ELECTRIC PARK JERSEY
With the festival season over for another year, I tip my hat and say Hurrah what a summer.
We have been treated to so many amazing events, so many amazing acts and not to mention so many outstanding people loving life in fields, stadiums, music venues and even their very own back gardens. Talking about back gardens, over here in Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, we have been spoilt rotten this year with a whole host of amazing events and blimey did they save the best for last. On Saturday 24th September Jersey once again turned up the electricity as we saw the return of the Electric Park Festival. Held at the peoples park in St Helier, which you could say is the capital of Jersey but mostly known to locals as quite simply Town. This mammoth one day event really is a special one, with a line up of some of the biggest names to ever grace a stage and an atmosphere that can only be described as, well, Electric.
Unlike any of my usual mainland festival journeys, which usually consist of having to get on a plane, two trains, four buses an Uber and a scooter. EP is practically held in my very own back yard, in fact my total journey took around 11 minutes walk from door to door, or in this case Festival gates. The sun was shining and the excitement was building as I entered the site and was directed straight to collect my very special AAA wristband. First off the bat I would very much like to thank festival organisers Warren Holt and Danny Matthews for their incredible hospitality and absolute skills in making everyone feel so welcome. So with opening time fast approaching I nip backstage to catch up with opening act, Jerseys very own superstars Von Cassidy. It was absolute smiles all round as they get ready to play the largest stage of their career so far. With a quick high five and a last tune of guitars we have lift off.
As Von Cassidy take to the stage to a thunderous applause you can instantly see how much it means to them to be opening such an amazing event, but if they had any nerves you couldn’t see them. Owning the stage like they have played a hundred Glastonbury’s they treat us to a pure class set. Their mix of funky grooves and indie riffs really remind me of the chilli peppers meets Nile Rogers with a hint of Foals thrown in to get the heart racing. Belting out the stand out singles “Keep the party polite” and “Everybody wants to know” its clear these guys and gals where the perfect choice to kick off this spectacular line up. They pulled out all the bells and whistles complete with stunning backing singers, sick licks and pounding drums, and when they glide into brand new single “A hot minute” absolutely everyone had their groove well and truly on.
So as Von Cassidy take their bow I dash straight off to the VIP Comedy Tent to catch one of the top up and coming funny men of the world Mr Christian Jegard or just Jegard as he’s know on the comedy circuit. Dressed in a tux complete with eyeliner and cumber bun you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve somehow just gatecrashed a member of Pulps wedding just in time for the best man speech. Yes and as you could imagine it was comedy gold. The geezer is a natural at making you feel comfortable and paranoid all at the same time. Almost reminding me of comedy giants Newman and Baddiel with his indie style comedy, he finishes his set with with a fantastically titled musical number “bed sit party” a tune which sounds like it could’ve been written by Jarvis himself. Brilliant, I loved it.
Right sides split from laughter I grab myself an ice cold cider, yes that’s right ice cold, they don’t do that warm cider malarky in Jersey. I jest, warm cider is part of festival culture but I have to say I was impressed with the refreshing ice cold temperature of me Pint. So, On with the show my butterflies shout as I take up my position to catch one of the most iconic indie bands of the past 30 years. Yes ladies and gentleman The Lighting Seeds. Now these guys have indie hits and the Jersey crowd know it. As the sunshines down on the crowd and the smoke machine drifts across the stage we know we are being treated, with “Marvellous”, “Lucky You” and “Change” oh my days it’s like being in an indie time machine. As I gaze out over the crowd of pure smiles I can’t help but notice a massive homemade sign which read “Sugar Coated Iceberg” with a fantastically drawn iceberg, and you can imagine the reaction when Ian Broudie notices, gives a wink and plays the tune, the sign owners day was made. What was so amazing, was the fact that the owner of said sign was no other than Jersey Drum and Bass legend DJ Seany, I think there could be a remix on the cards. Such a great set and brand new single “Emiley Smiles” is yet another brilliant example of how to write a hit. I have to say it was such a wonderfully nostalgic feeling hearing all those hits live but when they played all time indie classic “Pure” I could feel a warm happy indie tear in my eye. Beautiful set and also one of the most beautifully warm hearted bunch of legends I ever met. I honestly can’t wait to catch up with them all again soon.
Now its time for a little pop and a bit of a dance as we welcome the queen of kitchen discos Sophie Ellis Bexter to the stage. First off wow what an outfit, totally sparkling disco attire and the way she welcomed the crowd was just like she was saying hello to a group of dear friends she hadn’t seen in a long time. The sing a longs where out in full force again as she boogied her way through the hits like Groovejets “if this ain’t love” and “Crying at the discotheque” but as you can imagine when she pulled out the big gun and hit us with “Murder on the dance floor” absolutely everyone of those thousands of people raised their hands in the air and shook their derrières singing There’s murder on the dance floor but you better not kill the grove. Fantastic Stuff, no matter what music your into everyone loves that belter and the Jersey crowd most certainly made that a clear fact.
So as I head off back into the backstage area its more smiles as I bump into my good pal, ultimate legend the Mcgeezer himself Mr Alan McGee. Now managing the mighty Ocean Colour Scene, he tells me with laughter how he had to take three planes and spent the night in malaga airport to get here but wouldn’t of missed it for the world, the man’s a legend and that’s why he’s the best in the biz.
Ok so now comes Ocean Colour Scene. The moment everyone is waiting for, the crowd goes quiet as frontman and songwriting royalty Simon Fowler takes to the stage with acoustic guitar in hand and opens the set with a beautifully haunting version of “Robin Hood”. The crowd are in ore, perfectly placed in the palm of his hand as he’s joined on stage by the rest of the Scene who whips the crowd right up with “The Riverboat song”. Mr mod daddy himself Steve Cradock directs the crowd as he plays the iconic riff and boom the whole place erupts. Then straight into the “circle” and the crowd are in there element. Again I felt so lucky as I stood on the side of the stage absolutely transfixed on the skills of drummer Oscar Harrison. Such outstanding musicianship and phenomenal timing. The crowd are in full voice too as the hits keep coming, hitting us with wave after wave of nostalgia and joy. I remember almost being in an indie trance when they played “100 mile high city”, now that tune is an ultimate jam, such a belter but the most inspiring thing had to be when they play “The day we caught the train”.Now that is something, thousands of people in a park in Jersey singing their hearts out to one of the greatest indie rock and roll records ever written, an ultimate timeless classic and an ultimate memory made. It’s was also a personal dream come true to meet and chat to such a phenomenal band. I had to pinch myself and one point as I found myself in conversation with Steve Cradock about our mutual love for The small faces and telling him how Steve Marriotts nephew is now in a class band called Darlings. What a fantastic experience so far and again such utter gentleman and true lovers of music, and the people it means so much too.I
Next up to grace the main stage was one of the biggest singer songwriters in the world today the amazing James Bay. With the stage lights coming alive in awesome fashion he takes to the stage to an incredible welcome. What a showman and what an incredible arsenal of absolute hits. He’s vocal is so on point that’s its an exact example of what the tip of the point must be. As he perfectly delivers “let it go” and “if you ever want to be in love” the warmth of unity between the crowd and the performance was breathtaking. Such an enormous feeling of love, empathy and joy filled the crowd of thousands and when the opening melody to “hold back the river” filled the air it almost felt like every single person was lifted off their feet by a cheer of pure jubilation.
What an absolutely class act, and I have to say what an absolutely class guitarist. I was lucky enough to be stood behind his perfectly set Fender deluxe amp and the sound that was coming back at me was nothing short of bloody marvellous. Such an epic performance by such an amazingly talented songwriter and such a wonderfully polite, not to mention charming and humble superstar. We had little chat after about how he loved the beautiful island of Jersey and when I complemented him on his flawless guitar skills he’s response was that of genuine thanks, I thought wow now that is one charming young man.
Right but the night isn’t over just yet, with one of the best bands to come out of the noughties and some of the best stage lighting I’ve ever seen in Jersey, the mighty Wombats hit us with some high energy pounding of the drums and rip straight into their headline set with scissors kicks and ultimate indie classics. “Moving to New York” gets everyones feet moving and jumping in unison as the almost neon Rubik’s cube style lighting illuminates the night sky and voices fill the air. What’s great about the set is the amount of energy on and off the stage. Especially when all the indie kids of young and old are hit with “Lets dance to Joy Division”. Well every single person celebrated the irony, I can tell you that for a fact. Shapes of all kinds where being thrown around with nothing but faces of pure joy and arms in arms of a community of music lovers and lovers of life. As I stood there mind blown by the performance I notice six figures moving around back stage, as I look closer as the smoke machine clears the figures become clear and all I can see is six human sized fuzzy wombats running on to the stage and what can only be described as a wombat indie disco takes place. What a finale, as the ultimate indie belter “kill the director” roars out from the stage and the final sing a long of the day roars from the crowd. Honestly what an amazing headliner to an incredible day.
So as the crowd exits the festival, all still in full voice singing various renditions of favourites of the day, it’s clear that Electric Park 2022 was a complete and utter success. It’s no wonder it’s known as the peoples festival.
So as I head off into the after party for plenty of chats and bants there’s only one thing on everyones minds, we all can’t wait to do it all again next near.