Hospitality in the Park Returns
Next week, the end of festival season is marked by the return of the biggest drum & bass festival in the country. Following last year’s triumphant inauguration, Hospitality in the Park amalgamates over two decades of raving experience with a fantastic lineup and a bespoke atmosphere. This is THE drum & bass festival; breakbeats, rollers, jungle, liquid, neuro, halftime and jump up are all represented in this celebration of everything the genre has to offer.
This year, it’s even bigger and better than before, as organisers, Hospital Records, continue to push boundaries both musically and in terms of festival experiences. The South London based label, steered by label don London Elektricity, has long commanded an impressive roster of artists, including Netsky, Cammo & Krooked, Danny Byrd and High Contrast, whilst also nurturing emerging talent such as Krakota and Maduk. Whilst music undoubtedly lies at the centre of the Hospital project, the label is known for its Hospitality club events, which add great food and a much-prided welcoming atmosphere. These events are united through a clear ethos, so welcome at a time that soulless, cash-driven festivals with mish-mash lineups seem to be proliferating.
The festival itself can be seen as an expansion of the immensely popular Hospitality BBQs, which regularly sell out across the country. Similarly, Hospitality in the Park will continue the equation of providing the labels own delicious craft beer as well as excellent street food to accompany their music; exactly what the doctor ordered (pun intended) after a day of dancing. Expect an incredible atmosphere, innovative staging, tasty food, great music, and, as one of their promotional videos claimed, ‘epic cool shit’.
Below are our top pics for what is sure to be a fantastic day.
The London Elektricity Big Band
Hospital Records is known for pushing boundaries, so perhaps we should have expected that label boss London Elektricity would try and recreate his signature sound with a full live band. Nevertheless, it has to be seen to be believed. Last year’s debut was a roaring success, and this year’s headline set should be no different. Not only does the band provide an intimate connection with the audience that is sometimes missing from DJ sets, but highlights the musical credentials of a genre sometimes derided in the mainstream as robotic and lacking emotion. Seeing the man himself shredding the bass guitar to drum and bass classics fatally undermines those criticisms and is a fantastic sight to behold.
The Med School Warehouse
We love cool stages. Why just go to a normal tent or stage, when you can go to one that makes you forget you’re in a field somewhere? The Med School Warehouse, home to Hospital’s sister label, does just that, providing an edge that is difficult to recreate in a sunny field or park. Slightly reminiscent of Glastonbury’s much-loved London Underground stage, the experience of entering the warehouse is guaranteed to make what is already great music sound that little bit sweeter.
Marcus Intalex Tribute set
Marcus Intalex’s tragic death earlier this year was both shocking and heartbreaking for the entire drum & bass scene. We reviewed one of his predictably fantastic shows only this February in Bristol. Everyone connected to the genre was quick to pay their respects, and we have already personally witnessed some emotional musical tributes from the likes of Fabio and Groverider. Such a towering figure deserves the fitting tribute being held in the Med School Warehouse by giants ST Files, who cofounded Marcus’s label, Soul:R, and Calibre, whose own label, Signature Recordings, has much in common. Expect an energetic celebration of life, packed with emotion.
Such is dnb’s longevity that it can never be accused of being static. However, there are always those who try and push the boundaries of the genre that little bit further. A few years ago, Ivy Lab made considerable waves with their 20:20 project and ever since, the minimal/halftime avenues have been at the forefront of the genre. Alix Perez’s own artistic development has shadowed this trend. Early soulful liquid tunes on the likes of Shogun Audio are gone, though still crop up in his sets. Bass oriented and experimental efforts on the likes of Exit Records, Critical Recordings, and most recently, his own brand 1985, are his new hallmark, whilst still maintaining the strong hip hop influences that permeated his ealier work. Perez’s mastery of the half time sub-genre, his innovation and aptitude make him a must see. If you’re after the darker side of drum and bass, look no further.
Don’t like drum and bass? Well, this is probably not the festival for you. But, if you like your dnb with a little on the side, then the Deep Medi stage is worth visiting. Mala’s label has been at the heart of the dubstep scene almost since its inception, and the boss brings an insane lineup with him to grace their own stage. Though recently most notorious for releasing Sir Spyro’s grimey club killer ‘Topper Top’, that’s been belted non-stop for two years, the dub kings also bring heart-palpitation-inducing sub bass and a range of trademark sounds across their artists. Those used to watching Deep Medi will be excited to see the influence of the Roots of Jungle themed artists (including Randall and Kenny Ken) on their sets.
Tickets are very nearly sold out, so get yours here before it’s too late! See you all there.