Hackney Weekend 2012 @ Hackney Marshes 24th June 2012

Radio 1’s Big Weekend is a free music venue which began life in both Manchester and Cardiff in 2003. Since then it has taken place at various locations around the UK. This event took place in Carlisle last year and featured the likes of Lady Gaga, My Chemical Romance, The Black Eyed Peas, Foo Fighters and many more. It was decided that this festival was to hit London in 2012 (well Hackney to be precise) and this was down to the fact that the 2012 Olympics were to be held in the city. The festival had been upgraded there were 6 stages (prior years there had been only 4) and the capacity of each day was 50,000 (compared to the 40,000 each day the previous years). This weekend dubbed Hackney Weekend featured the likes of Rihanna, Jay Z, Jessie J, Florence and the Machine, Lana Del Rey, Jack White and plenty more. For the first time everyone had to submit a photo which was then printed onto the ticket (a bit like Glastonbury). The majority of the tickets went to people who lived in the 5 Olympic boroughs whilst everyone else had the lower proportion. So the day the tickets went on sale it was no surprise that the server couldn’t cope with demand. Luckily my friend was successful in getting a pair of tickets. The day we opted for was the Sunday which had the likes of Lana Del Rey, Rihanna, Jessie J, Tinie Tempah etc. Yes it was a shame that Florence was playing on the Saturday but logic made me think that she would play Sunday instead. Logically Saturday wasn’t possible due to Florence playing 2 festivals in Germany so it came as no surprise when she switched to Sunday. I felt sorry for Flo fans who had tickets for the Saturday. So the Sunday finally came and my friend and I made the journey to Hackney Marshes to get there in time for the 10.30am opening. We reached the field just before 10 and the doors had already opened. Due to all the rainfall Hackney Marshes was like one massive muddy bog. Once inside we went to the main stage straight away and got 2nd row. Amazingly the 2 people in front of me at the barrier left which resulted in me taking their place. It was then a 3 hour wait in the freezing cold until the first act took to the stage.

Stephen Masterson (AKA Professor Green) kicked things off with a fantastic 8 song set consisting of material from both albums Alive Till I’m Dead and At Your Inconvenience. The first song played was Jungle taken from the début album Alive Till I’m Dead which featured guest vocals from Maverick Sabre. Only Maverick wasn’t there to collaborate with Pro Green. This was the 2nd time I have witnessed Pro Green and there is no denying that he is a terrific rapper. It was fitting that he was chosen to open up the main stage as Masterson was born in Hackney. The jungle that he is referring to in this song was in fact Hackney. It was then straight onto Just Be Good To Green which originally featured Lily Allen. The song itself samples The SOS Band’s Just Be Good To Me. I think the female vocalist was Katie Holmes who did a tremendous job by singing this upbeat number with Pro Green. Both lyrics and melody were both amazing. It was then straight onto Remedy and Holmes again sang the song with Stephen. “Hackney whose ready to get this party stated?” the Professor then said before getting stuck into this fast past song. I adored the fantastic verses. Remedy name checks both Kate Nash and Charlie Sheen. The vocals were extremely strong and this was a song which makes you want to party. “I want to hear everyone of your voices Hackney” Green said before Oh My God. This song was a full on force and there was bundles of energy oozing from the crowd. Professor Green knew how to get everyone worked up. Name checked in this song was both Pixie Lott and the late George Best. I rather liked the smooth chorus of this song. It was then onto a track from sophomore album At Your Inconvenience and this being D.P.M.O. This song was delivered powerfully and I rather enjoyed it. The D.P.M.O stood for Don’t Piss Me Off. It was then straight onto debut single I Need You Tonight. This song sampled INXS’s Need You Tonight. I enjoyed the rapping verses whilst its chorus was rather catchy. “How we doing out there Hackney? This rain is a bit of a nightmare in it. But one good thing about the fact its rained is that we’re all soaked now. We can’t get any wetter can we?” Green said before asking if there was any monsters in the building. The penultimate song was Monster. This infectious song had plenty of people singing along to its chorus. Plus it was very pacey and towards the end there was a dub step vibe. “Have we had a good time this afternoon Hackney? There is one thing I would like to do before I sod off home” Pro Green said before rounding the set off with Read All About It. The female vocals were provided by Katie Holmes and they sounded ever so beautiful. Then Pro Green then launched himself into the song and the verses were played at a fast tempo. The lyric content was amazing and a tad emotional.


Just Be Good To Green
Oh My God
I Need You Tonight
Read All About It

The 2nd artist on the main stage was Ben Drew (AKA Plan B). Now I had never witnessed him perform live before but I was left impressed by the songs which were sung. The 7 song set consisted of material from albums The Defamation Of Strickland Banks and Ill Manors. Plus a few covers were added for good measure. Unfortunately his set was marred by technical difficulties. Opening this set was The Recluse and this has been labelled as his best song to date. I won’t like but this tune was a complete cracker at first it started of smooth then Drew showed off his rapping skills. Plan B was looking very dapper in his black suit. “We’re going to need to do some of this if we don’t want it to rain” Plan B then said to the packed crowd before Prayin’. This song was rather soulful plus the lyric content was extremely dark. Once over it was onto another amazing song. “It’s karaoke time” Ben said before She Said. This number was again a mixture of soul and rap. What I most liked about this song is when you listen to its lyrics you can picture the story in your head. The rap was rather impressive as well. Once over Drew left the stage only to return moments later and it was plain to see that he had changed his clothes for the next part of his set. It was then onto a couple of covers and this being Stand By Me / Kiss From A Rose which was delivered with plenty of energy. Also there was a snippet of Forgot About Dre. It was then onto Lost My Way which was taken from the iLL Manors album. I really liked the dark lyrics. “Yo I’ve got a cold, I’m feeling a little ill. But nothing is ill as this” Plan B said before iLL Manors. This song is taken from soundtrack to Ben’s début film iLL Manors. Unlike material from The Defamation Of Strickland Banks this high octane number is more hip hop than soul. “This is the last one from us. You know because I never want to stay too long” Drew said before ending with the sleek Stay Too Long.


The Recluse
She Said
Stand By Me / Kiss From A Rose
Lost My Way
iLL Manors
Stay Too Long

“Lets have a party Hackney” Jessie said the moment she made her presence onto the main stage. The first song of the set being the fierce Do It Like A Dude. Everyone was singing along to this powerful song. Plenty of energy flowed from this performance. “Are you guys happy its stopped raining. I was up there watching Plan B, everyone was getting soaked. Stage was wet, you guys were wet. It’s not easy being on the stage when it’s raining” Cornish said before applauding all the artists who had played and everyone who had stood in the rain all day. It was then onto my favourite Jessie J song and this being Who’s Laughing Now. This song conveyed a message which was even if people get you down never give up and you will have the last laugh when you get to where you want to be. Who’s Laughing Now is extremely infectious and the rest of the crowd were loving it. It was then straight onto Rainbow. This song was very smooth and infectious as well. Rainbow had fantastic lyrics. The line that stood out was “We’re the colours of the Rainbow”. Now if we could be a colour of the rainbow what colour would you be? “I’ve got a lot of friends and family in today, so where ever you are Hello. It’s nice to know you’re in the crowd and I’m seeing a lot of familiar faces of fans that come to every show. The best part about making music is being able to perform it live for you guys. Festivals are one of my favourite things to do because they feel right and they feel good” Jessie then went onto say to the packed crowd. “If you know it sing it as loud as you can” and this song being Nobody’s Perfect. Like Who’s Laughing Now this again conveyed that a message which was the fact nobody is perfect. Everyone has their own faults. This song had luscious lyrics you feel obliged to sing along to. It was then onto a cover followed by an album track. The cover being Never Too Much by the late Luther Vandross which was sung perfectly and then it was straight into Abracadabra. This gentle song was delivered to perfection. “This next song is very special today and you’re going to find out why in a minute” Cornish said before getting stuck into Price Tag. This number is very infectious and everyone sang along to it. The reason why it was special was the fact B.O.B joined her on the stage. Considering he was also playing that day a hook up was possible. The moment he came onto the stage the crowd went wild. That was only the 2nd time they had performed Price Tag together. It was then onto Laserlight which is the current single. This song has actually grown on me. At first it started off soft and gentle then grew in power as soon as it progressed. This was dance pop and Jessie gave it her all to deliver something both startling and beautiful. Domino then ended this superb set. “This is a musical adventure” Cornish then said before she started to sing this amazing song. In fact it is a really catchy song and I rather liked the uplifting chorus.


Do It Like A Dude
Who’s Laughing Now
Nobody’s Perfect
Never Too Much / Abracadabra
Price Tag

Once Jessie had finished her set I then made my way back. The reason for me giving up my barrier space was down to the fact I saw him play at Koko in 2010 and there was plenty of crushing. Tinie then came on stage and kicked off with the Labrinth song that he appeared on and this being Earthquake. Once over it was then onto Frisky and this was grime meets hip hip hop and the crowds atmosphere was simply electric. Till I’m Gone which featured on a repackaged version of Disc-Overy was rather promising and the style of this track being pop rap. “One of the things I believe in is that everybody deserves their own theme song”and Tinie’s theme song was Wonderman. Everyone had their W’s raised in the sky. This was rap at its best and Ellie Goulding’s vocals were soothing. Unfortunately Ellie did not make an appearance for this song. Illusion was very upbeat whist Written In The Stars was one beautiful infectious ballad with Tinie’s rapping. “I want to see absolute carnage, spare no body. I don’t care if the person standing next to you is a little bit older than you. I don’t care if the person standing next to you is a bit smaller than you or a little bit taller than you. Have no fear and no remorse” Tempah said after mentioning that everyone was on TV. It was then onto Miami 2 Ibiza. Everyone was going crazy to this song. Drinking From The Bottle was a brilliant song and it makes me look forward to the brand new album Demonstration. It was then onto R.I.P which was a hit for Rita Ora. Tinie performed a short rap. Mosh Pit followed on and this new song was rather powerful and it was Pass Out which wrapped up the set.


Till I’m Gone
Written In The Stars
Miami 2 Ibiza
Drinking From The Bottle
Mosh Pit
Pass Out

Around 6pm a barefooted Florence took to the stage and opened up with Only If For A Night. For an opener it is a rather dark song which implied death. This number was actually was released as a Record Store Day Secret 7 back in April where people designed their own artwork for this Teenage Cancer Trust Release. Even though this Ceremonials song was fantastic it is not my favourite from the new album. What The Water Gave Me followed on straight away. This sleek song had a chilled out melody. You could see that Welch put every ounce of energy into this song. “Hackney Weekend, how you feeling? Thanks for having us back” the flame haired Florence said before the crowd pleasing Shake It Out. This was an entrancing number and its lyrics were extremely infectious which you want to sing along to. “It’s so good to be back in my home town. We’ve missed you” Welch said before Spectrum. There was an epic feeling to this spectacular song and Florence literally belted it out at ease. A double dose of oldies followed and the first being the Candi Stanton cover You’ve Got The Love. This was a beautiful emotional ballad which was faultlessly delivered. The tempo was slow but as soon as the song progressed it gained in strength. It was then straight into Dog Days Are Over which prompted everyone to clap along in unison. This song had a rip roaring chorus which was packed with a punch. Everyone sang along to this song. Like Spectrum, Dog Days was an epic song and it was the first outside concert of Flo’s (which I had attended) which didn’t result in the heavens opening up. Nearing the end of the song everyone did the ceromony of the Ceremonials tour and this was jumping up and down continuously. “We hope you enjoy the rest of your festival especially Rihanna” Welch said before revealing they were off to East London to get drunk. The set ended with No Light No Light. This song started off rather gentle then when the drums kicked in, it became a full on force. No Light, No Light was a powerful song and Florence gave it her all to deliver a startling performance.


Only If For A Night
What The Water Gave Me
Shake It Out
You Got The Love
Dog Days Are Over
No Light No Light

OVERALL: Once Florence had finished I stayed to see who the surprise guest was. Earlier on in the week it was rumoured that it would be Cheryl Cole and earlier I had heard it could be Coldplay or Dizzee Rascal. There was a sense of excitement but as soon as Zane Lowe revealed it to be Dizzee Rascal I then decided to leave a couple of songs into his set. Dizzee is a talented rapper and I have seen him before on the joint tour he did with Lily Allen, but I’m not a huge fan of his. Also with leaving early you avoid the surge of people who would leave after Rihanna’s set.

All in all this was a nice festival. Muddy but enjoyable. I was so pleased to be at front barrier for Jessie J and was slightly disappointed not to be there for Flo (being at the front for 8 hours and not eating anything wouldn’t of been a good move).


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