He Said/She Said: Found Festival 2015

Found Festival relocated to south London for its third year on Saturday, June 13th with Guy Gerber, Nick Curly, Ron Trent, George FitzGerald and Ellen Allien. Now in Brockwell Park, Brixton, the urban dance music festival featured five stages of house, techno and disco, and is the second event in the Found series which picks up against in August. Mike Barnard and Ann McManus offer their views.

“The crowd came alive when the sun broke through – immediate cheers raised the spirits and soon the layers came off and Found Festival was go.”

He Said: A grey, murky start to the day after a week of sunshine being forecast for Saturday led to many debates about whether shorts and sunglasses or jeans and jackets would be appropriate attire for Found this year. The optimists won that debate when the sun broke out and drenched the outdoor main stage with rays midway into Motor City Drum Ensemble’s soulful house and techno set. Suddenly the crowd was lifted and the festival came alive. Until then we’d been ambling round getting a feel for the new site by sticking our heads in the George FitzGerald tent for the end of the live set from Palms Trax and checking out the Feelings tent with Black Madonna getting us ready for the disco to come on the main stage.

We gathered in a central spot at the open air Found stage for Motor City Drum Ensemble with clouds still overhead. German selector Danilo Plessow’s vinyl choices were full of vocals, bringing the funk to proceedings, yet the festival had not quite clicked into gear. The crowd came alive when the sun broke through – immediate cheers raised the spirits and soon the layers came off and Found Festival was go. A forceful techno set from the Zenker Brothers got energy levels high, then we took a break in the well-decorated VIP area presented by NTS where Mosca was providing the chilled grooves.

A sit down allowed us to reflect on the festival so far. The tented arenas were all nicely full as the site was reaching capacity and the circular layout with a circle of trees in the middle made for a natural spot to take shade. The sound levels were decent for an urban festival with the main stage producing enough ooompf to feel the beats, which was essential for the final acts of the day. Mobilee boss Anja Schneider offered her more minimal approach to techno then BPitch Control head Ellen Allien bounced around on stage to her spiky selections. A quick dip into the Feelings tent brought a switch to genre-hopper Andrés cutting up hip-hop, house, boogie and funk then house royalty Ron Trent took over, hitting a high with “Altered States”.

We wanted to finish our day outside so weaved into the masses forming for Guy Gerber’s closing set. The Israeli went down a deep, melodic route at odds with the pumped up sets which had preceded him, though this worked well to bring the day to a blissful end if not an exuberant one. The afterparty at Village Underground in Shoreditch was next, where Alan Fitzpatrick and Ellen Allien played harder sets than at the festival while KiNK adopted his Cyrillic moniker for a live set supported by Adesse Versions and Rachel Lyn. The hardcore Found faithful kept it going through until 4am to send off the second in the Found series of day festivals this year. Save for a few moans about the queue to get in at peak time, this was a successful relocation of Found Festival to south London, with a lot of love felt at its close. Next up in the series is 51st State in Cockfosters on Saturday, August 8th when the roots of house will be explored.

“You could turn round and engage in a conversation with anyone, exchanging facts about the DJs, unable to determine nor care about anyone’s weekday life and just connect over love of the music.”

She Said: “Having had a brilliant week of sunshine and amassed a motley crew of goons to join, Found festival promised to be a guaranteed success. Enter Saturday morning: rain clouds loomed ominously and a dash home for all of us to stock up on anoraks. Nonetheless, arriving in Brockwell Park, the site was in full flow at 1pm. We headed straight into the George Fitzgerald tent for Palms Trax, where the crowd were already deep into the music, everyone bopping around to some groovy house; light, with an occasional enticing deeper drop, perfectly warming the crowd up for what would follow.

After perusing all the tents we headed into the VIP area where NTS were hosting a small tent glamorously decked out with parasols, chez lounge and Chinese lanterns in pink, orange and white. We found one of the faces behind Boiler Room, Bradley Zero, spinning a light-hearted mix featuring piano riffs on top of a hip hop beat (pip-hop?) that stayed true to his eclectic Rhythm Section night. The sun came out, we picked ourselves up some jam jar cocktails, took advantage of the lovely Bohemian Jewellery Tattoos stand providing sparkles to all and festival mode had set in!

We headed for the busy main stage and took position for the end of Motor City Drum Ensemble handing over to the Zenker Brothers, the bass levels dropping deeper and the crowd more into the music. We laughed to see a group of gents holding up bottles of rose to signal to their lost friends where they were. While the crowd had looked a little rough at the start (I walked past a girl wearing a net top with nothing but a pair glitter star stickers maintaining a little decency – I don’t think she got these at the Bohemian Jewellery Tattoos stand!); it had now had a yuppie influx. The crowd was at that perfect level of diverse that I always elude to when explaining my love of festivals: you could turn round and engage in a conversation with anyone, exchanging facts about the DJs, unable to determine nor care about anyone’s weekday life and just connect over love of the music.

Taking a break from the sun, I looked forward to a dose of hip-hop courtesy of Andrés in the Feelings tent, who had received a lot of hype from my friends. Having had Brodinski in mind, I was pleasantly surprised Andrés really couldn’t compare, dropping late 80s and 90s soulful hip hop to a deep house, verging at times on techno backdrop. We stayed on for Ron Trent who picked up the pace a little, but interlude with some fun reliable crowd thrillers like Derrick May’s “Strings of Life”.

Back at the Main Stage dusk was setting in, but after a long day of dancing, it felt like dawn was breaking, the deep haunting techno from Tel Aviv’s Guy Gerber rocking the crowd hard. Knowing the day would come to a close at 9pm, everyone seemed a little lost as to whether to use up the last of their dancing fuel or to conserve some for an after party. Guy seemed to pick up on this, using his final five minutes to build energy with an extremely long wind up, which completely anti-climaxed, finishing suddenly. Had the afterparty been in Brixton, I’m sure the crowd who had built energy for the final bass drop would have happily carried on, but the complicated journey to Village Underground after a long day partying was too much for many, who had put a fantastic effort into the constant energy of the festival.

She Said by Ann McManus.

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