First rule of the day: never trust a weather app. When we rock up to the entrance of the very pretty, delicately pristine and rather lovely Haggerston Park, we're minus a rain plan, because our phones told us it was sunshine all day! But hey, it's ok, it's just some soft showers that sweep across the pocket-sized city festival in London's hipster quarter.
It's midday and Leftwing & Kody are holding court on the main stage, bringing the early arriving crowd together with Gerd's tantalising, piano-led 'Still Believe'. They're setting the tone for the day and the excitement levels are already bubbling away, and dancing with our sunglasses on in the rain is just plain normal. Armand Van Helden's mix of Tori Amos' 'Professional Widow' rips through and we're wondering if it's wise to peak this early?
Bumping into Jon from the duo later in the day he puts it in a nutshell for us. “Wicked vibes, the music is spot on, a really intimate vibe for a festival which is rare, Found have really pulled it off.” Matt Tolfrey's playing warm old school house vibes in the VIP and he also points out that “everyone's in a good mood”.
Later, the second rule of the day applies: one should practice cutting shapes in the privacy of one's own home before trying it out for real. But we're determined to get in amongst the movers as the infectious light toe-shuffling kicks off around us. Thankfully, the competitive nature of this dance is not taking place at Found. This is an attitude-free zone with a warm friendly atmosphere that evolves as the day unfolds.
Taking a break to jot down a few notes in the Love Fever tent, while Son of Sun bring on the glamour with feather headdresses, sequins an' all, we have a nice chat with a guy called Ricky. “What ya doing?” he asks. He's on day release from his wife and small child. We promise him a mention in the review. “I'm going to tell all my mates now, so you better do it,” he smiles.
Noir is playing now and we are indeed happy to see that this festival is kid-free. It's without doubt an adult's playground. A tough disco edit of 'Groove Is In the Heart' rings out as the sun belts down, and we're treated to a display of royal aircraft heading directly to Buckingham Palace.
The NoFitState tent lives up to its name and is the epicentre for a serious 'heads down let's get dirty' session, brought to a frothing peak by Anja Schneider when she plays her own track 'Dubmission'. “The crowds are always special in London,” Anja tells us. “They know what they want and you can't play around. I love to be in London, and a daytime festival makes it even more special.”
Might we also point out that Found are one of the few festivals that stretch the boundaries by lining up over half a dozen female DJs on the day? Heidi, Cassy, Francesca Lombardo and Magda are all set to join the Mobilee boss. However, Heidi has some problems in transit — her bag with passport in is stolen at Sonar — and she's unable to make the flight. Artwork fills in for her on the main stage and we experience a bit of a moment when he plays Lovebirds 'Want You In My Soul', complete with its beautifully euphoric intro. It melts across the festival and the sun shines harder.
Three arenas and a main stage are shoe-horned into this relatively small space but it works, and when Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill' drifts through the electronica we head back to the Love Tent to find Bicep paving the way for a house legend with their honeyed deep set. Before long Moodymann is receiving some well-deserved hero worshipping from the crowd.
“Y'all feeling alright out there?” he asks and his familiar Detroit drawl brings whoops and cheers of respect.
Third rule of the day: quit while you're ahead. And we disappear into the heart of Hackney in a scene reminiscent of the closing sequence of Spaced, when Tyres exits from the club at the end of Season One — nodding sagely to the beats of Camirsa's 'Let Me Show You (Tall Paul Mix)'. Or did we get carried away?
Words: Helene Stokes