Hang on a sec but what the flipping hell is that thing in the sky?! Blimey, it’s the sun! Yep. It’s come out for Love Saves the Day, one of the first festivals of the season — a heartwarming, glitter-kissed gathering that takes place on the last Saturday and Sunday of May. And we are doing it, Bristol fashion, hopping and skipping from the train station, a quick stroll, over the bridge and there it is, slap bang in the centre of town as we hit Castle Park. It’s a bite-sized city festival, shouldered against a main-ish road in the pretty park and gardens that overlook the canal. At first glance we reckon it’s unlikely that all that’s in store for us will fit into a seemingly small site, but a close inspection reveals a cleverly laid-out plan.
First things first, we get our bearings and head directly to the Futureboogie Recordings Stage to suss out where we’ll be later for the Bicep set. We’d made a promise to ourselves that July’s covermount CD stars would be first on the agenda. Hunger pangs have kicked in already so we may as well grab a bite and get the sustenance levels into check. As we’ve arrived early, a perfect picnic spot above the Just Jack stage is quickly found and we plonk ourselves down. Locals Christophe and Lukas are setting a perfect Alfresco Disco pace for Joy Orbison who’s due on next.
Team Love have excelled themselves this year, creating just the right fusion of music, art, fun and games to keep us happy. A mini boutique parade holds a ‘tattoo’ parlour, glitter concession, funky threads store and Twisted Theatre (receive your own personalized performance in a caravan). Now we’re starting to limber up and join an impromptu sychronised dancing session at the Cocktails and Dreams stage. Surrounded by some inspired dance movers and a colourful, impressively dressed group of smiling Bristolians, we pop some shapes, grinning wryly that everyone seems to already be covered in glitter, including us, and a group of bald guys who have smothered themselves in the stuff.
Moving on, we stumble upon the ‘Dance Off’ boxing ring where the title speaks for itself — and hi-jinx are in full pursuit. “Who invited you? Not a good idea to wear a onesie,” the MC goads a couple of shimmy sparring partners, geeing up a bouncing crowd.
Sauntering past the main stage, we glance up the grassy bank at a gaggle of sun worshippers beaming as they wait for Bonobo to arrive. But we’re not fooled into thinking this is some kind of a chill-out festival, as the tug of Digital Soundboy, where Shy FX is smashing it, proves too much and we’re sucked into the maelstrom.
Time gets gobbled up when you’re having fun, but before we know it we’ve managed to hotfoot it over to catch our Bicep boys drop Chic’s “I feel your love comin' on like the calm before the storm”. Wahoo! Now you’re talking. And you’ve got to love being able to dance a Saturday away while Bristol shoppers peep through the fencing and the world just passes by.
The sun’s doing that evening time thing with its colours painting a wash of soft pink over everything in sight. The heart-shaped balloons have been ransacked from their posts, but we spot a couple tied to a jeep that’s escorting Seth Troxler to just about as far into the festival as it can get. He walks the rest of the way with his two record bags and takes over from Eats Everything to lights out.
There’s some fun to be had trying to Shazam tracks in this soundsystem dimension. It’s not happening. Hey ho, may just as well enjoy it instead, soak it up and wave to the canal boats that are drifting by.
Mr Scruff is doing his eclectic thing in the Jubilee Marquee with the dub-infused set that he’s famous and loved for. It’s a hard job to drag ourselves away, but AlunaGeorge is up next and a sparkling pop-tastic time beckons, as Ms Aluna has a ‘will she, won’t she’ come on stage moment. She does and it’s well worth the wait to see this emerging talent in the flesh. And guess what? Love saved the day.
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