Its another successful year for Hospitality's massive rave-up in the park, however this year it proved to be a lot wetter than previous years.
Before arriving at Finsbury Park, London, we thankfully decided to check out the weather for the day and duly prepared for the rain that was set to join the festivities in the afternoon. Pity that quite a few of the crowd didn't do the same, just like my mate Ricky, who decided to wear his brand new trainers to mark his 1st ever HITP festival (RIP). But like all good British festivals, we don't seem to mind a bit of rain, in fact, given everyone sprits on the day, it didn't seem to matter in the slightest.
Scanning the layout, everything seems well placed and within short walking distance as we trudged over to check out the "We Love Jungle" arena and caught Breakage laying down some serious energetic old school jungle "tunage" for the DnB faithful. MC GQ complimented his set perfectly and duly left us wanting more when Breakage's set came to a climactic finale. After taking a brief break and checking out some of the food stalls (bit overpriced, but quality grub on offer at least) we were back for LTJ Bukem, and as any respectable DnB head knows, he is the original master (alongside Fabio) of all sultry, jazzy and atmospheric Drum and Bass, as he showcased the many classics that have come out on his own imprint, Good Looking Records, in the last 2 decades. Of course, the highlight of his sets was his own classic "Music" and "Atlantis" which took the crowd to another level and made the weather even more bearable. No matter what anyone says, these classics will always be the staple of our DnB scene and have provided the Blueprint to how the music has panned out today.
Grooverider stepped up next for the closing set and took me straight back to Hoxton square with a magnificent "Metalheadz" Blue Note set with MC Cleveland Watkiss on hosting duties. Dropping classics from his own Prototype label, as well as a barrage of Metalheadz gems from scene kingpins such as Dillinger, Alex Reece and Lemon D, he drew selection after selection for the predominately young crowd who were probably busy soling their nappies when Blue Note was all the rage on Sunday nights back in the 90's. Even so, they seemed to enjoy it even more than the "older headz" who were busy riding the Bluenote bass wave.
Managing to peel ourselves away from all of the nostalgic beats, we got to hear the end of Goldie's epic offering at the Outlook stage, as he played out the final set of the evening. The Outlook stage was one of the newer stages to the upgraded HITP offering this year and showcased some serious talent, all offering something different when it came to musical programming. Yet another great touch from the Hospitality crew and a monstrous closing set from Goldie, finishing with one of my personal favourites of all time, John B - Up All Night, which in reflection was a bit of a cheek given the festival finished at 11 pm.
Hospitality gets you hooked each and every time, the layout, programming, production, vibe and the feeling that you really belong to something special will always make you feel at home and wanting to come back for more, no matter what the weather (or bar prices) throws at you. These guys have added more to their 3rd-year sell-out festival, expanding genres and stages to include Dawn Penn and Foreign Beggars to the ever-increasing lineup. Speaking with some of the friendly ravers, some of them who got there early after travelling from across the country were disappointed at the gates being shut at 1 pm, a delayed opening which had something to do with the weather I assume. Other's also complained about the price of drinks, including myself after forking out £13 worth of tokens which got me 2 cans beer, not good but hopefully, HITP will have cheaper drinks next time.
Overall this is one DnB festival which truly delivers in many aspects, but am now left wondering if they have now outgrown Finsbury Park and are ready to take on pastures new. Maybe somewhere not so residential and more accessible to people who aren't from London, but more importantly, where the licensing restrictions will actually be able to allow me to "stay up all night" with volume levels like the good old days.