Love Saves the Day review

!(feature_c)!No amount of rain could dampen the atmosphere for new Bristol festival Love Saves the Day as 8,000 revellers filled Castle Park for the day. There had been mixed forecasts, and the night before had been torrential rain, but the sun was shining from the morning so there were high spirits felt. Tickets sold out months ago and demand had been high to get hold of any spares with Jamie Jones, Roots Manuva, Mr Scruff, Joker, Joy Orbison, Pearson Sound, Zoom T and Maya Jane Coles set to perform. As a zap! bang! Magazine crew of three wandered towards the main gate, we made a pact to focus on the music and good times to see where the day would take us.

!(feature_l)!On entry, dub band Babyhead were making the most of the early afternoon sunshine to continue the sunshine vibes as many made the most of the warmer part of the day to chill on the grass. Over at the Tokyo Dub stage Radikal Guru was laying down heavier beats as he got the best of the weather and rewarded the early arrivals with sun-drenched throbs of bass whipping onlookers into the party spirit. Smiles and sunglasses were proudly worn as the debut event got off to the best possible start. The varied site meant the main stage sat in a natural amphitheatre with a bandstand to the left to shelter under if need be, while Tokyo Dub took over a hard area nearby and The Bristol Young Vic got a spot next to the Jubilee Tent. The ruins of St Mary-le-Port church made for an impressive centrepiece to the west with a food court, bar, plus Dance Off, Just Jack and Red Bull Music Academy stages surrounding it.

Radikal Guru was laying down heavy beats as he got the best of the weather

!(feature_r)!We headed from the Tokyo Dub stage past the interesting live PA from My Bad Sister featuring singers in peace-sign-emblazoned clothes and a DJ with a boar mask on. Not too sure what to make of the twin sisters, we continued to our intended destination of the Just Jack stage to see Miguel Campbell getting into the disco realm, much to the delight of the crowd. His fans sang along to hit “Something Special” and he proved you can still mix modern disco while looking effortlessly stylish, perhaps helped by the fact the throb of disco bass was a particular hit with the ladies. Regrouping with the rest of the zap! bang! crew who had sought out drinks, we took to the bandstand to watch rising electronica star Koreless who melds melodies and beats in fanciful fashion creating waves of emotive music that resonated with the increasingly excitable crowd.

!(feature_l)!Jessie Ware’s vocal talents continued to wow the main stage with her soulful tunes, then Annie Mac cranked up the energy with a typically full-on set which took in electro, garage and the latest UK number one: Rudimental’s “Feel The Love”. In need of some refreshment towards the end of Annie Mac’s set, we braved one of three bars only to be warned it was shots only, then ventured to the furthest bar where demand was high but the drinks couldn’t get served fast enough. After squeezing to the front following a long wait, it seemed there was simply just too few bars to cater for everyone – something for organisers to think about at next year’s event. It was now I was told I had missed some DJ Luck and MC Neat at the Dance Off stage, reliably informed they had been on on top of their game. Emerging victorious with drinks in hand, the zap! bang! crew got amongst the crowd lapping up Eats Everything in the now steady drizzle. His favouring of exquisitely-produced house was keeping even those with just shorts and t-shirts happy even if the sound was not packing the punch it had been earlier.

Roots Manuva pulled out “Witness” to close his set, the famous bassline squelching out loud.

!(feature_r)!A quick trip to the Jubilee Tent was needed to dry off where we found Mr Scruff getting into his groove on a four-hour trip through jazz and basslines. It wasn’t easy getting inside as demand for the tea-drinking DJ was high, though there was a carnival attitude inside generating a lot of heat. After getting down to Mr Scruff and warming up nicely, we headed back to see Maya Jane Coles take to the decks at Just Jack. Alas the sound hadn’t improved, but she got straight into her trademark bass heavy house which was met with whoops of approval. A taste of Coles and we ventured to see Ben UFO playing at the Red Bull Music Academy stage where their Funktion One was very much turned up full. Now the muddiest of all the areas at Love Saves the Day, the crowd didn’t care as they took their energy from the deep bassline soaking through their bodies. By now the rain had been heavy on and off making for the hardcore Bristol mentality ensuring plenty of excitement across the festival.

!(feature_l)!On the main stage Roots Manuva pulled out “Witness” to close his set, the famous bassline squelching out loud ahead of dubstepper Joker and hip hop band Foreign Beggars. Jamie Jones brought his finest house vibes to close the Just Jack set while Person Sound went back-to-back with Joy Orbison on the RBMA stage. Despite the rain and issues getting drinks at the bars, Love Saves the Day made for an impressive first foray into organising a festival by the LSTD which hit the perfect spot musically and had an atmosphere to match. They can learn a lot from this experience and we can hope to see love saving the day again next with a bit better weather and another selection of electronic music’s finest.

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