Wireless Festival turned 11 this weekend. The three-day festival took place in Finsbury Park, London, with headline performances from Calvin Harris, Chase & Status, and grime collective Boy Better Know. In the face of adversity (repeated attempts by locals to shut the festival down), the performers of Wireless fought back hard; with cameos, covers and guest performances galore.
Up-and-coming Birmingham rapper Lady Leshurr shook up the Pepsi Stage Arena with a cover of ‘Work’ by Rihanna and a message to “just be focused and follow your dream.”
Vic Mensa used his set as an opportunity to pay tribute to Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the two black men whose shooting has triggered widespread unrest in America over the past week.
On the bus into Finsbury Park, Dua Lipa started a Facebook Live stream of her arrival at the festival, her pre-show preparation, and her opening number, ‘Blow Your Mind’. She closed with ‘Hotter Than Hell’.
Miguel struggled for words when addressing the racial violence situation in America. He told the crowd “We can’t let shit just blow over and not take action anymore,” Miguel said to the Wireless Festival crowd. “Look, our children will inherit this Earth when we’re gone. What are we leaving for them? What are we doing for them now, not tomorrow? Now!”
The pirate radio station of ‘People Just Do Nothing’ fame, Kurupt FM, sprayed champagne bubbles over the audience at their Friday night show on Stage 3.
The 1975’s frontman Matt Healy referenced the race protests in Louisiana and Minnesota with a U.S flag worn around his waist, and introduced one track by saying, “This song’s about loving people as opposed to f**king shooting them.”
Friday’s headliner Calvin Harris was introduced onstage by the actor Will Smith, who was joined by his children Jaden and Willow to celebrate Jaden’s 18th birthday.
Harris’s set was fired up by an impressive pyrotechnic display that drew a triumphant close to the first day of the festival in Finsbury Park.
ASAP Ferg performed ‘Shabba Ranks’ and ‘Hella Hoes’ during his set on the Main Stage.
Krept & Konan were joined onstage by a surprise appearance from Rita Ora. She sang a rendition of the Krept & Konan track ‘Freak For The Week’.
Craig David played his TS5 show, named after his home, the penthouse Tower Suite 5.
During his set, J.Cole told the crowd that we should unite for the “love of music”. He added, “We all came here for the love of music. Black, white, Asian, Christian, Muslim.” He followed the performance by ordering Nando’s take-away.
Chase & Status opened their set with a snippet cover of ‘Give It Away Now’ by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
They were joined onstage by Liam Bailey for ‘Blind Faith’ and Slaves for ‘Control’.
Former New York culinary chef Action Bronson played ‘Baby Blue’ at the Main Stage on the final day of the festival.
LA-based rapper Ty Dolla $ign played tracks from his debut album ‘Free TC’ during his set, and hung out with Action Bronson backstage.
Former Black Eyed Peas member Fergie returned to the UK after a three year hiatus on the third day of the festival. Alongside her solo work and new single ‘M.I.L.F.$’, she played Black Eyed Peas tracks, including ‘Let’s Get It Started’ and ‘I Gotta Feeling’.
28-year-old Big Sean made a shoutout to his loved ones during his performance, including girlfriend Jhené Aiko: “Shout out to my girl Jhené. I work hard for my family and friends.” He also had some inspirational words for his audience: “If you want anything in life, if you want me to be a millionaire, you can do it. You can be better than me.”
EDM artist Martin Garrix managed to get the entirety of the Main Stage audience to jump in unison with him on Sunday.
Grime collective Boy Better Know performed to a packed out crowd, with Skepta appearing from behind a 00s telephone box to perform ‘That’s Not Me’.
The audience were treated to a surprise guest appearance by Pharrell Williams at their headline show. The ‘Happy’ singer performed ‘Numbers’ with Skepta.
Wireless Festival, now in its eleventh year, took place between the 8th and 10th July in Finsbury Park, London.