22 Jul 2015

Citadel Festival - an overview

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Last Sunday on a sunny afternoon, Victoria Park opened its gates to host Citadel festival, a new and exciting day event by the same organisers as Wilderness and Lovebox. Pinned to be an event  full of cultural experiences it was clear the day would not just a showcase of some of the best live acts around. Stalls of all varieties lined the edges of the festival grounds but along with the usual food and drink stands some were dedicated to some of East London's fashion scene selling vintage clothing and jewellery. Free Art Workshops were also available along with a fun roller disco, steam porting activities like volleyball and the ‘Sunday Papers’ (a afternoon of different talks about news and the sections of the newspaper).

The live music on offer was spread among 3 stages (main, Soundcrash and Communion) with acts such as Honeyblood, Rhodes, Dan Croll, Bear’s Den and Nick Mulvey performing on the Communion Stage, making it probably the most exciting of the three. There was also a 'Despacio Dance Tent' playing dancey house music to anyone who dared to enter the humid, darkened room. However the main buzz of the festival was surrounded by its headliners, made evident seen by the amount of band tees I saw over the space of the event. Earlier on in the year Ben Howard and Bombay Bicycle Club were announced as Citadel's headliners and as the area around the main stage was filled up before their sets it was easy to see which festival goers were there for which act.

A surprise to many, Bombay played first and kicked off the early evening by playing their usual festival set of crowd pleasing tunes to a crowd who accepted them with open arms. Jack Steadman thanked the fans many times, telling them how this was one of their only three festivals of the year which made the whole event extra special to all those involved. Always Like This went down well with the crowd as most of them danced in time to the brass band accompaniment. However with all festivals there was members of the crowd that were clearly only there to get a good spot for the following act. Almost mirroring their Wednesday night set - minus the encores and a few others - the band smashed their hour long slot and left their audience wishing and wanting more.

40 minutes after Bombay left the stage, Ben Howard appeared to the crowd of cheering fans. With a set 30 minutes longer than anyone who came before him, the entire audience was captivated by his voice and melodic music. Songs such as I Forgot Where We Were and Time Is Dancing were embraced eagerly by Howard's adoring fans, but to some disappointment the set was not divided well between his both albums - only 3 songs came from the more folky Every Kingdom. However, this small fact did not ruin the night for anyone there. Before Howard reappeared for his final few songs the crowd screamed and cheered whilst singing the opening tune of The Wolves only for him the reappear and go straight into this very same song, which was in turn followed by the upbeat Keep Your Head  up. His final song Esmerelda was a beautiful way to end such a perfect day. As the masses of people left the dust covered park many were still singing along to Howard's perfect lyrics.