Music Reviews

Festival Review: Detonate Festival 2016

Colwick Park played host to Detonate’s summer extravaganza for the 2nd time last weekend, seeing thousands of fans fill out the field. Countless glitter covered festivalgoers experienced the live shows of Craig David, Chase & Status, Shy FX, and many more.

The five stages spread across the park allowed ticketholders to take in the scenery of the gorgeous park and the phenomenal lake. The line-up of the festival was frankly stacked, with plenty of DJs, bands, and MCs to give fans their money’s worth. Though one name not on the line-up seemed to continuously appear, even if only in spirit. Skepta’s track ‘That’s Not Me’ featured in six of the sets that this reviewer saw, and potentially even more elsewhere. Despite that track quickly becoming an in joke, there was plenty on offer throughout the day.

After making the long walk into Colwick Park and exploring the grounds, many made it to the main stage to catch their first acts. By 1 o’clock, Standfast held the mantle of warming up the crowd, even more so than the uncharacteristically hot Nottingham weather. A sparse crowd seemed to spend a lot of the time too self-conscious for any serious movement. That was until a miraculously instantaneous reaction to a massive drop led to a ferocious crowd jumping in unison.

Following this came the first surprise of the day. Levelz saw a growing crowd, many of whom had made it clear they were waiting to get a good spot for Craig David. The Manchester Grime Collective stormed the stage and weren’t ready to accept anything less than a massive set. Despite having too many MCs for the number of microphones they were given, the group immediately impressed with some mesmerising verses. When without a microphone the MCs would take turn waving a flag with the group’s logo on it, because, well, why not? Levelz stood out as one of the best acts of the day, and are clearly destined to take over the Grime scene over the next few years.

After a short pause, and plenty of hype, Craig David walked out to a huge ovation from a crowd desperate to see the Garage icon work his magic. Opening with ‘Rewind’, David instantly had the crowd in the palm of his hand. The thousands of people crowded in front of the main stage were singing every word. Smooth mixes kept the set flowing from one hit to another, pausing only to soak in the massive reaction he was receiving.

A true highlight of the set was the mashup of ‘Still Dre’ and his classic ‘Walking Away’. This provided a moment of true awe for many of the fans in attendance. Other standouts were his cover of ‘No Scrubs’, his hit ‘7 Days’, and the big reveal of a brand new track he is about to drop with Chase and Status. A track that is guaranteed to be the biggest anthem of the summer, without doubt. Big Narstie came out to drop a verse towards the end of the set and stuck around for their recent offering ‘When the Bassline Drops’. Closing the set to his recent remix of ‘Fill Me In’ with the backing track of Justin Bieber’s ‘Where Are Ü Now’, Craig David left having destroyed Detonate Festival 2016.

“Smooth mixes kept the set flowing from one hit to another…”

As the afternoon slowly drew to a close (not that the sun would let you believe it), Preditah and Giggs tore up the main stage consecutively. By this time the main stage faced an impressive audience and punters gravitated towards the bigger names on the bill and set up their spaces of a busy evening. Despite this Redlight managed to produce a crowd so large that most couldn’t see the stage they were on. Spinning anthem after anthem to keep the partygoers dancing on the dusty track they had taken over, Redlight pulled out a fantastic performance and set the tone for a massive night.

Stormzy faced total uproar from the audience that faced him as he galloped onto the main stage. The set was dominated by a preponderance of covers and MCing over other people’s tracks, but this kept a strong atmosphere. It also allowed him to drop Yungen’s track ‘Ain’t On Nuttin’ which Stormzy features on. This was a nice touch; it was cool to see one of the next generations biggest Grime acts get some recognition on a large stage. After, Stormzy closed with the double header of ‘Shut Up’ and ‘Know Me From’, both of which provided a gargantuan sound in this arena but felt as though they were cut a little short. Shy FX had a tough act to follow, but had absolutely no problems following it. The set saw the sun go down on Colwick Park and the stage show only seemed more impressive the darker it became. Joined by MC Stamina the artists dropped enough beats to keep the entirety of Colwick Park dancing, even after ten hours at the festival.

Headliners Chase and Status capped the night off in style, proving exactly why they deserved their placement at the top of the bill. Shortly into their set, however, it was abruptly stopped by the band themselves. MC Rage spotted that someone in the crowd had fainted and immediately halted proceedings instructing everyone to give them some space so that medical professionals could come and aid the individual. Not only was this a really useful spot by MC Rage, but the professionalism with which everyone on stage was able to immediately stop the show, get the person help, and then get back into the swing of things was fantastic.

Chase and Status really are a tight live unit, and not one to be reckoned with. Making great use of their huge back catalogue of hits to please the crowd was something the group did exceedingly well. Their live creativity with other tracks also shone. A true highlight was the second airing (of the day) of their new track featuring Craig David – it truly could be massive this summer. As the festival drew to a close, Chase and Status continued to blow the audience away with a stunning performance, juxtaposed perfectly against an impressive light show and the closing firework display. All in all this was a very memorable day – Nottingham is lucky to play host to events like this one.

Liam Fleming

Images courtesy of Rob Antill – Detonate Festival 2016

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