Having a Field Day

Art & Lit Music

Tom Hoskins champions Field Day

With the vile loos, muddy campsites and topless teenagers absent, and taking place over just one day, it may seem strange to classify Field Day as a festival. Yet its music line-up and general atmosphere is able to rival even the best of the long weekend festivals. Last year saw artists of the moment – Grimes, Kindness, Gold Panda – alongside artists after their moment but still more than credible – Mazzy Star, Franz Ferdinand, Beirut – and those still rising – The Haxan Cloak, Hudson Mohawke, Toy. Even though this would have sufficed for a day’s entertainment, there were still circus rides, brass bands under big tops, better and more varied food (mango bread…) and drink than at large festivals, raffles, Women’s Institute tents and jubilee celebrations with traditional English village games: sack races, winkle eating, teabag tossing, three-legged races and cornet blowing, among others.

field day

Field Day attracts a surprising range of people, yet uniquely for a festival (except perhaps the more specialised, such as Download) it is a love for music which unites them all. This shared appreciation helps create an excited and generally optimistic feel, except for the select few who vent their anger at not being able to see someone such as Grimes at the height of her popularity, blaming the organisers and not realising that the obsessed fans have probably been in the tent all afternoon waiting for her set.

Even if the atmosphere might not be as celebratory as last summer (the village games and hay bails could make a re-appearance if there’s an extremely premature baby though), the organisers have improved and diversified the music offering even further. Highlights are sure to come from Animal Collective, who are now at a level fit to headline almost any festival, and Savages, whose refined and direct image and intention have stirred up deserved hype. If the sun appears, Kurt Vile, Wild Nothing and Jagwar Ma could be rather special too. The electronic side has maintained its quality, with the established Four Tet, Daphni and Mount Kimbie partnered next to the more recent TNGHT and Disclosure. Amongst all this, John Cooper Clarke will be delivering his customary stream of conscious ramblings and maybe even some poetry if you’re lucky. And there’s also Solange, the better of the two Knowles (and Field Day is half the price of a ticket to see her sister at the O2, where there certainly won’t have been chairoplanes as well). Obviously it’s not completely perfect, but it is a good sign that bands like Palma Violets seem out of place on the line up.

Essentially, Field Day is perfect if you actually like music, don’t enjoy watching a band with a naked and wasted post-GCSE idiot jumping against you, don’t have too much money, hate camping or if you are bored of weekends in Oxford with students in the library, tourists on the streets and Frank Turner and his deluded disciples in the O2 Academy yet again.