A jam-packed day full of electronic music superstars, a great atmosphere and all round great fun!
After what seemed like an eternity of waiting over summer, the weekend of South West Four’s fifteenth birthday had finally arrived, and after covering myself head to toe in glitter, I headed to Clapham Common to watch the likes of Marshmello, Chase & Status and Sigma.
Day One – Saturday 25th August
Day one of the festival brought an abundance of electronic dance music, and with that came plenty of energy. After wandering round the common whilst soaking up the sunshine, we headed to the indoor main stage to catch Galantis’ set. The Swedish electronic dance producers did not disappoint; remixing dance classics and featuring their best hits ‘Peanut Butter Jelly’ and ‘Runaway’, they were the perfect act to set up our day. The indoor main stage also featured two of my personal favourites of the weekend: R3hab and Example + DJ Wire. They again incorporated classics with their biggest tunes and ensured the crowds had the upmost of energy.
Oliver Helden’s Heldeep Arena was home to Idris Elba’s set, where he proved he was not just an actor to a crowd overflowing out of the tent. However, for me, the best act in this tent had to be Armand Van Helden. He appealed to every kind of audience – younger and older generations, couples and groups of friends. The atmosphere was euphoric, as Van Helden played ‘My My My’, one of his biggest dance hits that has aged surprisingly well.
The standout act of this year had to be Marshmello, during one of his rare appearances to the UK. True to his usual self, he appeared on set in his marshmallow mask, and put together some of the best visuals I have seen at a festival. Marshmello had the whole crowd eating out of the palm of his hands, leading each hit track into another hit track, and not only sticking to his usual vibrant pop-electronic music, but also venturing into areas of trap music, dubstep and hip-hop. His set was one that will stick with me throughout my memories of visiting festivals, mainly for the insanely brilliant sound transitions and hypnotising visuals.
Day Two – Sunday 26th August
With another day of South West Four came the rain, and with the pretty much constant downpour came a mayhem of mud. However, this didn’t get the festival goers down! As opposed to the Saturday, grime and drum and bass had much more of a presence. One of my highlights of the day had to be Craig David’s TS5 set, where old school garage fans were taken back to everyone’s favourites ‘Rewind’ and ‘Seven Days’. He also engaged the crowd with throwbacks to some of the biggest RND and hip-hop anthems. Not only did Craig David demonstrate his skills as a singer and rapper, he also showed us that he could work a crowd with his DJ-ing talents.
The main enigma of the day had to be Bugzy Malone, after touring around smaller venues in the UK, the grime rapper had secured a place at one of this year’s biggest festivals. However, after fans waited 35 minutes for his arrival, he arrived on set, performed three songs and then left, which has still not been addressed.
Unsurprisingly, the highlight of the night came from Chase & Status, who proved why they deserved another headliner set at a festival. After seeing them headline at Wireless a couple of years back, I had high hopes for the duo, and as usual they did not disappoint. The duo interchanged between manic energy and moments of consolidation singing their slower songs. Not only did they play their classics ‘No Problem’ and ‘End Credits’, they debuted new work.
The only fault with the festival is the lack of organisation before you arrive. We unfortunately missed Dizzee Rascal’s set because set times weren’t released online before the day begun. The only way you could get the set times were through programmes costing £6 for just one day, or by travelling round all the stages and taking note of the set times. However, this problem aside, I couldn’t have had a better two days celebrating the core values of South West Four: the electronic and dance music scene. The weekend was packed full of highlights, which I can’t wait to relive next year.
South West Four returns in 2019, and you can sign up now for early bird tickets here.