Me and my camera in my home town, my capital city, my london
Anyone need somewhere to live?
Me and my camera in my home town, my capital city, my london
Disya jeneration block party @ notting hill carnival 2017
link if you can see screen above: https://youtu.be/89yhHlRt1Nc
This year’s carnival was a magnificent display of humanity at its best. People from all over the capital and the country coming together regardless of origin, race or culture and going absolutely ape shit to big time tunes dancing their rocks off on the streets of West London. It is the ultimate celebration of life and despite the police and the media doing nothing but attempt to discredit it and show it in a negative light it remains a 99% positive vibe festival. There is always a microscopic portion of attendees who might be there for nefarious reasons but they probably wouldn’t even tally to 1% of the million plus population of carnival.
The media only ever seems to report the bad things that happen but they are infinitesimal compared to the relentless wave of good times from everyone else – there is and will always be a tiny percentage of people in every society at any given moment who want to kick up trouble so why does that always have to be what they shine a spotlight on? Why can’t they just highlight what an incredible unifying uplifting experience it is for those who participate? The truth is that London needs the Carnival. This city is like a pressure cooker and if we don’t all let off some steam in a fun way it will emerge in maybe less fun ways. Its like The Purge (if you have seen any of those films) only you don’t kill people, you party with them instead…
And as for the implied accusation from the police saying their heroin haul in Catford was somehow related to Carnival, I can say with great authority and absolute authority, no-one, not one single person is on heroin at carnival…and well done to Stormzy for calling them out on it. Actually one of the great things about carnival is that you can talk to coppers wasted and there is nowt they can do about it. So I took advantage and grilled a few for their negative portrayal of Carnival. One of them said to me: “well I’m glad you had a good time but its a headache for us”. I appreciate that but that isn’t really a reason to try to shut it down just cos you find it a bit tough to deal with. The carnival probably shouldn’t still exist but it does and its incredible that it has survived but I hope it continues for ever.
One of the most beautiful and heartbreaking moments this year was when they did a minute’s silence for Grenfell. It was so powerful and moving to see the revellers in the video above all stand utterly silent then break out into spontaneous and rapturous applause after. I felt so many had come to Carnival to pay their respects and that is why it was so important for it to be a positive experience and it was. It was a celebration of life in honour of all those who no longer have it. You will never be forgotten.
My only real gripe with the attendees is that the area was graffitied all over. This neighbourhood invites you in so you can party on the streets and then you deface them. The boards have been erected to protect properties and you can tag the shit out of them but not over people’s homes and businesses. That’s just wrong. There might be some assumption that everyone who lives in Notting hill is loaded but as Grenfell showed, this borough has both rich and poor living side by side.
In some ways it is very important for everyone to understand that the carnival was designed so the local community could earn a bit of dosh and we need to remember this area was once one of the poorest in the city. This annual event, which a lot of the newer more affluent constituents would like to terminate need to be reminded that they cannot whitewash the history and culture of this neighbourhood. If you don’t like it, don’t live here.
I was only at Lost Village for one night but also thought it was a great lil festival, great crowd, perfect size, good vibes. Like Houghton, it was a small boutiquey event with a focus on delivering an enjoyable hassle free experience. Had been a bit gutted about not making Glasto this year but having been to a few smaller festivals this summer instead rather than one big monster event I have come to realise that you get most of the fun you woulda and not that much aggro. Whenever I go to Glastonbury I generally miss most of the bands on the line-up anyway so its not like being at a smaller event is much different. Generally speaking you get wasted and dance in a field to amplified music with like-minded people. All components need to be of top quality for maximum enjoyment but there is not necessarily an increase in pleasure the bigger the festival. Often the opposite…
Why smaller festivals work is that it is much easier to mingle and interact with the other punters which is half the fun and if you lose the people you are with, it isn’t insanely hard to find them again. This is a big bonus. The people at Lost Village were great and very friendly and laid back and definitely up for the craic. (irish speak for ‘avin it large). Not that I am done with big festivals completely, I just really enjoyed all the little ‘uns I did this year…and weirdly I did not miss hiking in the mud for an hour only to arrive for the last song of the act I had traipsed halfway across site to see…
All the photographs above are of crowds joyfully rocking out to the Dewaele brothers, first as Soulwax and then as 2manydjs.
The Houghton Festival
The Houghton festival delivered across the board..beautiful location, amazing line-up, super friendly lovely people, incredibly well organised, it took 10 minutes to get from your tent to the main area and every random encounter was brilliant..for me the overall experience was the closest I have experienced to a proper old skool rave – it is exactly the sort of place and people I have been searching for at festivals over the years and not always finding..until now.
One of the great things about it was that it was the first time it had ever happened which meant no-one group had put their stamp on it or made it a certain way yet. As a result every just got on with it and it just rolled out very naturally and beautifully thanks to the general good vibes of everyone there, from the organisers, to the punters, to the staff, to the artists. We spoke to one of the production managers working there and they said the aim was to treat everyone as well as they could be treated no matter who they were. And you really felt it. You were made to feel welcome, a guest in their delicious domain. So often at festivals you are barked at and herded around, made to queue for everything, made to feel like you are just being rinsed of your cash, a cog in the music machine. This was not the case here…
Houghton understood that you need to make everyone feel good, not just through the music and the setting but by each and every person to person encounter. The crowd itself were a brilliantly varied collection of clubbers, musos, norfolk locals, cool poshos, loved up londonites, young ravers, old ravers and a very healthy smattering of party people & here-we-go hedonists. The great thing is that there wasn’t an overbearing of any one group and most importantly, despite where we were from, we all fell under the same general banner: smiley chatty friendly folk who were up for a dance, a giggle and a bit of quality random banter. Over the course of the weekend we identified ourselves not from the groups we came from but the group we became. Everyone just felt chuffed they had gone there on a bit of a punt, not really knowing what it would be like and it had been a gloriously correct decision.
We weren’t 100% sure what we were doing there but we knew pretty quick it was definitely where we wanted to be. And what a place to be it was. Set in stunning grounds of a stately home by a beautiful lake, there were lots of little magical forest glades to get lost in, weird shit to stumble upon and admire. The trees themselves were lusciously lit in a myriad of different colours and there was even a sculpture park which we initially thought we had found but on returning to it in the light of day, turned out just to be a collection of trees that had on our night-time inspection appeared as if they had faces sculpted into them. Apparently the real one was pretty cool too…
Houghton really got it right on so many levels. They had a cap of about 7000 people which seemed like the perfect amount of people as there were tons of people to have fun with but you could always get away from the crowds and nothing was to much of a hassle. The only place you had to queue for on occasion was to get into the Quarry, a rave style amphitheatre which drew big crowds depending on who was playing, especially Andy Weatherall who we caught the last bit of his set which rocked & was dynamite throughout apparently. Other highlights were Nicholas Jar who did an incredibly eclectic set which was nothing short of a truly uplifting and transportive journey. You got the feeling throughout the weekend that all the djs were playing what they wanted, without feeling the need to appeal to a mainstream crowd and the sets were all the better for it.
Despite a very well thought out dj selection there was however hardly any visible documentation of the line-up anywhere in the festival which, although a little frustrating at first, it meant rather than have a fixed plan of who to see, you instead wandered from tent to tent led by your ears or by word of mouth and stumbled upon amazing sets by accident. Was this itself chance or an actual intention of the festival? They had thought of so much it did seem possible this too was deliberate. We did miss a few djs we would have liked to have seen (Scruff, N.O.W to name a couple) but we were undoubtedly disposed elsewhere having a right rollocking time and the quality of tunes was good everywhere so it didn’t really matter where you were. We did have an amazing dance toColeen ‘cosmo’ murphy’s set which I think (eek) was in the Brilliant Corners tent – memory slightly blurred and facts on the hazy side but we definitely had a total moment to the disco classic Native New Yorker. Cracked magazine posted up their fav tracks from the weekend which was great as filled in a quite few gaps of the weekend…click on link below to get a taste of the tunes…
Craig Richards finale set was off the chart, and being the man behind the curation of this festival, was a perfect example of the Houghton experience . If this festival is anything to go by djs should organise and curate festivals more often because Craig and Gottwood, who produced the festival, knew exactly what was needed to make a magnificent party. Everyone I have spoken to who I have told that I went to Houghton have all reacted the same way..oh my god, you were at houghton! I heard it was brilliant. I’m so jealous. I’m definitely going next year…and that, in some ways, is really my only concern. I hope that Houghton stays exactly the way it is and doesn’t expand too much because it was bang on.
Inevitably all festivals become a victim of its own success and end up becoming something beyond their original intention but I really hope this does not happen with Houghton and (perhaps opitmistically) feel that it won’t. I was sort of in two minds about telling everyone how good it was so as to keep it under the radar but that just felt wrong. People need to know about this and I believe in Houghton. They got so much spot on I am sure they will want to keep it exactly as it is…and can we please have a big massive hand for the 24/7 non-stop no curfew music policy – not even Glasto has that!
So would like to thank the organisers for giving a shit and putting on such a great festival and also to all of you random bods who we met and chatted to on our travels throughout the weekend…2nd storey, the guy at the record thingy, the german notting hillbilly and his girlfriend at the lake, the two guys we were sat next to crumpled up in the corner of that little tent, the couple in the queue at the quarry, the guy who looked like a Victorian circus dude, the french girl who wanted a tissue to take off her lipstick, all our other encounters who have now slightly blurred and especially to birthday boy M.P and all of his brilliant festival gang who made it for us – pleasure hanging out with you all…until next year!
The Bimble Bandada
I also went to The Bimble Bandada festival in my holidays – it was in a beautiful valley with cows on hills and it was very pretty. I had lots of fun and danced a lot and made lots of new friends. There were swirly lights and a hot tub. They also had a weird giant baby.