Eastville Park, Bristol
It once felt like Castle Park would always be the spiritual home of Love Saves The Day.
The team behind the event had done an amazing job of transforming a city centre event into a truly joyful experience, with a level of festival production that felt at home at boutique festivals like Shambala. Over three years, LSTD has prided itself for bringing a sense of real festival madness to an inner-city location, and it was especially impressive when that location was as central to Bristol as Castle Park. The location was part of its ethos; you don’t have to travel far to feel soaked in the love of 7000 or so music enthusiasts losing inhibitions in a field, in fact, it’s happening right on your doorstep.
It was with trepidation, then, that we arrived at their new, expanded location in Eastville Park. But we needn’t have worried: the production this year was the most impressive yet, having transferred their own specific brand of joyful abandon to a much larger space. The characteristic gleeful atmosphere prevailed, with a hoard of smiling faces walking lazily from stage to stage without a trace of tireless line-up checking. There seemed to be a general thrill to be in the space, whether that meant getting married in an inflatable church, sipping cocktails from a caravan, trying not to break a limb at the rollerdisco, or getting down to the hedonistic glitter-smothered orgy that was Shambarber’s Temple of Lust, a sure highlight of the event.
As for musical highlights, we closed Saturday out to rock solid sets from Âme and Craig Richards, conserving our energy for the relay of Ghost Culture, Daniel Avery, Floating Points and Four Tet on Sunday’s Crack Stage. Having also soaked up a late afternoon burst of sunshine during Kelela’s laidback, sensual set and then hyped ourselves up to DJ EZ, the pinnacle of the weekend came in the form of Skepta’s headline slot. Opening with That’s Not Me, the unstoppable MC delivered a short, hit-filled set that included Too Many Man, Spaceship, a rendition of JME’s Man Don’t Care and the raucous finale of Shutdown. Like the huge crowds gathered for sets from Stormzy and Newham Generals (who were backed by DJ Barely Legal) also proved, the hype around Skepta shows that the level of interest in grime right now cannot be underestimated, and if there was one glaring error of judgement on the organiser’s behalf, it was that these guys needed to be on a bigger stage.
But all in all, Love Saves The Day’s had a successful upgrade in size, one that made the move from Castle Park feel like a positive progression rather than an unfortunate circumstance. Now that the doors are open to bigger crowds and line-ups, the hard part will be to maintain Love Save The Day’s carefree atmosphere.