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All Points East 2023 Review

1883 Magazine's review of All Points East.

Attending what is basically a series of one-day festivals at All Points East left me with mixed of feelings.

While the convenience, cleaner environment and fully stocked previsions were an undeniable perk, the trade-off became evident when it came to the sense of community and the rushed nature of the event. But this is not unique to All Points East, but one-day festivals in general. But as the clock ticked towards the festival’s closing time, the looming realisation that the limited hours were slipping away could be anxiety-inducing.

I’ve had the privilege of frequenting Victoria Park and its various festivals for many years, due to its proximity to my house, which made All Points East an almost automatic choice. Yet, despite the lineup’s diversity and the festival’s reputation, it’s organised by the people behind Cochella, there was an underlying sentiment that it lacked the unity and experience of multi-day festivals, even though it is kind of one.

The festival offered different vibes for different tribes on each day over two consecutive weekends. With headliners from Stormzy to Haim, Apex Twin to The Strokes, Jungle to Dermot Kennedy, there was no shortage of musical diversity. I was personally drawn to the Jungle day, primarily because of the presence of Queen diva, Erykah Badu. I’m not sure if the guy who was at Aphex Twin, wearing a Strokes T-Shirt was being ironic, or he’d brought tickets to the wrong Saturday?

 

Stormzy © Khali Ackford
Haim
Dermot Kennedy

 

But first I went to Field Day, which has been brought under the All Points East wing after being kicked out of Victoria Park in 2018. I’ve been privy to observe a shift in the festival’s focus over the years. Originally an indie / house gathering with stages organised by the NME and Eat Your Own Ears, alongside Resident Advisor and Boiler Room. But the recent emphasis on alternative electronic music is evident. While this move showcased a bold artistic direction, it was not entirely aligned with my personal taste, and I found a new tribe, the Techno-Goth. However, it was a chance to witness artists like SBTRKT and Jayda G in action, alongside artists such as Apex Twin, Jon Hopkins and Moderat.

SBTRKT’s set, though disjointed at times, was the highlight of my visit, playing the classics and his latest material, Jayda G’s performance, on the other hand, oscillated between ‘DJing’ and some sort of comedy meme dance, don’t get me wrong she’s a great DJ at times, her production is questionable, but her live performance felt in-tune with a current stream of DJs who’s musical performance is overtaken by their on stage antics as her set turned into a mimed karaoke session over her own tracks and twiddling nobs on the mixer to no real consequence.

 

Jungle

 

The anticipation and excitement for Jungle (band not genre) day, which probably should have been headlined by Erykah Badu, was high. Unfortunately, the biblical thunderstorm dampened proceedings as the festival was temporarily halted for an hour and a half for safety reasons. I was lucky enough to have access to the tented KOKO backstage area, which acted as a V, VIP oasis, and a giant umbrella, so sipped on some margaritas, whilst the storm subsided, right next to the singer of Gabriels, Jacob Lusk, who was also performing that day. The unforeseen delay resulted in The Blessed Madonna’s cancellation, right at the time when the crowds started to bulge and get ‘into the mood’. 

 

Gabriels

 

When the sun finally returned, BadBadNotGood took the stage to Black Sabbaths War Pigs and offering a brief yet sublime performance, I’d seen them before, and the drummers chat had grated on me, but seemed appropriate in this situation. Erykah Badu’s magnetic presence captivated the crowd, with her distinctive style and hypnotic performance proving to be the highlight of the festival. However, the time constraints left me yearning for more as she arrived on stage ‘divaishly’ late. 

Jungle’s role as the headline act felt somewhat underwhelming, especially given the extraordinary performances that preceded it. They didn’t really put a foot wrong, but their perfect timings and minimal crowd interaction didn’t really set the crowd alight especially with their lesser known songs.

 

Fever Ray

 

In the end, All Points East 2023 provided moments of musical enchantment even within the confines of a one-day event. The seamless organisation and diversity of the days were commendable, yet the inherent limitations of one day festivals were impossible to ignore, but at least most people had showered. While the festival offered a snapshot of musical brilliance, it left me reflecting on the unique magic that multi-day festivals bring to the table. That said, I’ll see you at All Points East next year!!!

 

For more info visit www.allpointseastfestival.com

 

Words by Woody Anderson

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