Field Day 2011
Presented as an embellished pro/con list.
Pro: A variety of musical highlights, notably Sun Ra Arkestra (like ATP 2009, they were the highlight of the day for energy and excitement in what was an unfortunately short set), Konono No.1 (replete with the usual array of thumb pianos and car parts and introduced by a French man in a white suit who looked all colonial master-like) and Michael Mayer, whose set was ‘shit hot’. The Coral were also surprisingly good for the small section I saw, an unexpected treat considering I’m really not a fan. Pearson Sound was pretty dull though.
Con: Oneohtrix Point Never. His set sounded like a series of offcut loops from The Field’s new album, and not anything like the analogue – or pretend analogue – synth stuff he has been producing for the last few years. Lopatin waving his arms in a loop to emphasise, you know, the loops he was using was also pretty ill considered. Hey guys, I’m just pressing play. I also expected something more from Omar Souleyman, but I don’t know what…maybe some additional instrumentation or something.
Con: Crowds. Attempting to get in to any of the oversubscribed tents. Just possible if you got there early enough, but that usually meant missing something else. Ariel Pink was especially bad. Walking past Jamie XX to get to the Main Stage involved entering one of five slow moving queues, and the crowd for James Blake (who had serious sound issues) appeared to be made up of any number of dancing face painted twats¹ who were happy to spill their tasteless and overpriced beer over you whilst jumping about in their deck shoes and retarded hats. Having said that, there were less hipsters than I expected/had been lead to believe would be attending.
Pro: Seeing a number of friends who I only normally get to see at Christmas. Highlights included Robin’s crab dance, Tom furnishing me with an unexpected Brion Gysin book and, at the close, whilst trying to sit back and relax for Gruff Rhys, me and Robin seeing a woman pissing up a tree trunk.
Con: The stream of piss snaking out from the urinal area to the back of the Laneway Stage. And the huge amount of rubbish generated by the audiences…rivalling day three of T in the Park, which is impressive.
Pro: Decent food and non booze related drink from the Venn Street Market (to contrast all the shit by the Main Stage). Not especially-long queues when I went, compared to the mess of burger vans opposite Bugged Out! – their exclamation mark, not mine! (but that one is!)
Con: £4.10 for alcohol, the options being a half bottle of cider or a can of San Miguel. No chance of getting close to the Real Ale tent; I’m a snob who won’t drink stuff that tastes of weak piss.
All in all, the event was way too busy for the space it was held in…it needed cutting back by like 7000 people (it was bearable earlier in the day), which would have been manageable in the current space, or else the site needs expanding. The queues for women – or men needing a shit – at the toilets were nuts, something like 20 minutes. Having said that, the food was fair, the music (for the most part) was engaging and it was good seeing people I haven’t seen much of this year, what with the whole living-nowhere-near-anyone thing.
But what are the overall scores?
Pro Total: 3
Con Total: 4
¹ Gutted. I could have been a tiger. A tiger.