Ahh Field Day – the one day each Summer that it’s possible to take a stroll in London Fields without having to dodge groups of vintage queens on penny farthings and moustacheod lads with nautical themed tattoos on their calves, as every hipster worth his dole cheque ships themselves off to Victoria Park for a day spent drinking expensive warm beer in what is essentially the blogosphere made manifest.
In my experience it’s the most strangely incestuous festival London has to offer – everyone always seems to know everyone – but that might just be more a reflection of the narrow company I keep. Anyway, the atmosphere’s good, and with no big A-list headliners (Wild Beasts?) the mood throughout the day is nicely egalitarian, the lack of a hierarchy making it a lot easier to just wander off into any of the numerous tents to see what’s on offer at 10pm when you’ve had too much of your smuggled in Amaretto, without there being much sense that you’re really missing anything drastic elsewhere.
To give you a clue, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’s early afternoon slot has as big a turn out as Super Furry Animal’s Gruff Rhys who plays top billing in the same tent come evening. One does freaky lo-fi psychedelia, the other’s a psychedelic lo-fi freak. I’ll let you decide which is which, but both combinations work for me.
Elsewhere Warpaint capture the moment as the sun dips behind the trees and casts a dusky hue across the festival site, enrapturing us like they’re four Laura Palmers caught up in their own version of the Twin Peaks soundtrack. The mellow theme is carried forth by James Blake, who after having DJed today in pretty every much DJ slot going, finally sits down to play some songs, in a tent that’s parked worryingly close to a very large smelly enclave of urinals.
It’s not all introspection and wee though, as Omar Souleyman brings the Damascus disco to the field and people do their best shoulder-heavy souk-skanking and pigeon-cooing al arbai. Not many people in the crowd can speak or understand Arabic, but it doesn’t matter because he only sings one line – Eeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhyyyyyya!!! – making this instance of inter-cultural communication high successful. All in all, a good job well done.