The new kid on the block raiding the London festival scene, Sunfall opened it’s gates for the first time over a week ago on 9th July. We went down to see whether they could live up to the talk, and we were not disappointed.
Sunfall, organised from the same group to work with notable party venue XOYO and Dimensions festival amongst others, was almost destined to succeed as soon as the line up was confirmed. Yussef Kamaal opening up a can of groove in the early afternoon slot, Jeremy Underground digging through the soul stack to get intimate in the tent, and Jamie XX closing the main stage with the sunset painting the sky red? All this and we haven’t even mentioned Moodymann yet…
Each stage morphed into an afternoon party, playing host to scenes from the four corners of the UK and beyond. Refreshingly, organisers didn’t fall for the common, but fatal inner-city festival error of stage sound systems bleeding into each other or sounding weak, instead each stage felt like stepping into it’s own basement club. The sound-systems took centre stage throughout the festival, with the speaker systems used in each of the tents even noted down at the entrances for the audiophiles out there.
The name of the game on the main stage was eclectic – moving from cosmic jazz fusions from Yussef Kamaal and Kamasi Washington, interspersed with a mix of soulful jams and party selects of the short hour-long DJ slot for Mister Saturday Night. Follow this with an ever-grooving set from Moodymann who reeled out a token bust-out of the late Prince’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ made it hard to be torn away from the outdoor stage.
Seasoned party acts such as Hunee, Jeremy Underground, and Joy Orbison with Job Jobse made appearances on the North stage, where the mood ranged from straight up four to the floor summer house to the industrialised Detroit sounds of Omar-S for the evening crowd. While the North stage was getting it’s fill, across the site the South stage was showing that there was still plenty of appetite for Bass/D&B/Dubstep, with the big wigs of the scene Digital Mystikz, OM Unit b2b Sam Binga, and Goldie b2b dBridge bringing what they had to the table and shaking up the tent. Over to the West stage came the rumbling heart beat of all things techno at the festival. Big name players were behind the decks right from the off, with Anthony Naples skipping his lunch to play from midday. The party continued throughout with the likes of Shackleton and Donato Dozzy at the helm, and Ben Klock to round off.
Throughout the rest of the festival there was the odd teething problem. The toilets, a point of contention with so many festivals, fell short of what was needed, making for 30+ minute queues at points – organisers have since acknowledged the issue and promised improvements next year. Despite this, everything else came up trumps, including the food that was on offer from various classic grub stalls, as well as some of the more left field ‘street food’ that turned up to feed the masses.