Unity prevails at Love Saves the Day 2017

A feeling of excitement hits you as you get close to Bristol’s Eastville Park for Love Saves the Day. Now in its seventh year, the two-day festival’s production has gradually become more flamboyant, and the diverse range of stages and acts ranges from showcases of Bristol’s thriving underground to pioneering artists from across the world. It’s arguably the city’s most anticipated summer event.

Love Saves The Day has grown considerably since starting as a one-day event in the city centre in 2012 and Team Love, the festival’s organisers have built an empire that includes The Love Inn venue and Croatia’s Love International festival. That said, Love Saves The Day still retains its laid-back charm.

At the main stage on Saturday, Fatima Yamaha performed to an eager crowd, elevating the party with a future-bending discourse of electronic disco. Over at the Arcadia and Paradiso stages, killer programme clashes were on the cards as Hodge and Peverelist played at the same time as Amsterdam’s De School resident Job Jobse. Fresh from his latest release Tessellations, Peverelist – arguably one of the most exciting figures in Bristol’s electronic music scene – played sparse digital melodies over deep skipping of bass, wasting no time in channelling the sense of zoned-in euphoria.

This year’s Lost Garden stage held the festival’s first ever LGBT venue, where promoters Liam Norris (Switching Lanes) and Lewis Winter (Amour Ami) hosted under their collaborative title Bitch, Please!, a highlight of which involved Artwork shouting at security to ‘dance for me, motherfucker!’.

We opt for seeing Hunee in the headliner spot over at the Brouhana (Futureboogie) stage. Easily one of dance music’s most likeable souls, Hunee’s enthusiasm was contagious as he lured punters to the dancefloor with an eclectic mix of electronica, disco and afrobeat. Though more volume on the soundsystem would have been very much welcome, an exciting sense of community was felt as the sun set pinkly over Eastville Park.

Sunday was met with noticeably more sparse crowds, perhaps with so many people anticipating hangovers, or being swayed on the day by the torrential weather predictions. Crack Magazine took over the Paradiso stage for the day, where the fearless rapper, poet and activist Mykki Blanco delivered a ferocious combination of DJing and performance art, as he dangled himself off the stage frame, above the crowd, and outside the tent, coaxing partygoers from their second day slumps.

With the evening drawing in, there is brief time for recuperation before heading to the Main Stage, where hundreds of festival-goers anticipate the arrival of seven-piece band, Fat Freddy’s Drop. Trumpeter Toby Laing has been quoted in the past saying, “live performance is the most natural state for music,” and this can definitely be felt in the group’s sheer, jazzy energy and improvisations.

Elated, we return, loyally, to the Crack Magazine stage, where the atmosphere had been galvanised by rising rapper Stefflon Don, who instigated a ladies-only stage invasion. Toronto four-piece Badbadnotgood then closed with a set that incorporated elements of funk, contemporary jazz and hip-hop, winding down the weekend finale with impressive musicianship which provided a little respite from a line-up mostly based of DJs and MCs.

Ever-growing and expanding, Team Love’s success can be credited to a tight-knit group of people whose attention to their audience is reflective of their success both in and outside of Bristol. And considering recent events in Manchester, the weekend’s spirits were not dampened. See you next year.

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