Live Review: Citadel Festival (July 2017)
On a gloriously warm weekend, Citadel Festival took over Victoria Park in London this July, offering a rather unique festival experience with so many things on offer, including a full blown roast dinner. Did the event make the cut of being a success or did it just feel like a giant Lovebox hangover?
Our first stop of the day was Bellevue Days, despite playing a shorter set after getting stuck in London traffic, the boys fused together an air tight and loud performance with their mixture of alternative rock.
We headed over to the Kasbah stage next to catch Jake Issac, this South London songwriter had quite the crowd this early on in the day. He sound suited the chilled out Sunday vibes. With a number of big supports under his belt, this lad is certainly a rising star.
Last time we saw Stevie Parker, she was supporting Soak at Koko, so it was great to be able to catch her performing again at such a large event. With tracks like "Without You" going down a treat as the sun beamed out into the audience.
Maggie Rogers, Pharrell's wonder child, has risen to fame quickly, she was treated to cheers from the crowds and she carried herself throughout her set despite being on such a big stage.Following on with XamVolo, who certainly brought something different to what we had experienced so far today at Citadel. It was soulful and sexy, reminding us of the old school Motown days.
Laura Marling took over the main stage as the afternoon turned into early evening, and as beautiful as her set was (when is it not), we felt that maybe she was lost with the crowd in such a big environment. Her performance was faultless though, but just maybe not for the bigger festival circuit.
In steps Yonaka, quite easily one of our favorite bands at the moment, to headline the DIY Urban Forest Stage. They are raw, energetic and fun, certainly what we have needed today after what has seemed like a giant sit down. It has been a while since a band has truly excited us, and Yonaka is that band for us at the moment.
Michael Kiwanuka headlined the Communion Stage, which carries a lot of pressure on him, but he manages to pull it with great ease. With a large crowd enjoying his set greatly, it goes to show that hie can do it. So hopefully next year we will see more of him across the festival scene playing bigger stages.
By this point the festival has been sunny all day, with beer flowing in high units. So everyone was ready for Foals. With their only UK festival appearance, the band rip into 'Mountain at my Gates' to the audiences' great delight. However we felt as the set went on, the audience got bored, and you could feel that in the bands performance as they sounded dryer and dryer as the night went on.
Encoring with 'What Went Down' and the usual 'Two Steps, Twice', saw them playing to an half empty field, as half the event left to deal with the Sunday service trains.
With the day coming to close, we couldn't help but think maybe Citadel was a giant hangover, as we left the site we found half of it being packed away already. Like as if the whole festival was done for the weekend having already dealt with Lovebox also. It advertised itself as a festival Utopia, however it just felt like a slowly deflating balloon. The main stage had a good line up, but the performances felt washed out by the crowd this Sunday afternoon. Citadel for us, was saved by the smaller stages and the random unique things they had on offer. Such as the Spoken Word tent and guest speakers on Doctor Who and more.
Hopefully next year, the festival can take itself a step further, otherwise we can see it being quickly forgotten about on the festival scene.
Review and Photography by Ant Adams