Born & Bred: the clue's in the name. While its competitor on June 6th (Field Day) offers a greater spread of global sounds, Haggerston Park is straight championing noises from the heart of the capital.
A tribute to the grassroots of London's audio culture, its four stages showcase soundsystem veterans, UK garage dons and grime kingpins. One of five Found festivals happening this summer, it feels criminal that something like this hasn't been done until now – evidently the combination of summertime and low frequencies can only knock it out the park.
You'd need to be on Hackney road immediately after finishing your boiled eggs and soldiers, though, as things kick off at 11am. Which is a little early for us to make it – we miss The Square and Moxie warming up soles. After being felt up a little too keenly by security (a common gripe among entrants on the day) we take a trip straight back to the '90s with a little bit of DJ Luck and MC Neat, followed by the Artful Dodger and (nostalgia overload!) Oxide & Neutrino – who reel out back to back 2-step anthems and a So Solid singalong at Wavey Garms' base in one quadrant of the park.
But it's The Heatwave who prove the most fun act at the main, open-air stage, whetting our appetites for Notting Hill with a blast of Beenie Man and strictly bashment & dancehall goodness. With the sunshine blaring, that becomes our stage of choice – where later dub royalty Digital Mystikz run things, with stone cold classic 'Earth A Run Red' getting wheeled.
We duck out at Goldie for the Swamp81 headquarters, where it's Zed Bias doing his 'Boss' live show alongside Klose One, Claus Fuss and MC Trigga with drum machines and analogue synths, swiftly followed by Mickey Pearce and Loefah – who're joined by MC Chunky and Rinse's Jonny Banger on mic duty.
As for the finale – Wiley… when will we learn? In his own words, he's like a 38 bus, 'cos he never turns up. He didn't think the B&B crowd were a complete bunch of pagans, though, as he shows up for the last eight to nine minutes of his hour-long slot. Onstage he complains about the "59 minutes of traffic", while word on the street is that he was in a pub watching Barcelona vs Juventus (and lost all his petrol money betting on the latter). Zinc kindly extends his lively set while we wait, raising the temperature with junglist classics like 'Super Sharp Shooter'.
When Eskiboy does make an entrance, he performs 'Chasing the Art', 'On A Level', then (bizarrely) ends on 'Heatwave'. No matter how loud the crowd yell, the speaker system gets shut off sharply at 9.
Despite the inclusion of such a risky headliner, B&B taps into the history of the bass continuum and gives a well-earned salute to its most prominent, pioneering artists. Butterz's Elijah summed it up when he wrote "London has been crying out for a Born & Bred for years." Long may it continue.
Words: Felicity Martin
Photo Credit: Marc Sethi
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