Wireless Festival 2011

With The Black Eyed Peas, Chemical Brothers
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Festival season continued in full swing this past weekend, as thousands flocked to Hyde Park for London’s biggest annual live music festival.

Over the years Wireless has struggled to carve out a solid identity with regards to their music policy. And after rap juggernauts Kanye West and Jay-Z headlined in previous years, they set a high standard which left some slightly underwhelmed by the appointment of now-pop band Black Eyed Peas.

But while hardened music critics may have raised an eyebrow, the line-up attracted a heard of fans and pretty much solidified Wireless’ core base as a festival that shines brightly in the genres of dance music and homegrown rap artists – as well as US hip-hop exports.

Friday

The three day event kicked off on Friday, where Example opened the Main Stage with an upbeat Ibiza inspired set. Fresh from the recent success of his number one hit, ‘Changed The Way You Kissed Me’, the 29-year-old was evidently confident and it shone through in his performance.

French dance DJ David Guetta had one of the biggest turnouts for his hour plus set on the Pepsi Max Stage. The chart topping hit maker filled the space to its capacity and had many surrounding the tent, trying to get a glimpse of the flashing lights-assisted performance, which mirrored the atmosphere of a real life rave.

UK rap stood tall on the night, Tottenham MC Wretch 32 gave an impressive solid performance, which due to the settings, took fans back to the old ‘mixtape days’, whilst maintaining a balanced commercial tone. Tinie Tempah’s set had audiences on their feet and two-stepping away all throughout. Despite a glitch with the microphone, the ‘Written In The Stars’ rapper managed to carry on unhinged by the technical error and with fans singing loudly to the likes of ‘Pass Out’ and ‘Frisky’ you barely noticed that at times you couldn’t actually hear him.

Plan B’s rock influenced set was a general crowd pleaser and proved just why the East London native is one of the brightest talents in the UK. While headliners Black Eyed Peas’ initial appointment may have been greeted with mixed reactions and has taken Wireless into an even more ‘radio friendly’ direction, on the night, the Peas gave a visually flamboyant performance, which entertained the 60,000 festival goers.

Saturday

The line-up for Saturday was arguably more exciting than that of the previous day.

With Janelle Monae opening proceedings with an electrifying and energy filled show-stopping performance, the mood was officially set. Maverick Sabre was another early act who put on a memorable show. The 20-year-old Hackney singer’s unique and powerful vocals will no doubt make him one to watch for the coming few months.

Katy B had audiences amped up, as she belted songs from her debut LP ‘Katy B On A Mission’. Sporting a newly dyed flamed coloured curly barnet, the petite singer told audiences she “loves making club music” and the energy she gets from it, and just like that, the festival transformed into an outdoor daytime club for a few minutes.

A personal highlight came from US rapper J. Cole’s late afternoon set. The Roc Nation signee, who notoriously doesn’t follow hip-hop conventions, made you feel like you were at a J.Cole concert, as opposed to a mixed act festival. Still, with no official album under his belt, the North Carolina native churned out songs from his critically acclaimed mixtapes ‘The Come Up’, ‘The Warm Up’ and ‘Friday Night Lights’ and had fans yearning for more.

Music took over celebrity in the closing sets. With Chase and Status putting on a full on, lively and bass-heavy show, which had the crowd well and truly hyped up for the encore performance of The Chemical Brothers. Following their electrifying Glastonbury show, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons did not disappoint when they brought their electronic set to the capital city. The showbiz shunning duo hid in the decs and let the music do all the talking. Accompanied with florescent flashing lights, the atmosphere was fully amped and Hyde Park in the closing hours was reminiscent of a full on rave.

Although Wireless has had stronger line-ups in the past, the acts that did shine, did so extremely brightly. Never-the-less, overall it was a fun packed, family friendly weekend, which had a little something for everyone and the sizzling sunshine made the atmosphere that extra bit nicer too.

Words by Vanessa Laker

View our photo galleries from the Wireless 2011 Festival:
Friday
Saturday

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