One Love Festival 2013 Review
Written by Sally Bevers and Sam Bradley
For a festival with just two fields – one for camping and one as the ‘arena’ – One Love Festival is wholesome and unique.
3 tents and 2 outdoor stages, one of which being the back of a truck, with enough speakers to swamp the sound of V festival from just up the road. Sitting in the middle of the field at Damyn’s Hall aerodrome, you could feel the bass reverberating from all corners through the ground and into your feet, drowning the noise of the Cessnas and microlights coming into land in the adjacent runway. Wooden signs reading “Peace”, “Love”, “Smile” and “Be Happy” reflect the music back along with the cheerful and chilled vibe dressed in green, yellow and red.
To get into the swing of things we headed over to Jallow to to get decked out in the finest of Gambian fabrics and strode out into the into the real British summer looking “real African”. In the Dub Shack we were greeted by Jah Soundsystem attempting to drive away the rain with the kind of heavy dub you would expect to hear blaring at 3:30am from a sweaty basement, rather than 3:30 pm in a rainbow tent. A short walk away, the 9-piece Ska Chain Brassika lead an afternoon skank. After being handed a sticker by the man himself with his showtime on it, we sought the meaning of High Elements Dubwise Fayah. The French “Riddim maker, Dub Mixer” pushed the soundsystem with the sqauelchyest and deepest of dub seemingly created live by manipulating the effects of a mixing board.
As the weather became greyer, Ijahman Levi lit up the festival from the mainstage. At 67 Levi still has the moves and the voice to win over a crowd and get everyone moving. Often giving his incredible band centre stage, a band who were clearly having as much fun playing as we were watching them, leading to them closing the set with some impeccable dub.
The greatly besaxophoned Cosmic Fevah deserves a mention, who played as the sun set behind the dark grey clouds.
With no expectations of the type of One Love Festival goers, I have to say that the advertised “family festival” was bang on. For example, while Black Uhuru charmed the crowds on the main stage we were drawn back to the Dub shack, which had since become a full blown tea-time jungle rave, led by none other than a crew of 5 very young children atop the DJ booth armed with ear defenders and inflatable instruments. Everyone from babies to Grandads, made up ladies on hen do’s to dreadlocked rastas were getting down all day and night: everyone was accepted into the fun.
Over jerk chicken we enjoyed the reggae dancehall of the legendary U Roy transporting out of our waterproofs into the heart of Jamaica. As the night went onwe took shelter in the warmth of the tents in the field, each had a respective wall of speakers turned up to 11, and each with a different vibe from classic reggae to hardcore DnB, Jungle classics to the deepest dub. In every tent everyone was dancing as each DJ was unique, playing sadly unshazzamable tracks. Music was played well into the lighter hours, and I awoke to a late night freestyle rap battle through the canvas walls of our tent.
The sun came out for Sunday morning and not after long the relaxing reggae riddim filled our ears once more as we headed over to see our SupaJam competition winners. With bleary eyes, breakfast-goer’s faces were lit up as the young and energetic Jeremiah Ferrari put the groove back in our step with some refreshing rock reggae. Following them were Will and the People bringing out the sunshine putting everyone back into the party spirit with a couple of reggae covers of late 90s dance tunes.
At One Love there was never a moment where the music wasn’t loud and everyone was dancing (we were even serenaded by a choir singing Bob Marley in the car park as we left). One Love got us all together and we feel alright!
One Love Festival 2013 Review