What we learned from Field Day 2018

The festival took to Brockwell Park at the start of June.

Festival Guide

A new year brings a new field for Field Day. Set on the edge of Brixton, hoards fled to Brockwell Park on another gleaming weekend of this year’s British Summer. In a year with more festivals than ever, there was not only a sense that Field Day raised the bar, but there was movement and revolution in the air…

World class from the roots up

For a festival with world class artists, the homegrown pack a mighty punch. Mid-afternoon on the Friday in a bursting Dimensions tent full of excitement and buzz, London jazz group Sons of Kemet take to the stage to rapturous howls and applause. The crowd, loyal and longing, start an instrumental sing-along to each tuba note, with big moves and smiles to boot. The mixed sounds of jazz, dub and afrobeat clearly relate to the crowd who seem hooked on every beat.

Sons Of Kemet - Play Mass


Full of charisma

The performances are often boldly and bravely polished or raw. Soul artist NAO leaps around the stage with swagger to rival Beyonce in Sasha mode. New York’s rapper Princess Nokia is aggressively playful to meet the passion and power of her lyrics, and songwriter Moses Sumney oozes style and substance poised behind a beautiful guitar shaped loop station. Grime artist AJ Tracey wanders the stage with his crew in comfort whilst soul artist Loyle Carner takes to the main stage effortlessly airing his confession filled tracks with credibility and grace. Stealing the show are Saturday afternoon’s Kurupt FM MCs, with an unapologetic mix of banter and stop start garage, dance and hiphop classics.

A Dis One: Kurupt FM Official Music Video - People Just Do Nothing - BBC Three


All about the brass…

With a lot of jazz artists filling Friday’s line up, the most surprising performance is from Mr Jukes, and it makes a statement. Originally leading member of indie band Bombay Bicycle Club, this solo project has led him down a more soulful side. However walking into a tent with a horn section complete with trumpet solos that gains as much applause as Jack Steadman himself was not what is expected. It seems that many of the artists on the line up raise the bar this weekend, with a notable nod to musical ability, originality and the influence of jazz on every genre.

Mr Jukes - Angels / Your Love ft. BJ The Chicago Kid


…in fact, it seems Jazz is having a revolution

From the return of iconic artists such as Erykah Badu, to the pure contemporary jazz sounds of Mammal Hands and the jazz riffs of singer/songwriter Jordan Rakai, jazz seems to be having a resurgence, seeping into a majority of performances of the weekend. Even Thundercat devotes a vast amount of his Saturday main stage set to showcasing his jazz prowess on his 6-string bass.

Every Mammal Hands track on Friday afternoon feels like a theme tune. Every jazz tipped performance feels like an education. Every set with a brass section feels like a celebration. It’s definitely a sign of things to come.

Erykah Badu - Window Seat


Finally, the dance tent was next level

With an airhanger vibe rivalling other dance venues across the UK, this year’s tent named The Barn presented by dance curators and producers The Hydra brings a new home to Field Day’s electronic line up. From the ambient Nils Frahm to the old school 90s dance and disco of Daphni, it is one of the most popular destinations of the Saturday with its rave like atmosphere, drop screen visuals and a welcome shade from the afternoon haze.

Field Day 2018 feels bold and triumphant. It has pride without pretence, quality along with community, and a mark of inclusive independence. Roll on 2019.

Find out more about this summer’s festival in our Festival Guide on