Photo: Carsten Windhorst
It could have been doomed from the start, but the clouds parted and gave Clapham Common the sunshine you really hope for when you don’t have a tent to hide in. The crowd was a typical mixed bunch of skinny jeaners, Sienna bohos and the occasional man in a tutu. Nobody seemed to be in an incredible rush to get in, choosing instead to drain their beers on the grass outside.
Inside, things were warming up nicely. Noah And the Whale ambled cheerily through their set, getting a bit of an arm wave for ‘Five Years' Time’, but the mood was too lazy for people to stand. The Hives were up next with a powerful intro. 'Idiot Wars' and 'Main Offender' grabbed the crowds and pushed people to the front, but the set tailed off to more subdued measures. Zipping backstage for a generous Caiprihina, we decided to check out something a bit stronger.
On the Timeout/Together stage, Boys Noize had been told to turn it down for fear of upsetting the Hives. The tracks were obscure and not fitting for the mainstream festival goer – a set that separated the clubbers from the trendy pubbers.
Over at the XFM stage, The Maccabees were just starting up to a surprisingly packed tent. Orlando Weeks got stuck straight in, rolling effortlessly through ‘Colour It In’ with an ease that made it seem like they’d been doing it for years. Main crowd pleasers came in the form of ‘About Your Dress’ and ‘Latchmere’, and to our viewing horror, more than a few braces locked for ‘Toothpaste Kisses’.
The lovesick kids should have headed over to the aptly named Fingerlickin’ stage for Soul of Man. Dirty, grimy and completely unexpected, these guys threw techno about like we were at a rave weekender. Sensing a take-off from reality, we knuckled down and headed for Kate Nash. And where exactly was Kate Nash? Thirty minutes late, she emerged and launched into a dour and moody repertoire that even surpassed her own cynicism. Deflated, people scarpered in droves to catch Iggy & The Stooges.
Being squished within an inch of your life amongst sweaty middle-aged men isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but we sometimes you have to do these things. Cue the obligatory crowd invasion, mosh pits and the bizarre contortions of the semi-naked man himself – Iggy Pop could have have been at Roskilde, or on Mars for all he knew. Although the mood was rather more fun and nostalgic rather than hardcore appreciation, the crowd pulled out all the stops and for half an hour and pretended to be somewhere far bigger than a field in London.
The night ended with a wilted firework display, some harsh lights and the joyful reality that we weren’t in a quagmire, and that reasonably priced food and a boozer were only a ten-minute walk away. There are definitely some good things to say about a one-day festival.
To see Get Loaded in the Park in stunning photos, click here