After a busy summer of touring up and down the country for festivals, how better to finish up than with one that is right on my doorstep for a end of the summer blowout?
Sundown Festival was all set to be a real mind-melter, with a great line-up perfect for everybody from dance music junkies to pop princesses, and it certainly lived up to expectations. Living up here in Norfolk, it is easy to feel like all the bigger artists bypass us on their tours, so it was great to have a chance to see so many on one stage in front of 30,000 music fans. For those who happened to be camping, I hear they were in for a real treat with the exclusive opening party on the Friday night which gave campers the chance to see some great DJ’s warming up the tent that was to house the Defected and RAM labels over the next two days.Rocking up on the Saturday, along with a huge group of raving buddies, we were all ready to party and couldn’t wait to see the main stage all lit up by Chase and Status that night. Walking into the festival in the sunshine – luckily the rain mostly stayed away – I could see it was one of the smallest I have been to yet. This gave it a great exclusive feel and was perfect for the families with young children and large groups who wanted to keep track of each other throughout the day. It was great for us, living nearby meant there were lots of people we knew there and it was quite funny to keep bumping into them. It also meant you could quickly and easily move between the stages so there was no excuse for missing your favourite acts.Sadly we arrived just a little too late to catch Foxes’ performance and only heard it from the entrance – but she sounded amazing and I’m sure her performance matched the incredible show she gave at Secret Garden Party.
Pusha T was up next and already the audience was packing out the area around the main stage and were singing and dancing along to every word. At this point we lost our friends in the crowd, but soon found them leaping around in the surging crowd while the others headed to the bar. Unfortunately, quite a lot of time was spent waiting in queues for either the toilets or the bar, and this was one failing of the festival. Out of all of those I have attended throughout the summer, it had the biggest queues for both which did take away from the time spent actually enjoying the acts. Perhaps for next year we need more portaloos and more staff on the bars for quicker service? Along the same lines – perhaps a better system for allowing revellers to exit the Showground after the event – it took us a very long time to get out and we couldn’t see any signs directing to the shuttle buses and taxis.As the sun started to lower in the sky, a special moment at Sundown Festival, we enjoyed performances from Katy B, who had the whole crowd singing along to every passionate note before the one-and-only Tine Tempah took to the stage. Having donned an all-white top and trousers combo, he shone like a beacon of cleanliness in the middle of the festival fields and it certainly meant we could see him from right at the back of the field, where our group had found a great spot to sit and watch the acts. Bringing masses of energy, attitude and plenty of cheekiness to the stage, he bust out hits like Frisky and Lover Not A Fighter. No matter whether you prefer his older or newer stuff, you can’t deny his songs are catchy and we couldn’t help but dance along with the rest of the crowd.Of course, the festival wasn’t all at the Main Stage, there was plenty going on at Stage 2 with Defected staging a label takeover on the Saturday featuring acts like Shadowchild, Second City, Breach and Cristoph – perfect for the house-heads in our group! Sadly we missed the first few acts while we were partying over by the Main Stage, but we made sure to catch the end of Breach and the whole of MK’s set – both brilliant! It was so great to see MK live again, the last time was at Hideout Festival last summer and although amazing then, it is clear he ups his game with each and every performance. As soon as the beats drew to a close, we headed straight back to the Main Stage, all buzzing with excitement for Chase and Status. Probably the one act on the line-up that we all agreed on with no question, Chase and Status are regulars in Norwich, but it was brilliant to see them up on the Main Stage at a festival. They certainly know how to deliver an epic performance and we were right in the middle of it with mosh pits on either side – how better to end the first night of a festival?