Tuesday, 19 March 2013

BBC Radio 1's Hackney (Big) Weekend

(Not in the books)

Be warned now people... this is going to be a loooooooooooooooong post...

Ok, so remember last summer we had the greatest show on earth come to London? To celebrate that, @BBCR1 and @1Xtra put on their greatest Big Weekend to date. On the weekend of 23/24 June 2012, the Big Weekend came to my little home borough of Hackney. AMAZING!!!

Trying to get a ticket wasn't easy, you first had to register online, upload a photo etc first by a specific date. Then on a separate date you had to try and  actually apply for tickets. As I was living in one of the Olympic host boroughs, we had a large allocation of tickets, so I was really really hopeful that I was going to get one. The time came to try and get a ticket... and the system crashed spectacularly because SO many people were trying to get tickets. This worried me greatly as I feared I wouldn't be able to get a ticket.

Thankfully I did! Yay! Cost me a whopping £2.50 though... usually the big weekends are free but with the size of this weekend (usually it's 20,000 people a day and this time it was 50,000 people a day!!) they had to add a booking fee. And for all the amazing artists that I was going to see, £2.50 wasn't a bad price to pay.

A few weeks later I got this in the post.

As you can see I opted to go for the Sunday rather than the Saturday, as for me the line up was better (and a lot more of the artists were originally from East London). Although the Saturday did have Kasabian, Ed Sheeran, Example, Rizzle Kicks, will.i.am, Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia who I'd love to have seen. But I'd already seen Example and Rizzle Kicks before, and because I only lived about a 2 mile walk away from Hackney Marshes, I was lucky enough to be able to hear both of them from my garden when they were on stage anyway :)

The weather was meant not meant to be all that great, lots of rain along with some sunshine too... the Saturday had had lots of rain too, and as this was being held on marshland, it was time to wear my awesome wellies... and well, it wouldn't be a proper festival if it wasn't all muddy right?

Cool eh? Oh come on, this was all to celebrate the Olympics and I was just starting to support Team GB already! 

So you were advised to get there early as there was so many people to turn up. So I got there at 10.30am expecting it to take up to an hour to get through security - which is what we were told to expect.

10 minutes later I was in.

Hmm... now with the first music act not coming on stage until mid-day, I had quite a while to wait. So of course I went a grabbed myself a beer and had a wonder around the massive site.

There were 6 stages in all...

DJ Stage
Dance Arena
1Xtra Stage
BBC Introducing Stage
In New Music We Trust Stage
And finally... the Main Stage
To get an idea of just how big these tents are, the photo's below are of them fairly empty... 

Now imagine them full with people... awesome :)

While wondering around, I brought myself for all intents and purposes a programme. Not a paper one but a lanyard. Now, it was about £7 I think, but was so useful as it told you what times things were on and you could clearly see if the artists you wanted to see were going to clash.

Now I had this I was able to see when the acts I wanted to see were on stage, and fingers crossed they weren't going to clash with each other. Sadly there was a couple of acts  I wasn't going to be able to see, but in the majority I was going to get to see all everyone I wanted to. EXCELLENT! Some acts started and finished at the same time, so some I had to cut short, but at least I'd still get to see them.

Soon enough it was almost mid-day so I wandered over to the DJ stage to watch the legend that is Tim Westwood in action.

Tim was on until 12.45 but over in the In New Music We Trust stage, Bombay Bicycle Club were due on at 12.45 so off I went about 12.35 to go have a listen to them on the other side of the area.

I'll be honest, don't know all that much stuff from them, but what I had heard on the radio I'd liked. They were pretty good. They also saved me from the downpour that happened while they were on stage... some serious rain!

I couldn't stay for their whole set, because at 1.15pm (when they were due to finish) the first act was due on the main stage. So off I trundled in the puddles and mud... 

...to go watch local Hackney lad Professor Green!

Pro Green was brilliant. I really really really enjoyed his set. And although it rained for the majority of the set, that didn't dampen anyone's spirits. There is a video below, but apologies for the poor quality of sound. It was so loud that the microphone on my camera couldn't handle it.

Once Pro Green had finished his set, I had half an hour to waste until the next act I wanted to see was on stage. So off I went to the DJ Stage again as there was a sound off between Vernon Kay and Charlie Sloth.

Nothing quite like having a rave up in the early afternoon in the middle of a field :)

About 2.10pm, I headed back over to the main stage as at 2.20pm one of the main acts I'd come to see was due on stage. The awesome Plan B.

Plan B came on stage and there were technically issues. Boo! It had been (and still was) pouring with rain so I'm thinking that was a lot to do with it. However, luckily for us, Plan B has a resident beatboxer, Faith SFX so while they were trying to sort out all the technical stuff, he was our entertainment - who needs other stuff when your voice is all you need. He was very good.

Finally everything was sorted out and Plan B was about to come back on stage and do his thing. The first half of his act was from album, The Defamation of Strickland Banks.

And the second half was from Ill Manors.

Plan B was just immense. I enjoyed his set so SO much. Especially when he did the song Ill Manors, the whole crowd went absolutely mental. 

The video below is a official BBC montage of Pro Green and Plan B  much better quality than my vid's sadly :( It also has people like Jessie J on it, so you can just skip past that rubbish.

I wanted to see Sub Focus next, but they weren't on until 3.45pm so I had a little time to kill. Maverick Sabre was going to be on the 1xtra stage at 3.35pm so I wandered over there. He's not my first choice of artist I must be honest, but he was born in Hackney so I felt obliged to go! 

He wasn't bad, but I left after a song or two as I wanted to get my rave on to Sub Focus in the INMWT tent. I can't even remember how I got to find out about Sub Focus, but I'd known about them for a good 18 months or so before the big weekend. Rave was on and this really got me in the mood for my final act of the night.

All sorts of ages enjoy a bit of dance :)

Up next for me at 4.40pm was Tinie Tempah on the main stage, who I was really looking forward to seeing.

Some people weren't so sure about him when he first came about with Pass Out but I was there from the beginning. And I'm glad to say he didn't disappoint me :)

Two of my favorite tracks that he has done is Miami to Ibiza with the Swedish House Mafia and Pass Out (as mentioned above). Have got a couple of clips that I took of both these songs below. Again, apologies that the sound isn't that fantastic on them - but you more than get the idea of what a great time we all had!

Miami to Ibiza
Pass Out

Well done Tinie Tempah - you totally rocked it!

He finished his set at 5.20pm, and there wasn't anyone I was interested in until 6.05pm when Florence and her machine were due on the main stage. I did pop along to see Lana Del Ray for a whole 5 mins or so, but she was pretty pants so I went and sat in the sunshine for a while.

Soon it was time for Florence to come on stage, so after my spot of sunbathing I took myself back over to the main stage.

I'll be honest, although I like a few of her songs, I wasn't sure if she was going to really be my cup of tea, as she's well, as nutty as a fruitcake.

How wrong was I. Ok, so she is definitely nutty as a fruitcake, but boy can she sing and she has this amazing stage presence.

I do think she thinks she's some sort of fairy... which there is nothing wrong with! I'm not farist (that's a word right?) or anything like that. She was just truly incredible and I loved her whole set. Below are a couple of clips I took... you know the score - bad sound, but awesome atmosphere!

Shake It Up
You've Got The Love
Dog Days

Dog Day's is my absolute favorite Florence song, and she belted it out. Great show.

If you wanna have a look at her set properly and not my rubbish filming, have a butchers at the YouTube clip below from the BBC.

She finished at 6.50pm and I had fair bit of time ahead of me. There was a "Surprise Guest" on at 7.30pm at the main stage, so I had half an hour or so to kill. So I went off exploring for (what felt like) the 100th time. Did come across some sights though...

This was by far my favourite one... guess this dude felt it was easier to walk barefoot in the mud rather than try walking in shoes... unless he didn't have shoes to begin with... Hmm... I think he lost a bet personally! He was either very clever or very stupid to walk in it barefooted!

Anyhoo, about 7.15pm-ish I wondered over to the main stage to find out who the special guest was gonna be. And it was...

Now initially I was really excited to see him, but you know what? He was quite disappointing for me. I think I expected a lot more from him and he didn't deliver it for me. Although gladly everyone else seemed to be enjoying him.

After 15 mins or so I left all the people above to Dizzee and I took myself off to the INMWT stage to get ready for my favourite act of the whole day due on stage at 8pm - Chase and Status!

I'd seen Chase and Status at the @RoundhouseLDN before, so I knew what to expect and I'm so glad they didn't let me down. I had an hour of getting my rave on majorly and loved every second of it!! As did everyone else in the tent.

And this was the only act that I saw all day to have a mosh pit... which I avoided at all costs! :)

Chase and Status were everybit as fatastic as they were at the @RoundhouseLDN. And having so many people there too made the experience all the better. The clip below has the worst sound of all of the clips I've added on here, but the atmosphere was just the best as the clip will show.

Let You Go

And for those of you who'd actually like to hear and see them properly, here's another BBC YouTube clip (which is only marginally better than mine! :p) of the whole set.

Chase and Status - legends.

Sadly they finished at 9pm. Rihanna was on the main stage from 9pm, but I decided to catch the last 10 mins of David Guetta in the Dance tent.

Ideally I'd have liked to have seen a lot more of him, but with Chase and Status on stage at the same time as him I only got to see the end. Although if I'd known before that Dizzee would have been such a let down, I would have gone see the beginning of David Guetta's set. Bad judgement call from me on that one.

What I did see of him though I enjoyed. Bet he's relieved about that!

Rihanna really isn't my idea of a good artist, but I couldn't not go and have a look at her set before I went home. Although she isn't for me, she is one of the biggest artists in the world and she was in my little borough! So off I trotted to the main stage for the last time...

She had quite the set with some Egyptian Spinx... as you do.

And I did get to hear her do the only song of her's I really like - Where Have You Been. So that was quietly cool... but sssssh don't tell anyone!

Where Have You Been

I left not long after. Apparently Jay-Z came on stage with her, but to be honest, I wasn't at all bothered. As I was walking home, I could hear them singing anyway.

So there you have it... my experience at the @BBCR1, @1Xtra and BBC 3 Hackney Weekend. Something that will never ever be repeated and I got to go. Such a very lucky girl I was. Was truly one of the best days of my life, but left me totally knackered at the end of it!!

I know I'm soooooooooooo late to the party with this, but a massive thank you to everyone at the BBC and Hackney Council for putting this awesome weekend on in my wonderful little home borough of Hackney. We showed the rest of the UK that Hackney (and East London in general) is actually a very awesome place to be from - not that I didn't know that already. Am proud to be from Hackney and always will be.

Hackney, I heart you.

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