Festival: Hackney Weekend Review

Rascals, machines, umbrella(ella, ella, ella)s and Jessie J jealousy… 

Tor Cameron takes on Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend last Sunday. 

After a rainy start to the morning the sun came out and blessed a mixed crowd to a warm day of pop music and partying at Hackney Marshes on Sunday. Popping to the shops in Stoke Newington to get supplies around 10am, I noticed plenty of kids looming in their wellies and Sunday best, no one appearing over the age of 20. This was going to be a FUN day!

Being a little older than the average punters, we opted for a few hours of prep time at home and arrived fashionably late around 3pm. We missed Santigold and Bombay Bicycle Club who I would’ve liked to see but hey, free festival, right?! We first indulged my boyfriends crush by watching a bit of Jessie J, she was actually pretty good, has a great voice, worked the crowd etc. Didn’t stop me from flashing daggers as the boy went on about how hot she is….anyhoo…Also, note to dude with large obnoxious umbrella, IT WASN’T EVEN RAINING. Thanks.

Moving on to drop some friends at Sub Focus while we went to use THE CLEANEST FESTIVAL TOILETS I’VE EVER EXPERIENCED! A highlight in itself and no queues, we then went on to see my highlight of the day, Azealia Banks at the 1Xtra Stage. This girl has some serious ‘tude. Loved it, crowd went mental for 212, we shouted and danced like angry teenagers (with all the angry teenagers) then moved on to meet some friends back at the Hackney Weekend sign. Handy meeting point.

They had been at Maverick Sabre who were awesome on all accounts, we now took some down time to see Friction at the nearby outdoor DJ stage. Glorious, glorious sunshine, it felt like half the festival flocked to this stage and were just stomping it out in the heat. Great moment to look around and see such a mix of people all getting down and having a gay old time. Nice one Hackney!

Some of the chums were up for some Florence and the Machine, not a major fan myself but BOY CAN SHE BELT OUT SOME SOUND! We sat on the grass and had some greasy awful festival food. The food situ was actually a bit lacking compared to some other festivals I’ve been to, there was one vegetarian/vegan stall but the line was massive so I ended up with a dodgy fajita and some jerk chicken (see Rihanna paragraph below).

Back at the “In New Music We Trust” stage for some Magnetic Man and a bit of Chasing Status, crowd getting very dancey and bouncy now. At 7.30pm we headed back to the Main Stage to find out who the special guest would be. SQUEAL! Would it be Drake to perform with RiRi? Maybe Kanye would do a longer gig after his cameo with Jay-Z on Saturday? Or, shudder, would the rumours of Cheryl Cole come to fruition (special guest issit)? OHAI Dizzy Rascal! You could see the crowd divide into those who considered this a “Special Guest” and those who saw this as sloppy seconds. Our grouped mainly formed the latter. Sorry, but if you fill a lineup with big international acts and new talent, a long time festival favourite doesn’t seem all too “special”…ANYWAY, free festival, can’t complain so I shan’t.

Ultimate end to the cheese fest and time to indulge my ULTIMATE girl crush and secret shame top artist on Spotify. Rihanna was brilliant, from the moment Emma and I waved our half eaten jerk chicken bones at her until we were shouting out the lyrics to umbrella, I was the happiest girl in the world for that last hour. Nice one RiRi.

As the last act finished it was a controlled and well mannered crowd that surged from the marshes onto the streets of Hackney. Great day had by all, not the kind of music I would usually go to see live in all truth but that was some mega fun. Thanks BBC! YEEEEEP!


It’s All Happening… Bethnal Green Festival

Where: Bethnal Green’s Gallery Cafe
When: Saturday 23rd June.

It’s All Happening… It’s an all day event… It’s at the lovely Gallery cafe on Old Ford Road (which by the way serves up an excellent brownie), AND all profits to charity.

It’s a day of their favourite things (It’s All Happening Music), and these are some of them… Folk music, indie bands, spoken word, poetry, theatre, a craft market, art display and dancing.

Headlining is the Communion signed Alessi’s Ark, along with Soulmates Never Die and Silent Devices, and on the spoken word stage the bill is topped by Ruby Kid. Early Doors Disco, who make their home at the Kings Cross Drink Shop Do will be finishing off the night with their bedtime friendly approach to partying!

Looks like a wonderful line up with an fun day of doing, dancing and having a good time away from the overcrowded Hackney Festival on Saturday taking over Hackney Marshes with soggy pop.

It runs from 1pm to 11pm, and tickets are £8 in advance HERE or £10 on the door.

Join the Facebook event page for more details or do the old fashioned thing and check out their website http://itsallhappeningmusic.blog.com/gigs/, or even follow @iah_music.

Land of Kings – Friday Review

From the outset the Friday night of the 2012 Land of Kings Festival was crazy good fun, a night of variety, talented performers and general japes around Dalston.

Being super excited at the prospect of a festival in the neighbourhood I decided to work from home for the afternoon to be first in line for my wristband. So 6pm on the dot I was loitering outside Magnolia on Stoke Newington High Street wondering if I had the right place. 45 minutes later we were finally let in to get our wristbands and take a glance. Magnolia was a surprising treat, the long carpeted hallway leading to a huge dance floor and DJ setup with the first act already in full swing.

A friend had convinced us all to buy additional tickets for the Bestcleo “3 course dinner” and performance  (http://www.bestcleo.com/). For an extra fiver, we were all dubious to what this “3 course dinner” might have in store, and with the performance taking place in a local greasy spoon (on the corner of Ashwin Street and Dalston Lane) we all abstained from any face stuffing activities beforehand to allow for maximum gut space during the event. We were given a plastic cup with what smelt like a shot of vodka sloshing around the bottom and told to take a seat.

A respectably dressed elderly gent stood up and announced that for the next 35 minutes he would give a lecture on the difference between religion and belief. Thankfully this only lasted 20 minutes, our vodka was replenished throughout and the first course arrived….a dry bagel! YUM! Over the course of the next hour or so we were served a plate of pasta with a ketchup garnish, a hot cross bun with jam (delight!) and exposed to the Bestcleo dancers gyrating between the tables, one even face planting my friends lap and refusing to move. FUN! After a round of word bingo on the big screen, we decided to head off. In future I might load up on booze and other food first to avoid the overhanging desire to abort mission and get to the parties!

Full of carby goodness, we hit the Dalston Roof Park. It’s one of those ace places you come across in London that are made for sunny summer evenings hanging out with your mates. If only we had more of those in London! (as an aside, I went there with some friends this Saturday when it actually was sunny, we drank Absinthe cocktails and enjoyed an AMAZING view of the sun setting over East London…when it happens it is so GOOD!!!) It was fairly quiet when we arrived at the roof garden, so we had a nosey around then shot off to the Shacklewell Arms  to see Bos Angeles play.

With a lush, beachy summertime feel to their tunes, Bos Angeles played a light hearted set to a small crowd. It was a nice vibe to start the musical side of our evening, the only sourness caused by my own sense of impending doom when faced with the youth of these talented young chaps. I had to fight the urge to go up to the lead singer and grab his little cheeks and let him know that one day he would be old and jaded like me! So a pint down and we headed to meet some friends at new Dalston outfit, Birthdays.

We arrived to a packed out downstairs bar for Trophy Wife. Squashing our way to the front to find our mates, the vibe here was much more rowdy than it had been at Shacklewell Arms and whether due to the fact the night was getting on (10.30pm by this point) or the performers were a little more established and polished, this was a great gig. The venue still held a fresh paint smell we aren’t accustomed to in Dalston but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it grimes up and becomes a favourite.

Next was a mission for the singletons of the group to experience what the Land of Kings program described as a “Live Art Speed Date”…ok, so not so much for the singletons, more because I was getting rowdy and demanding by this point and decided that’s where I was going! Luckily the team gave into my charms and we headed to the Dalston Boys club to check out this night curated by the Stoke Newington International Airport.

My first memory of this place (once we found it, around the back to the right of Vortex) is my friend Nola greeting me with a craft knife and a potato stamp and saying “They really shouldn’t give knives to drunk people, it’s a bad idea!” UNNERVING. But a few potato stamps later and we were enjoying the vibe and observing the loosely organised dating activities….somehow a human pyramid was formed, there seemed to be a lot of balloon blowing going on and an MC (unsuccessfully) trying to instigate random snogs. The venue is like wandering into a relative’s garage, random stuff everywhere…which is probably just as dangerous as knives for drunk people. We had fun. Then we wanted to see NZCA Lines at Vortex.

I had been listening to NZCA Lines and had read about him recently in Crack Magazine. Upstairs at Vortex is a great venue for the light show that accompanied the mellow synth and vocals of Michael Lovett and we stuck it out here until the end of the gig. Good dancey stuff.

By now it was 1am and some of our party were waning. We headed back to Dalston Boys club to catch Caze Nove, had a dance, met some strangers and posed for photos in front of the nude painting upstairs. All in all, a great way to end an awesome evening. Then home to bed by 3.30am (see above, I am getting old, no partying until the bitter end at 5am!).

I was a little sad to miss the Saturday night of Land of Kings Festival, but thems the breaks,  next year I’ll try to do it all!



Words and pictures by Tor Cameron



The Apple Cart – More Than Music.

As well as some sublime musical goodies, The Apple Cart Festival collides comedy and cabaret in Victoria Park this summer as spectacular and surprising guests joining the dazzling 2012 line up.

Last year, main stage headliner Tim Minchin wowed the crowds in a festival first. This year sees the cream of British talent take the baton on the comedy stage. You’ll be laughing your stalks off with this little line up…

8 Out of 10 Cats’ Sean Lock

TV’s tubby lovie Phill Jupitus Quartet Improv

Cynical, cerebral Rich Hall

Feisty, flirty and funny Shappi Khorsandi

Multi talented Josie Long

Lightening quick Josh Widdicombe

+ many more!

The Cabaret Tent looks camper than Christmas, so it’s a good job the sun will be shining on all that glitter. Check out the cabaret line up on the Apple Cart website and be sure to spare some cider supping time for these intriguing acts.

“Expect the very best cabaret and alt-performance in our brand new cabaret tent, exclusively programmed by Rude Grrl, the people behind The LipSinkers, UnderConstruction and Bistrotheque’s legendary cabaret room.”

It’s really great to see such a mix of talent from all fields of entertainment mingle in the green fields of Hackney this summer.  See you there!


Festival – The Apple Cart 2012

When? Sunday 4th June 2012

Where? Victoria Park

How Much? £33 for the day. BUY NOW. You can also buy a combined ticket for Apple Cart and Field Day HERE

As well as a stellar line up of music, comedy and cabaret, this year’s Apple Cart Festival graces Victoria Park with even more family fun for all ages. Hopefully they’ll be selling cider this year (massive mistake last year chaps!), but we’ll be there to take a big bite of this scrumptious festival.

In the day after Field Day, Eat Your Own Ears present to you some great new talent and well loved favorites including good apple Adam Ant! As well as this legend gracing the outdoor stage, i’ll be looking forward to the following:

Marcus Foster

I discovered this soulful singer songwriter just this year. His voice is strong and filled with feeling, there’s pain and pleasure, soul and blues influences and I can imagine if he delivers live what his album Nameless Path does, it’ll be a punch in the musical guts.

Beth Jeans-Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny

Think of a shape, explode it with colour, stick a crazy hat on it and you’ve got the visual representation of Beth Jeans-Houghton. She can back up her unparalleled looks with a sweet, zany vocal that has heart and an exceptional talent for songwriting. I’m looking forward to a fun fun fun live show, with actual horses on stage.


Dreamy and very cute, these lads should deliver something both ethereal and provocative. They look like they could be a boy band, which, I guess technically they are, but with plenty of instruments and tighter jeans.

Josh T Pearson 

Melancholy and brave, with plenty of apologies for being the bad guy, Pearson bears a heavy weight, both lyrically and melodiously. Don’t expect dancing or dreams to come true; just keep your gun close and your wife even closer.

I should of course mention the legendary Adam Ant, who will be performing after several years’ of rest, so it could be prince charming or it could be more along the lines of watching Gary Numan, a bit like bearing witness to your newly divorced boss dating a 22 year old stripper and buying a Porsche (true story).

There is a host of cabaret and comedy, which i’ll be looking at in more detail in part 2 of the preview.

Grab your tickets now while you still can.

Twitter @HackneyBubble

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