Review: Citadel Festival takes it up a notch

This year's event welcomed Foals, Bonobo, Wild Beasts and more across music, theatre and the arts.

Festival Guide

Words by Beccs Lott

I think it’s fair to say Citadel Festival took it up a notch for 2017. Between epic headliners Foals, sassy fitness sessions at the Spandex Stage, mind massaging discoveries at The Science Camp and discussional treats at Sunday Papers Live, it was basically everything you could want from a summer Sunday.

With traces of sister festival Lovebox thrown into the back cupboards, the site was wide eyed and bushy tailed, dripped in flags, fairy lights and it’s most impressive costume ready to twirl, immerse and delight. The main stage glittered with a gold sequin logo winking in the breeze, and at 2pm revealed NYC brass band Lucky Chops complete with sousaphone and a whole lot of attitude, who mixed in their rendition of Funky Town with original numbers that woke up the site and dared it to party.

A short walk up site past the bouncy bass of roller disco Bump, smiles galore at the Ministry of Happy, whistling swing rides and welcoming vintage stalls brought you to the nostalgic sounds of 80s fitness with frame, complete with neon Lycra clad version of Mr Motivator, and a crowd of eager participants raising legs, arms and eyebrows, locked into a Jane Fonda dream.

A sharp turn 180 degrees took you to the open Kasbah stage, where Leeds band Vessels hypnotised the crowd with their synth rock haze, whilst opposite newcomer JJSoulx soothed the bandstand in a swaying embrace with her effortless vocals and melodic soul amongst the drifting BBQ smoke of the Reggae Roast.

Down to the bottom of the site past a Daft Punk style helmet adorned crazy golf statue and decorated trees brought you to the lidded Communion Stage. This mid afternoon hour introduced effortlessly cool singer songwriter Nadine Shah with her stories of anxieties and troubles in articulate heartfelt lyrics, a confident demeanour and a raw vocal tool.

London based food stalls and branded drinks stages such as the Jagerhouse peppered between stages with new talent and DJs, leading to the intellectual hub of the festival behind the main stage like the back of a skull. The area hosted engaging and thought provoking sights with talks, lectures and debate including a glimpse into the future with a talk by The Science Museums Robots exhibition team, and social experiments at The Science Camp such as the Sensory Adventures In Dating which hosted a tent full of eye mask wearing singles flirting with science through smell, taste and sound.

Out into the main arena presented bigger acts as the sky turned to dusk. The wholesome and honest vocals of Laura Marling, the conceptual lyrical prowess of Wild Beasts, and the epic guitar driven rock of Foals with lazers that stroked the night sky and rocked the weekend to its ultimate finish.

An immersive festival that balances charm and playfulness with intellect and class. Bring on Citadel 2018.

Check out more from the world of festivals in our Festival Guide.