13 July 2014 (gig)
13 July 2014
Festival season is fully underway and as the weekend becomes a thing of the past and we trudge in numbers back to work, the memories of Wireless Festival 2014 sit fresh at the front of our minds. As stated by John Newman at his set on Sunday, on Wireless’ main stage, “us Brits love a festival”!
Under the pulsing rays of sunshine and scorching temperatures of up to 28 degrees, the British public took to the fields of Finsbury Park, North London and Perry Park, Birmingham in their thousands, equipped with iPhone in one hand and a cold beverage in the other, to enjoy three days of musical festivities.
As is tradition, a festival wouldn’t be a festival without a dropout act, with Wireless announcing on the Thursday before the event that headliner Drake was set to miss out due to illness. The announcement prompted a surge of people selling on their own tickets due to the disappointment. Anyone who succeeded, however, would be left red faced as it was later announced that none other than Yeezus himself, would act as saviour and headline an extra date as Drake’s replacement. Not much of a villain now, is he?!
Across the weekend festival-goers were lucky enough to see a whole host of talent, ranging from rising stars such as Raleigh Ritchie to supernovas like Kanye West. People of all ages and races gathered in both of these two great cities creating an absolutely electric atmosphere. It’s easy to be distracted by trivialities- the controversy and hype surrounding the ‘Kanye Rant’, the hour long queue to the train station, the temperamental rainfall, but let’s not lose sight of what we saw this weekend.
From artist to artist, the passion was concordant. Each performer showcased their music in front of thousands to the highest quality, demonstrating the artistic flair we’ve become accustomed to. Gratitude in its sincerest form was displayed amongst all artists, grateful for the active, responsive and energetic crowd reaction to seeing their favourite musicians take to the stage in front of their very eyes.
For me, personal highlights come in the form of five very talented artists - Kanye West, J. Cole, Outkast Bruno Mars and Raleigh Ritchie. Kanye West receives a lot of criticism for his aforementioned rants, but that aside, what a performance! With an impressive discography, Kanye performed hit after hit, providing the crowd with an emotive performance from start to finish. As a Kanye fan, for me, his 20-minute extended dialogue was not a problem, it’s to be expected! Kanye West is no longer just a musician, but an artist and people just need to accept that.
J. Cole, who a performed to a smaller crowd on his ‘Dollar And A Dream’ tour just 24 hours before he was scheduled to perform at Wireless, also lit up Wireless’ main stage. As an artist with a more concentrated, yet just as dedicated fan base, Cole’s set selection provided the audience with a mixture of both calm and hyped summer vibes. It was my second time seeing Cole perform and both times have left me in awe of his stage presence as a solo artist.
Raleigh Ritchie, another solo artist, graced the Pepsi Max Stage on a surprisingly warm Sunday afternoon. There was a smaller, more intimate crowd, however the charismatic performance by one of the UK’s most talented left those who hadn’t heard much of him before, wanting to research and buy his material. Those who were familiar with his sound were further captivated and engrossed. He’s one to watch out for, for sure!
Bruno Mars headlined the final day at Finsbury Park and did not disappoint. With an array of mainstream releases, coupled with personal anecdotes of when the famous singer was on the come up, Mars delivered a solid performance. He kept the audience’s concentration after a long day, and kept them upbeat and energised with his impressive song collection. It was an easy listening kind of set which sparked the maddest of jives from yours truly!
Last but not least, Outkast’s performance on Wireless’ main stage on Sunday was nothing short of incredible. The reunion tour took a stop at Finsbury Park where the crowd reacted energetically as they spun out banger after banger from all releases, dating as far back as the early 90s. It truly was a pleasure and an honour to see Andre 3000 and Big Boi take to the stage - a once in a life time opportunity that’ll be remembered fondly by all who were present.
It’s easy to see why we fall in love with music and the euphoria it brings. There’s nothing quite like following your favourite artist, buying their latest release and finally seeing the final product come to life, with the backing of a live band and in the company of those who feel exactly the same way as you. Wireless 2014 was a big success and once again demonstrated why we, as music lovers, spend so much time and money on the opportunity to see our favourite artists in the flesh, doing what they love.