Community Festival has found its home in Finsbury Park and if Saturday was any indication, the inaugural trip to North London has supplanted itself as a festival to watch going forward.
Having just two stages, the Main Stage and the N4 Stage, made it pretty easy to find your away around and it was pretty clear from the moment walking in that Community has found its niche, tailoring itself for a young audience who are interested in nothing more than electric, thrashing sets of indie rock and pop goodness.
I arrived just in time to see RedFaces, a foursome from Sheffield who very quickly worked the the early arrivers into a lively mood with an energetic but short set. Before long it was over to the N4 stage to witness Rosborough who were able to capture their intimate crowd with a short set of mellow tunes that had the audience swaying in the sunshine.
People were heading in haste back to the main stage, and upon discovering that Fickle Friends were about to come on I completely understand why, the crowd were treated to a compilation of pop bliss with a slight hint of synth and as they launched into single Hello Hello lead singer Natassja Shiner herself even exclaimed how amazing the turn out was for the debut Community Festival.
Glasgow duo Saint PHNX are amazing fun and know how to really work a crowd. With a bit of old school rock n roll, it was great to see them attempt to split the crowd up for a sing back competition so early on in the day, its genuinely hard to describe how fun these guys are to watch. Oh and did I mention they’re brothers, well yeah they are and you can clearly tell from the banter they throw back at each other on stage, its also hilarious for the crowd too.
As drummer Alan randomly walked away from his drum set to pick up a tambourine he was met with a confused “what are ya doing?” from brother Stevie to which he replied “Trying to f-ing party! Who came here to party” to an enthusiastic applause from crowd.
Grabbing lunch, I managed to catch a couple of songs each of Darlia and Wild Front before making my way back to the Main Stage for The Hunna. Definitely catering to the younger audience it was great to see drummer, Jack Metcalfe rush on stage and drop the first stage dab of the day (Don’t worry for those of you slightly older readers, I’ll wait right here whilst you google what a Dab is and realise it is that awkward hand gesture kids make these days). Saying that though there is nothing childish about The Hunna and they delivered a standout set of smash hits that was so slick it clearly became my standout set for the day.
I stick around at the main stage for the first half of Nothing But Thieves who have great stage presence and it’s here when I have my first “That’s who sings that song” moment of , yep I will shamefully admit I didn’t realise they sang the smash hit Tripswitch and I find myself humming “what do we do when the lights go out” all the way back up the hill to the N4 stage.
As I arrive at the N4 stage to see Anteros, I’m mesmerized in seconds and almost forget that I am supposed to be taking photos as well as enjoying how charismatic lead singer Laura Hayden is on stage. I quickly recompose myself, but must admit I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face watching the rest of the set as I bobbed my head away to what the band self proclaim as “bitter dream rock”.
It’s back down to the main stage to witness the power duo rockers who are Slaves, showing there political prowess the lads are quick to throw up the “Torries Out” posters and signs which are greeted sheepishly by the crowd with this summers own chant anthem :”Woooooooah Jeremy Corbyn!!!!”
Not to outdo themselves the boys even brought out music icons Dave Holman and Madness icon Suggs towards the tail end of the set, unfortunately there appeared to be a mishap with the sound and I took this as a chance to head up the hill and catch a small glimpse of Clean Cut Kid whilst grabbing myself a nice ice cold yet overpriced slushie (it was getting hot out there). Unfortunately the requests to raise cell phones torches during broad daylight was lost on me so I hastily made my way back down to catch the end of Slaves.
The rest of the night was spent down at main stage witnessing the pop greatness that is the Wombats. In all honesty these guys have perfected what a live set should be, whether its the playful plush wombats atop the stage amplifiers or bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen and his enthusiastic dance moves, it was obvious how much this band is loved as the crowd sang along word for word, every song. So much so that even after mis-starting the intro to song Moving To New York, the band stopped and it took the audience a fair few seconds to realise as they themselves kept singing along.
As they ended there set with hit single Lets Dance To Joy Division I couldn’t help but join in with my festival neighbours as they danced and pranced around to what was a fun, bubbly set of hit after hit.
Closing out the main stage were Wales formed Catfish and the Bottlemen. Arriving on stage to a backdrop of a giant alligator from album cover The Ride and I finally understood the rationale for all the inflatable alligators that had made their way around the audience all afternoon.
To be honest I had originally thought that Catfish and the Bottlemen were an “interesting” choice to headline but after seeing the hour and a half set which the crowd just seemed to eat up and sing along with, call me converted. Frontman Van McCann knows how to command a stage and as he ended their thanking every single person who had made out to see them play today, I couldn’t help but pull out my phone, click on Spotify and add some more Catfish to my daily playlist.
Review & Photography by Geoff D’Unienville of Community Festival @ Finsbury Park 1 July 2017
Geoff has his own site where you can check out his photos at http://geoffdphotos.com