He Said/She Said: FOUND Presents Ceremony Festival

FOUND returned to the festival scene with Ceremony, their the second event of 2014 on Saturday, September 13th in Finsbury Park. Seven arenas of house, bass, techno, grime and hip hop from the past, present and future was promised – here’s how Mike Barnard and Ann McManus saw it.

FOUND is on a hot streak and eschewing superstar DJs in favour of a real performers is really paying off.

He Said: London promoters FOUND have made some giant strides over the last two years. Not so long ago they were putting on underground electronic music nights at Hidden with eclectic line-ups that brought acts such as Italojohnson, Genius of Time and Tessela to an intimate setting. They moved on to curate street parties in the heart of the City and one-day festivals in Haggerston Park, including one this year – I wondered if there would be the appetite for a second festival from FOUND in the space of three months.

I need not have wondered. Tickets were practically sold out before the day of the festival and, approaching Finsbury Park with the faint thumps of bass in our ears, there was a buzz about the place. Through the park gates and clear evidence of a major dance event taking place: the increasingly-notorious London sight of laughing gas sellers casually loitering with balloons in hand ready to dish out to revellers. At the box office there were eager party people snapping up the last tickets, another good sign, and we headed in.

Looking at the line-up, there were plenty of established house spinners such as DJ Sneak, Nick Curly, Louie Vega and Lil Louis along with a stage of bass from the Urban Nerds which explained the excitable atmosphere inside and out. Yet, having spent the summer hearing a lot of house DJ sets, I thought it best to seek out the music that I might not find elsewhere.

Live sets from one of the voices of early Chicago house, Robert Owens, and the “Good Life” creators Inner City were the highlights while Kevin Saunderson was on top form as he followed on from the Inner City performance with a solo DJ set. A rare hip hop set from Todd Terry kept was also a nice surprise, people had to squeeze into the marquee hosting So Fresh So Clean to get a listen. FOUND is on a hot streak and eschewing superstar DJs in favour of a real performers is really paying off.

The cocktail bartenders turned what could have been a tedious wait for a drink into a comedy show.

She Said: After overcoming a confusing queuing system, we found ourselves in a buzzing festival ground, the crowd had put real thought into their image and looked ready for a party. Generally everyone we encountered was super friendly; those in the queue instantly befriended the people behind or in-front. The VIP area was kitted out with a large canapé over the Egg stage and its allocated dance space, in amongst trees for lolling against for a rest between sets.

The cocktail bartenders were wonderfully entertaining, turning what could have been a tedious wait for a drink into a comedy show with ongoing banter between the two bartenders, engaging those waiting in their double act. The Adana Twins in the Ceremony tent played a set lighter than their signature deep Hamburg House, setting our dancing shoes jumping and off to a good start.

The festival site was set out with all the tents in easy distance of one another, the organisers obviously having carefully considered how to guarantee an enjoyable festival experience regardless of the weather, as well as making it easy to tent-hop so as to sample as much of the quality house DJing being showcased. In Groove Odyssey, Robert Owens drew a large crowd, everyone engaging with his high energy classic house, as ever, accompanied by Mr Owen’s slightly out of tune but somehow perfectly fitting vocals and an unforgettable stage presence. Returning to Egg VIP for the Menendez Brothers, who bashed out a happy house set that fitted the sunny weather to a T. Even Stardust “ The Music Sounds Better with You” featured, a tune best reserved for sensationally-smiley crowds!

Back to Groove Odyssey, House FM’s Kev Chase dropped his first ever festival set, attracting a supportive crowd bopping all over the floor hands high. The set included some fun jungle beats over rhythmic house, albeit a few too many vocals marking Kev’s background in radio. Todd Terry’s hip-hop set in So Fresh So Clean was so popular it caused the bouncers to install a one-in-one-out system, Todd’s tongue in cheek set going from Wu Tang Clan to Justin Timberlake to Destiny’s Child getting everyone grinding.

Finishing with Kevin Saunderson’s brilliant Detroit house set, I was for once relieved of the 11pm finish, still ridden with post-Ibiza flu that numerous Mai Tais had failed to cleanse my system of!

She Said by Ann McManus.

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