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Review: Sunfall Festival 2016

Moodymann, Sunfall Festival review on Cone Magazine - Dan Medhurst

From the same guys who run Outlook and Dimensions festival, as well as nightclubs Phonox, The Nest and XOYO, comes a new day festival in South London, that seems to have successfully flipped a middle finger at the ever strenuous council regulations in the big smoke.

And debuting its first year, comes with it a sense of excitement and apprehension. The pleasures of coming in on press, meant we weren’t part of the 12,000 strong crowd that had to feed through a rather narrow entrance. And the queues didn’t end at the entrance gates. I sighed a relief that I’d used the pisser in the The Florence pub outside Brockwell earlier, as the queues inside were a daunting sight.

Nevertheless, I made my way to the main stage to catch Mister Saturday Night rock a crowd with some inviting selections including a closing track from Captain Beefheart. Delightful!! Following an interview with the Mister Saturday Night boys behind stage afterwards, it was on to see Hunee rock a crowd in the North Stage tent, that proved unbearably hot in the centre of the crowd. As such, we’d gravitate to the outskirts of the tent stages for most of the day. Nonetheless, Hunee’s brand of infectious house and disco selections was a lure that would keep us fixated throughout.

Between the North, West, South and Main Stages that tower from each corner of the park we sit and absorb. Observing, it became quite apparent that the crowd at Sunfall is of the more mature and refined cohort. Mostly mid 20’s early 30’s, but respectable, and welcoming. No one took the piss, and everyone seemed to want each other to have a good time. Including Steve, the 6ft 5” northerner who kept trying to convince me taking a viagra at a day festival was a ‘solid’ idea.

Kamasi Washington was just as expected. Oozing soul, character and a stage presence that ignited a crowd and inspired an energy that would sustain for most of the day. Moodymann, much like his predecessor, would hold the crowd within his palm. Unfortunately however, the crowd would remain at arm’s length, following an attack from Kenny Dixon JR over the microphone at the security, for not allowing him to pour them shots. The man’s enigmatic profile sustained behind a fishnet face mask. His opinions, far out in the open.

Much can be said about the sound of Sunfall. The emphasis placed on it was to be expected, considering the ties with Dimensions festival – well renowned for their systems. Sunfall was no different. The main stage housed a total of 32 boxes of MLA Martin Audio (arguably the best in the industry) that towered 15 metres tall. The tents are walled which allowed the engineers to maximise the levels that can be achieved through a rig of infamous Void systems. All in all, you both felt and heard every nuance in sound, and didn’t wake up the next morning with ringing ears.

Unable to attend one of the 9 night parties dotted around London, our focus was now on giving the final few hours of the festival all we had. Techno was on the menu and we were straight over to the West stage to catch Mind Against, explore parodies of Berlin-esque noise and experimental. Catching our breath momentarily, we then run the graveyard shift at the North stage with a colossal soundtrack from Joy Orbison B2B with Job Jobse followed by the motor-city spearhead Omar S perform a headline closing set. And as the sun sets on SunFall, my calendar for July 2017 has found itself a new entry.


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