With literally hundreds of music festivals competing for space and attention over the summer months, this seems to be a succesful model. This year larger events such as Sonisphere have been cancelled, whilst even legendary ones like Glastonbury have taken a year off.
One event that has moved from its normal slot in the festival calendar is London's Field Day; a one day outdoor event that has steadily been building an audience in Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets since 2007. This multi-stage music festival traditionally takes place in August, but this year it has been pushed forward to the first Saturday in June due to the huge presence of the Olympics taking over that area in August.
Field Day always boasts a cutting edge line-up of both established and breakthrough acts, and as it is all compressed into one day, you don't have to camp or bring anything with you. For me, it works brilliantly as a showcase; an excellent way to see quite a few new bands in one day as you can cover the ground between each stage in a few minutes.
The festival emerged from small grass roots venues and promoters working together and has grown into something much larger. In 2006, it began in the car park of the Griffin Pub in Old Street as the Return of the Rural and took the format of a village fete with live acoustic acts such as James Yorkston and Beth Orton, as well as Clinic and Four Tet. These acts were large enough to pull a decent crowd back then, and the promoters decided to do something bigger the following year they booked space in Victoria Park, joined forces with other promoters and announced the first Field Day, which sold out to 10,000 people in August 2007.
The festival has evolved and grown in size to 20,000 and has now played host to the likes of Florence and the Machine, Phoenix, Santigold, James Blake to name just a few.
Last year's festival was the largest yet and there were some issues with overcrowding. These have been addressed this year with a new layout to help the flow between stages, although the capacity remains the same.
The close proximity of the stages gives the organisers another headache, specifically how to reduce the bleed-through of sound between venues. Over the years they have taken various steps to address this and with some clever positioning of each PA plus a capacity crowd in each tent, the colouration is negligible.
There are around 60 acts on the bill, so I thought I would try and pick out some highlights. There are inevitable clashes of course, but I reckon on a carefully planned day you get to see around 8 or 9 acts. A clashfinder is essential but here are some suggestions.
Grimes – one of the breakthrough acts of 2012, Grimes is the alias of Claire Boucher, a young prolific talent from Canada, who manages to straddle the genres of dance music, lo-fi indie and witch house with ease
Peaking Lights – a husband and wife duo who make a lo-fi mix of dub, krautrock and psychedelic pop
R. Stevie Moore – a prolific but wilfully obscure DIY musician who has been making music since the mid-70s but is only just coming to a wider audience now thanks to the likes of Ariel Pink
The Men – high octane punk rock, noisy and brash, which sounds like it was recorded with all the needles on red
Summer Camp – duo Jeremy Walmsley and Elizabeth Sankey are building their indie-pop origins into something very special,as last year's Welcome to Condale album showed.
Fennesz – legendary Austrian guitarist now firmly established in the world of ambient electronica, he makes some lovely noises
Andrew Bird – an amazing talent who plays superb violin, writes great songs and does clever things with loops. He is also a fantastic whistler!
Tortoise – the guys who brought dub, jazz and krautrock to the world of American indie-rock in a rescheduled show from last year
Mazzy Star – newly reformed,this duo made three classic albums in the 1990s, featuring the distinctive voice of Hope Sandoval and the psychedelic fuzz guitar of David Roback.
Liars – one of the finest experimental rock groups of the last 10 years, showcasing their new album WIXIW.
Papa M - the alias of David Pajo, best known as guitarist of the post-rock group Slint
Django Django - last but not least, one of the bands of 2012, on a mid-afternoon slot so look sharp.
Just in case you missed the clashfinder, click here to get the official one.
The Field Day line-up was hard to pick ten or twelve acts from, so I've made a 25 track playlist on Spotify. Enjoy!