As all sane people know, a music festival is a perfectly credible excuse to have a drink before midday. And so kicked off our time at SW4 on Saturday, one of the biggest electronic music festivals around.
With the scorching sun giving us those sweet Ibiza vibes, tummies full of cider and having acquired some sunglasses shaped like sharks (they got a lot of compliments, alright?!), we tagged along with the flurries of glittery festival goers on their way to Clapham Common.
We stepped into the dance music oasis with a warning by security to stay hydrated. Hydrated with what? We weren’t sure. So, we chose rosé.
As well as the five different stages, SW4 also offered a dizzying selection of fairground rides, like the big spinny one and the little spinny one in cars. On top of this, Desperados was offering body marbling (look it up you bunch of squares!) and free drinks. It was safe to say, the queues for all these attractions were pretty considerable all day.
But enough about body marbling, onto the music!
The first act we saw over on the TS5 Indoor Main Stage was DJ Omar. He did a sterling job of warming up the midday crowds – not an easy job!
Then on came Big Zuu. “It’s not packed but we can still have a good time!” he shouted to the modest huddle of early birds in the tent. And so we did! The grime star’s charisma and interactions with his fans made his set even more enjoyable. In a last attempt to win over some sitters, he exclaimed “You’re gonna see me once, after then it’ll be a million pounds!” It’s hard to know whether Big Zuu’s prediction will come true. We hope not. The student loan won’t quite cover the cost.
The clock struck afternoon headliner time. Swathes of Tinie Tempah fans (i.e all 18-25 year olds) made their way over to the outdoor main stage to witness the chart-topping artist work his magic. Tinie burst onto the stage to a huge roar from the crowd. Dressed in a bright orange shirt and trousers, he fitted in well with the other questionable fashion choices made by some of those in the crowd (luminous bicycle shorts?!)
The ‘Pass Out’ sensation unleashed his impressive collection of well known tracks. He also tried out one of his new bangers, ‘Whopper’. The upbeat, Spanish summer vibe to it was perfect for the sunny weather and went down well with the audience. Australian DJ duo, Nervo, also featured in his set. To top it off, Tinie treated his SW4 fans with a new song he’s currently calling Ketchup. The crowd-pleasing and energetic performance was brought to an end with the promise of some new songs this year, “I can’t wait to bless you guys with new music!” We certainly can’t wait.
Elsewhere, Basement Jaxx were over on the TS5 Stage holding their audience enthralled with their big beat house music.
We headed over to the Ministry of Sound Stage to catch a glimpse of the main man himself: Idris Elba. Turns out we were not alone. The tent was spilling over with eager fans hungry for a listen of the actors DJ skills. Armed with his winning smile and a sense of ease behind the decks, he unleashed a great set of house music – and he definitely seemed to enjoy himself!
We headed back to TS5 to catch Yungen doing his thing. After paying tribute to his friend who passed away, he burst into a smorgasbord of hits, including Kanye West and Lil Pumps fan favourite ‘Love It’. There’s no greater feeling than a tent of people united in a sing-along
And that’s what happened when Yungen blasted ‘Bestie’ out to the sun drenched ravers. Bringing his set to a close, the young South Londoner yelled “This is when we’re gonna turn this tent into a zoo!” Yungen definitely has a way of getting even the most reluctant head-bobbers to let loose.
The energy didn’t dwindle when he left the stage.
Mabel was passed the baton and she did not disappoint! Of all the acts, Mabel and her team had some of the best choreography and all round showmanship. Her original tracks proved to be as popular with the crowd as they were when they first hit the charts. ‘Finders Keepers’, ‘Bad Behaviour’ and ‘Ring, Ring’ all provided some much needed sing-a-long magic after a day heavy with grime and electro beats.
The heat from the fire performances on the TS5 Stage was matched only by the sweltering heat of the tent. We headed over to the outdoor main stage to catch a breeze and to bask in the easy going, summery tunes of Bakermat. Not only do his remixes make you want to whack on a Hawaiian shirt and jump in a pool, but the vibrant cartoon visuals that accompany his sets really tie his act together.
As the day went on, it became increasingly difficult to decide which stage to head to.
We decided to check out The Ministry of Sound Stage where Eli & Fur were busy on the decks. The techno duo kept the attention of festival goers with their low key, laidback tracks.
They geared the crowd up well for the more full-on house music prowess of Disciples of ‘On My Mind’ and ‘How Deep Is Your Love?’ fame. The trio kept the energy in the tent pumping with remixes like ‘Just Be Good To Me’.
With the sun setting over Clapham, the time had come to pay homage to pop royalty.