Summer is finally here and while it means longer, warmer days and more time spent soaking up the rays, it also means that festival season is almost upon us! Showing us their offering this year is Common People. Running over the weekend of 27th & 28th May it is one of the first UK festivals of the season, and what a great first weekend it is looking set to be.
One of the first things you’ll notice about CP is that it is actually two festivals (one in Southampton & the other in Oxford) working in sync with each other much like Reading & Leeds under the same “Common People” moniker, where the acts that perform on the Saturday in one town will then perform on the Sunday in the other and vice versa. Along with some big-name musicians travelling between the sites, there will also be more locally based artists, vendors and things to do which are specifically tailored to each site’s location.
Having previously been to last year’s CP Southampton weekend and learning all about its big sister festival “Bestival” whilst there (which again was a fantastic weekend), it was a no brainer that we would want to return in 2017 to do it all over again. CP Southampton can be found in the stunning, spacious Southampton Common whilst CP Oxford is located in Oxford’s South Park, having previously lived in Oxford I can attest that it is indeed the perfect location in the city for a festival of this size.
Onto the music and this time round the organisers certainly aren’t holding back! With headline sets from multi-platinum selling, Grammy award winning Hip-Hop sensation Sean Paul and BBC Radio 1 DJ and long-time Ibiza resident DJ Pete Tong presenting “Ibiza Classics” performed by The Heritage Orchestra the top of the bill for both days is looking incredibly strong and I personally cannot wait to see some dancehall anthems performed by a full piece orchestra!
That’s not to say the rest of the bill is weak, as over the weekend we will have the pleasure of seeing on the Common (main) stage; Tom Odell, Loyle Carner (whose meteoric rise over the past 2 years means he is certainly one to watch), Wild Beasts, Amy Macdonald, a DJ set from the one and only Faithless, Novelist, Signals & Elvana: Elvis Fronted Nirvana among many others.
On the Uncontained stage, which was a personal favourite of mine last year we have a solid offering in the form of My Nu Leng & M8’s (If you’re into drum & bass as I am then these guys never fail to bring a high-energy set that always sounds fresh every time you see them) & Moxie’s extremely successful On Loop party, that is well known all over Europe for showcasing the best in new electronic music. Joining them over the weekend will be: Joy Orbison, Midland, Gotsome, the one and only Fatman Scoop(!!!!), Felix Dickinson, Redlight (Who I have been wanting to see since he burst onto the scene 5 years ago) + more.
If you prefer to watch and listen to live bands with real instruments as opposed to DJ’s mixing on the 1’s & 2’s then the Uncommon stage has you covered. In Southampton, the stage is hosted by local venue The Joiners and we have headline sets from Black Honey & The Magic Gang (who are regularly played on my show). Joining them is an eclectic mix in the form of: festival legend Beans on Toast – If you haven’t seen him before, I implore you to check him out as his light-hearted and comedic set is one not to be missed. Blaenavon, Natives, Mad King Ludwig & Co, The Costellos, Gun Shy, The Manatees & Submariner (who I had the pleasure of seeing in Brighton a few weeks ago and I am very excited to see them again as they told me they had some new stuff they are going to perform on the day). Again, many more bands will be playing over the weekend.
If you have opted to go to the Oxford site then the line-up on this stage is vastly different and this time it is hosted by local music magazine Nightshift. Headlining will be Zaia & Shaodow / Kanadia. Joining them we have; Death of Hi-fi, The Balkan Wanderers, Jess Hall & Duotone, Little Red, Desert Storm, Young Women’s Music Project. As you can imagine, multiple other acts will be joining them throughout the weekend.
As Common People is a festival that prides itself not just on the music but also the food and activities to keep festivalgoers happily entertained during the afternoon and evening. There is a plethora of choice available and food stalls to suit even the fussiest of eaters or dietary requirements. As I have a major sweet tooth I am rather excited to see what offerings The Pudding Stop bring to the table and I can vouch for the delicious food that Pad Thai make as if I remember correctly they were also there last year. Now, food isn’t the only thing that keeps you going, and if the sun is shining (fingers crossed) and you’re above the legal drinking age then there is nothing more satisfying than enjoying a refreshing beverage of the alcoholic persuasion, whilst listening to some great music. The Jam Jar Bar is a must visit as their cocktails are second to none.
As for activities away from the music, the world’s biggest bouncy castle makes a return this year as well as a kids area featuring a circus, face painting and crazy inflatables – all of which are great distractions to keep the kids entertained. There will also be various pop-up shows courtesy of Nuffield Theatre and a handful of vintage funfair rides such as a Ferris Wheel which offers a great opportunity to see the whole festival site from above.
With all that said and done, Common People 2017 is looking set to be the best one yet and I personally cannot wait. It can’t come soon enough as it means that exams are over (in my case at least!) and festival season has begun! I just hope the weather is as beautiful as it was last year.
Expect more from me during the festival and afterwards as I hope to get interviews with acts over the weekend and expect a full review roundup afterwards.
More information on the festival can be found on their website.
All images are courtesy of Common People and have been taken from the “photos” page on their website.