contributing Writer; Tobi Olasupo | Photography Manager]
After a trip on the District line to Upminster station, we hopped onto the free shuttle bus to the Airfield of Dreams, where We Are FSTVL was being held this year. Upon arrival, the security team were working hard to check everybody in, get them a wristband and set them loose into the arena to explore the ten stages on offer to the eager festival goers.
Starting proceedings on the main stage was GW Harrison. This man was a hit on the main stage at We Are FSTVL 2015 and was back this year by popular demand. With three years in Ibiza under his belt and a firm place in the Abode scene in the UK, there is no doubt of Harrison’s capability to get the crowd going with the best new tunes from the underground house scene, as well as some classics for the crowd. A fantastic opening set.
A short while later, Philip George took to the main stage for his hour-long slot with the We Are FSTVL main stage crowd, which had started to build up nicely in numbers and atmosphere. His style of melodic house music went down a treat in the afternoon sun, with the crowd highly anticipating his hit single, “Wish You Were Mine”. This caused a full crowd sing along, and the atmosphere started to crank up a notch or two with the progression of each set.
Next up, we checked out the UKF tent in the Favela Fiesta area, which was a marquee style stage, the most enclosed at the festival. It boasted a range of house, bass house, and drum and bass artists over the weekend. We arrived to watch a set by the up and coming Monki who’s been out on the road with Annie Mac this year after rising to recognition through Rinse FM, and now presenting a show weekly as a resident on Radio 1 Xtra. She brought some incredibly hard-hitting sub-bass tunes to the tent, which she seamlessly mixed in transitions throughout the set ranging from piano house to deep bass house, this London girl is definitely one to watch.
Heading over to the Rumours tent, we caught a set from the man of the hour, Daniel Pearce. Better known as Eats Everything, this man has had one of the biggest dance music hits of the past 12 months with his track “Dancing (Again!)” with Tiga. The song catapulted Eats Everything to the public eye and earned him a support slot with Disclosure on their latest UK tour. His two-hour set included an eclectic mix of house influences and maintained energy throughout. His presence on stage was energetic, and the crowd responded to this, with nobody standing still throughout the set. When the hooky lyric “Let’s go dancing, I wanna go dancing with you, all night dancing,” dropped, the crowd exploded into cheers and a sing-along. It was a fantastic set.
Finally, the climax of the night, the main stage Saturday headliner of We Are FSTVL 2016, Fatboy Slim. This man needs absolutely no introduction, with his status in the electronic music scene being unquestioned as legendary. An astonishing set of incredible songs, ranging from songs from his first album as Fatboy Slim “Better Living Through Chemistry” to songs spanning his whole career such as “Weapon of Choice”, “The Rockafeller Skank”, “Right Here, Right Now” and “Praise you”. He also included some newer material such as his comeback single “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat” and included snippets from acts such as Knife Party throughout the set. The atmosphere was electric; the visuals were flawless, and the headline set as a whole was a triumph and a perfect way to round off the first day of the festival.
Sunday was the tougher day of the two; the attendance skyrocketed in comparison to Saturday and the reduced transport brought out the athlete in everyone. The heat from Saturday carried on into Sunday and kept all the festival goers in good spirits. More people dressed for the occasion as everyone I spoke to on Saturday brought their jeans and wellington boots; they were told it was going to rain. (We’re sure they won’t use Siri for the weather again anytime soon.)
The queue to get in through general admission was overwhelming; it stretched all the way to the taxi rank. Just like Saturday, there was a wide variety of stars from the MTV show, “Ex On The Beach”. We saw the likes of Chet Johnson, Helen Briggs and Lacey Fuller.
Upon arrival, we had to rush to the press tent to make it in time to photograph Craig David’s set. Due to the reduced transport for Upminster, the journey was a lot harder in comparison to Saturday, as there were no TFL Rail services running.
Craig David has been a household name for UK music since 1999, everyone in the crowd gave
him a roaring ovation as soon as he took one step on the stage. He played old classics like “Fill Me In” and new songs such as “When the Bassline Drops” and his remix of “Fill Me In” crossed with “Where R U Now”.
Kurupt FM from the BAFTA-nominated show “People Just Do Nothing” then took to the main stage and they opened their set with a bang, which involved Tobi and another photographer getting sprayed with Champagne. The set was full of fun and excitement while everyone in the crowd was harmonising to sounds of UK Garage.
We decided to make a visit to the Defected Tent during our travels; it was by far the most popular venue besides the main stage. There was no moving space within, which led us to make an early exit. We then went to visit Jamie Jones at the Paradise stage; every single house lover could not afford to miss this. The set had everything you could imagine it having, house classics, dancers and an enthusiastic crowd to top it all off.
After visiting the set, we then made our way back to the press tent. While waiting to go to see the headliner, Steve Angello, not one but TWO of Sunday’s main stagers came to the press tent. We first saw Danny Howard with his tour manager and friends. We had a brief chat with Danny and he complimented the photos Tobi got of him while in the pit. We then saw the headliner we were waiting for, Steve Angello. We also had a chat with him; he took a photo with Tobi holding the Trident Media top.
It was then finally time for the headliner, Steve Angello. Everyone left the surrounding stages to pulsate to the sounds of ex-Swedish House Mafia star. There were a lot of fireworks and lasers to add to the immense visual display that was being shown on the screens. As Tobi is a major EDM fan, he thoroughly enjoyed this set in particular. The crowd remained ecstatic from start to finish, and it was a fantastic way to close a triumphant weekend. During our exit, we spotted Jess Glynne, who became the second British female solo artist to have five number-one singles in the UK.
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