Last weekend, some of the Nitelife team returned to our spiritual home, Love Saves the Day. Annually marking the beginning of Bristol’s festival season, it’s put on by a team of genuine music lovers with years of event experience between them – getting better year on year. In fact, it’s one of the only festivals I can think of where original ticket buyers don’t keep referring to ‘the good old days’.

From 5,000 people in Castle Park at their first one-day event in 2012, to 20,000 people flocking to Eastville Park each day for this year’s festival, Love Saves the Day  has grown organically with demand from fans – not investors.

Love Saves the Day is known for showcasing different sounds on different days, with Saturday being for the house, disco and techno fans, and Sunday catering to the bass heads. While I’m personally firmly in the Sunday camp, the amount of fun I had on Saturday proves that there is far more to Love Saves the Day than just the music, with general good vibes and silliness in abundance.

While I’m personally firmly in the Sunday camp, the amount of fun I had on Saturday proves that there is far more to Love Saves the Day than just the music, with general good vibes and silliness in abundance

There are also enough stages dotted around the festival that it’s certain you’ll find something you can dance to. I was kept happy most of Saturday between Shambarber’s house and disco-loving Temple of Lust, and the Dance Off stage, which was hosted all day by DJ Die’s Gutterfunk, with sets from Die, Zed Bias and Trigga, Addison Groove and Dismantle.

There are enough stages dotted around the festival that it’s certain you’ll find something you can dance to

Although I’d been planning on catching Crazy P at the Main Stage, unfortunately I got bored of waiting once they were approaching an hour late, and took myself off to fall over a few times to the funky sounds coming from the Roller Disco instead.

However, a group of friends and Crazy P virgins I’d convinced to come see them did hang on, and enjoyed it so much that they downloaded their last album as soon as they got home.

Sunday could have begun on a bad note, when hordes of self-entitled people kept rushing the queue barriers, but love did save the day – with a gooey sense of camaraderie between the majority of non-pushers (who banded together to hold the barriers down) stopping it from ruining anyone’s mood too much.

It did mean queuing took much longer than their usual quick march, so we missed out on D Double E and the first half of Holy Goof, which we’d been planning on catching, but we were in and reacclimated in time for the mighty Shy FX.

Veering away from his usual harder sound, Shy FX gave us a set with a bit more of a dancehall lean

Veering away from his usual harder sound, Shy FX gave us a set with a bit more of a dancehall lean – in fact, he didn’t even play his staple banger Original Nuttah, but we were all enjoying this new flavour so much we didn’t care.

Next, we made our way over to see the second half of Bristol’s favourite soundsystem producer, Kreed who was joined by Gardna and Parly B, before pegging it over to Love Saves the Day’s brand new stage The Lost Gardens to catch the end of fierce up-and-coming rapper Kojey Radical, who despite not having the biggest of crowds, managed to keep everyone moving at the front of the stage – ensuring that I and probably everyone else at that stage will make sure to catch him again when he’s back in Bristol at the end of the summer.

After a quick look in at local heroes My Nu Leng, which seemed to be going off up at the front, we decided to set up camp at Hold Tight’s Brouhaha stage, where we lost a few hours skanking to Numa Crew and Vivek, and the beginning of Egoless – including his excellent ska remix of Benga and Coki’s Night – before heading over to the Dance Off for an old school set from Zinc.

we decided to set up camp at Hold Tight’s Brouhaha stage, where we lost a few hours skanking to Numa Crew and Vivek

We stayed on at the Dance Off hoping for a bit of original grime from Heartless Crew, although after a few songs and much confusion from the crowd, it became clear that they were doing a drum and bass set – which is apparently their thing now. The nostalgia-chasers like me left the crowd, leaving plenty of happy ravers to continue where they left off from Zinc.


Sunday’s closing set caused some controversy within my group, with most heading off to see Fat Freddy’s Drop, and those of us of sound mind going to see the brilliant Kano, who took to The Blast’s Cloud 9 stage with a full live band, including a pianist, drummer and tuba player.

Kano took to the Cloud 9 stage with a full live band, including a pianist, drummer and tuba player

The majority focus was on last year’s Made in the Manor album, but not without a few classics like Mic Check, Reload It, Garage Skank, and of course, Ps and Qs weaved through.

Kano’s set was right on point and the talented MC was fully engaging for every second of it – even coming down into the crowd at one point – giving us what felt like a genuinely explosive end to the festival. Even those friends who had gone to see Fat Freddy’s made it over to have a dance to Kano’s last few songs, after admitting they got a bit bored at the Main Stage.

It’s hard to imagine how the Love Saves team will be able to top this year’s festival in 2018, but we’re already looking forward to it.

Photography by Here & Now  // Here & Now Instagram

 

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