Highlights of Community Festival 2019
Accompanied by dazzling sunshine, London hosted one of the most memorable indie parties of the summer last weekend.
Despite 2019 only being the third time that Community Festival has taken place, it has already marked itself as a yearly ritual for indie-lovers and an unmissable event as 35,000 fans gathered in North London’s Finsbury Park last Sunday. This year’s event saw some lovely sunshine, setting the perfect atmosphere for the indie tunes that characterised the festival and a covered floor in front of the main stage meant that the fear of having the typical muddy festival was further negated. Although the indie scene has been criticised for being over-saturated, it would have been unfair to apply this to the festival considering the diversity of acts. Even though all of the acts contributed to an unforgettable summer event, there were a few acts that stuck out amongst the rest and won’t be forgotten soon.
Opening up the whole festival were the riotous SWMRS, and there couldn’t have been a better choice for a festival opener. With raucous tracks like Trashbag Baby already lending itself to an upbeat energy, the band’s electric live shows elevated the spirit to a whole new level, and there was barely a moment where someone in the band wasn’t moving all over the stage. Recent track Lose Lose Lose was definitely a highlight of the set, as evidenced by a particular fan who was waving their crutches along in enthusiasm, and vocalist Cole Becker even mixed in Old Town Road in the middle of the track to the crowd’s delight. A more tender moment came in the form of Lose It, which saw people clambering onto each other’s shoulders for a soulful singalong to the gentle melody.
Whilst SWMRS teetered towards the more punk side of the festival, Blossoms were undoubtedly and classically indie. As the sweet sounds of Honey Sweet and Cool Like You chimed through the speakers, it embodied the community spirit referred to in the festival title, as everyone held their friends for a singalong, a dance, or both and revelled in this community spirit. With the band decked out in suits, the dashing ensemble captured the hearts of everyone in attendance with their laid-back tunes, and there remains little doubt that the Stockport quartet will go on to take over even bigger stages with their irresistible music.
As Blossoms concluded their set, it was clear that everyone was ready for more indie tunes and headliners of the main stage The Kooks stepped right up to the plate with their timeless sound and catchy hits. Playing a setlist that spanned their entire career, from the early hits of Eddie’s Gun that set everyone’s heart racing, to more recent Pamela that ensured no one was standing still, the band knew exactly how to charm their way into the crowd’s heart. With smiles on their faces, both band and crowd were clearly enjoying every moment, and it would not be a stretch to say that it’s impossible to have a good time when you’re watching The Kooks. As a confetti canon covered Finsbury Park in colour under the dusk glow, the encore of No Pressure and Naïve culminated in a deafening singalong, a sight to behold as the band wrapped up a day of festivities.
Meanwhile, the smaller N4 Stage is not to be neglected, as it brought some lesser-known gems of the scene for some unforgettable sets. London duo APRE are a prime example, getting the groove going with their off-kilter indie-pop blend that hypnotised the crowd and simply demanded you to have a jive along. The duo were a delight to not only listen to but watch as well as vocalist Charlie busted out some funky dance moves, such as twirls and kicks during Everybody Loves You, and their captivating stage presence marked them out as natural performers that are sure to charm even bigger crowds in the future. While Gap Year 2008 had the crowd singing along to the ‘la la la’s, All Yours covered everyone in a euphoric glow that leave nothing but fond memories of their set.
Headliners of the N4 Stage The Amazons ended on an electrifying high with their fiery rock songs that were wholly welcomed by the crowd, as evidenced by their eager cheer that followed when vocalist Matt Thomson questioned ‘you guys fucking like rock and roll?’. Stay With Me almost saw a mosh pit forming as everyone jumped along, and crowdsurfers were going over the barrier throughout most of the set. Junk Food Forever created a singalong so loud that Matt was blown away and took out his in-ears before restarting, so that he could hear the crowd better and the amazement was clear through the band’s ever-present smiles. With someone even hurling a shoe in the air for finale Black Magic, The Amazons couldn’t have performed a more impressive set to wrap up the stage.
Our personal highlight has to come in the form of arena rockers Don Broco, who whipped the whole main stage crowd into a frenzy with their different antics and energetic charisma. With pits already establishing during first song Pretty, the crowd was up on their feet for You Wanna Know then commanded down to their knees for Automatic, and there was never a moment of dullness. Unsurprisingly, everyone whipped off their t-shirts to swing around for finale T-Shirt Song for an unforgettable sight of coloured cloth spinning everywhere.
Community Festival 2019 has generated memory after memory, and we can’t wait to see what will happen in next year’s instalment of the festival.
Photos: Kasia Osowiecka