Having visited Wild Life’s northern sister Parklife in 2015, I thought I knew what to expect. But somehow Brighton’s version felt more chilled out.
Maybe it was the lineup this year, maybe it’s because we were in earshot of the sea, or maybe that was just the vibe that kicked off this year’s festival season.
Despite a severe threat of rain and the site only having been open for less than an hour, sunshine shone down on the crowds who were already having an amazing time, thanks mainly to Chronixx and his Zinc Fence Redemption band. I may have a totally biased view (because Chronixx is my favourite), but there’s nothing better than listening to really excellent reggae to get you in the mood for a weekend in a field. The songs that really got everyone going were Sweet Jamaica, Who Knows (I was hoping for a surprise appearance from Protoje…no such luck) and Start a Fyah, they never fail to make people feel completely full of joy and love: a perfect concoction for the hazy day ahead.
After bouncing along to Rodigan for a while, we headed for The Big Top where we found Flume. Completely engulfed by the fangirls and boys surrounding us, we joined in with their freaking out – I’m glad we did. Time seemed to go by in slow motion, the lights and music could have transported us to another dimension and we wouldn’t have noticed. He took us through some decent remixes but it was Never Be Like You that converted me into a fully fledged Flume fangirl.
Busta Rhymes was a welcome flashback, in fact it flashed so far back I worried for the flower-crowned teenagers among us who almost definitely had never heard a single track of his. Once we had heard Ante Up we headed to sample some of the local vendors, on our way for curly fries and cheese, we bumped into Rag ‘n’ Bone Man and One Direction’s Niall – we managed a photo with the former, we had no chance of getting a photo with the latter, seemed like a nice bloke though.
Closing Saturday was down to Disclosure. I love watching them, they’re two effervescent blokes who really know how to compose a track, how to smash it AND entertain the crowds. There’s only two of them on stage, but they appear to have about 16 arms betweens them – they were joined by the incredible Kwabs for Willing & Able.
I didn’t think a festival could get more chilled, until Sunday came around and I realised that I wasn’t the only one who was feeling like they had been hit by bus. With everyone clutching their cans of Red Bull we were ready to take on the day.
Stormzy was on really early, which meant the crowds were a little more depleted than I had expected. But as time went on and he got more and more hashtag merky on stage, the crowd turned into a swirling moshpit of slightly fragile grime fans. I couldn’t help but think he could have quite easily headlined the main stage that night.
From one grime MC to another, it was time to get to the Supercharged tent to spend some time with the Kurupt FM boys. If you haven’t watched People Just Do Nothing on BBC Three, you won’t have had the pleasure of getting to know MC Grindah, DJ Beats, Decoy, Steves, DJ Fantasy and Chabuddy G ‘aka The Mayor of Hounslow aka The Rig Doctor aka Alan Brown Sugar’. With a mix of grime, dancehall and their own track Get Out The Way they know exactly how to work a crowd; I did turn around at one point and wonder whether people realised they were part of a mockumentary. Apparently the majority didn’t, which made being there even more enjoyable.
Bastille treated us to a few tracks from their new album, which apparently nobody had heard before us… I bet they say that to all of their festivals, but we’ll take it.
Rudimental headlined on Sunday and they gave us the craziest end to the wildest weekend. They never fail to deliver and I think Feel the Love just about summed Wild Life 2016 up.