Field Day 2015: what we saw

09.06.15

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This weekend saw Field Day once again land at London's Victoria Park. Now settled into spreading its music programming out over two days, a hectic Saturday headlined by Caribou packed with some of the finest underground pop and electronic musicians around in 2015 onto the bill, while a considerable chiller Sunday saw triumphant performances from older favourites like Patti Smith and Ride. Below, we pick out a few of the highlights from the weekend, and above, Dummy photographers Aoise Tutty and Linnea Persson captured some of the performances for posterity.

The best things we saw

A day of flitting between sets of hard bangers and fun pop music reached a happy medium at Bok Bok’s slot in the early evening. Sifting through some of the most infectious hip hop tracks in the past couple of years, among Bok Bok's selections were Tinashe’s 2 On and Que’s OG Bobby Johnson, quickly filling up the Resident Advisor tent. But it was a repeated loop of the intro to Jam City’s A Walk Down Chapel hammering into the ears of all nearby, being mixed in and out of hip hop, that cemented the set as the most exciting thing to be heard all day. Aurora Mitchell

I’d never dug much deeper into Patti Smith’s discography than the big hitting singles, but seeing her take to the festival’s main stage really felt like witnessing a bona fide star. You could actually feel the atmosphere shift from vague, passing interest to feel-good euphoria. She ended her set telling everyone: “Be free!”, and the guy behind me exploded in response in such a way that I really believe he was going to quit his crappy job and follow his dreams. Jake Hulyer

The main stage headliners on Sunday were Ride, a decent rock band but one who don't really have many – any? – major tunes. Rather than heading down their to check them out for the sake of it, I decided to spend my Sunday evening watching the vastly underrated Outfit on the Moth Club stage. Though the band's latest album 'Slowness' is a fairly obtuse thing, they tailored it it to a festival crowd effortlessly, knowing just when to amp up the energy, beef up the grooves, and slow down the guitars. What a great band. Selim Bulut

What we learnt

Now on my fifth Field Day, a lot of the complaints that have surrounded the festival have been cleared up, previously having tents way too small for the artists playing them and horrendous overcrowding around the site.  Perhaps that’s why this year there seemed to be a noticeably more positive atmosphere than would usually be observed. However, one thing that seems to be getting worse is how sets on outdoor stages are always disappointing due to sound levels remaining quiet for neighbours and sound bleed. If you were hyped to see someone on the main stage, I’d recommend waiting until they play London next. Aurora Mitchell

Field Day on Saturday can feel a bit hectic at times. The line up is amazing, obviously, but Sunday showed that having your choices narrowed down for you can help. Being able to glide between the lo-fi daze of Captured Tracks labelmates DIIV and Mac Demarco, to the likes of the endearing idiosyncrasy of Matthew E. White, it was a nice contrast to the previous day’s madness. Jake Hulyer

It goes without saying that Field Day is notorious for sound issues, whether that's for a main stage headliner like Caribou or in a small tent like The Shacklewell Arms stage, but people tend to weather it if it's an artist they want to see. So although LA PRIEST sounded like mud – quiet, quiet mud – I was astounded by the sheer number of people who stuck around for his whole set, excited to hear what strange and interesting sounds Sam Eastgate had come up with in his post-Late of the Pier years. Selim Bulut

Biggest surprise

Having already seen SOPHIE play a fire station in Bristol and at the Tate Modern, I was expecting something exciting and new from his mid-afternoon set. I found myself disappointed. Charli XCX and SOPHIE, both intelligent pop artists, seem like a perfect match, but the collaborations that he played left everyone motionless, with Charli’s vocals morphed into bewildering chipmunk shrieks. Following the unremarkable collaboration he released last year with Madonna, it feels like SOPHIE’s potential as a producer for others hasn’t lived up to expectation so far. The best things of his set were by far and away his own warped bangers. Aurora Mitchell

While I have absolutely no reservations about Todd Terje’s ability to produce crossover cosmic disco bangers, I was a bit dubious about what his live set as Todd Terje & the Olsens would be like. I was wrong to have doubts, however: they were laying down the kind of fun loving grooves only a tightly drilled ensemble could. There were extended jams for the likes of Strandbar, making for a perfect fit for the incoming sunset. Jake Hulyer

I've always felt like Mac DeMarco as musician deserved better than Mac DeMarco as a character. Why court an audience of obnoxious dudebros when your music is so, so much better than that? But his performance on Sunday was super fun, and it became pretty obvious that you can't really get away with typical rock band antics (cover versions, wild crowdsurfing, huge rockouts, and solos) at a festival like Field Day without playing it with a bit of goofball knowingness. Selim Bulut

Ultimate moment

When I talked to Powell earlier ths year he told me that XL were looking to recapture some of the spirit of their earlier releasing hardcore records. Having also put out 1 Sec, a single on the label with Novelist, Mumdance pays homage to that heritage when he plays Liquid’s Sweet Harmony. Memories of hearing it as a young child on sun-drenched days on the car stereo flood back as the new and old history of XL collide. Aurora Mitchell

It was as the tent had thinned out to a more bearable capacity that FKA twigs played Two Weeks. It meant that you could finally see the stage and – along with her preposterously trendy bandmates – how amazing she is to watch as a performer. Mentioning that this is her first time at Field Day, it was a reminder of how quickly she’s been catapulted up festival bills. Playing one of the standouts from a remarkable debut album, it felt great to be able to see her there. Jake Hulyer

Seeing Kindness play Brixton Electric earlier this year was one of my favourite gigs in a while, an ecstatic and joyful show played to a rapturous and receptive audience. It was a shame that he and the band pretty much replicated that set shot-for-shot on the main stage on Saturday, but there was one welcome surprise at the end. When Kindness first emerged, he had this wonderful lo-fi cover of Roy Davis Jr.'s garage classic Gabriel. I figured it'd been forgotten about, but sure enough the crew finished up with an elongated version of that tune, mutating into Adonis's No Way Back and a billion other house classics. Selim Bulut