51st State Festival 2018 definitely did not disappoint on its fourth offering of all things music festival stylie.
The sun shone and the music pumped on dusty Trent Park, North London. Glitter faced fashionistas and some glitter bearded divos partied in the heatwave, sweat dripping, after tanking up on the tube ride or clearing the shelves in M & S on route.
As I arrived in VIP ‘The Madhatter,’ more commonly known as DJ Trevor Nelson left. Was it somehing I said?! No, his set was complete. Darn, and he was on my ‘must see’ list, alongside hitmaker India (‘To Be In Love’), 80’s soul group Loose Ends (‘Hanging On A String’) and USA Lillo Thomas (‘Settle Down,’ ‘Good Girl’) who I didn’t see either!
My list went out the window as I weaved my way through Hot Wuk’s bashment by DJ Robbo Ranx, and Found’s Broken / Afro Beats by DJ Karizma, before landing on the creme de la creme Back To 95’s UK Garage.
Yet again the BT95 was crammed with thousands of ravers with DJ Masterstepz on the 1’s and 2’s, helped by MC Blakey, playing tunes from when I raved at The Gas Club, The Aquarium, Sun City and of course the original Jo’s then Colleseum.
Back then we didn’t know we were creating a UKG scene that led pioneers like The Dreem Team become household names. Or we were cementing a legacy that 23 years later would still draw crowds. “Oggie oggie oggie,” yells Blakey, “Oi oi oi,” comes a rapturous reply. The horns, the cheers, the lasers, creating a true club feel.
Next stop, Norman Jay MBE on the We Got Soul stage. He played a nice selection of house, before my crew headed to the massive Groove Oddessey stage for some New York collective Body & Soul, individually known as Joe Classeau, Danny Krivit and Francois K cranking up the pressure with soulful beats.
Then sexy smooth Shaun Escoffery reinforced that we surely do ‘Love Day’s Like This,’ with a live performance which had thousands singing in unison “I love days like this …here comes the sun.”
Escoffery followed with a duet accompanied by resident hostess Barbara Tucker, whose t boasted “NEVER 2 FLY 2 PRAY,” which is so true. The message in gospel house music is always inspirational and bubbling over with love for self and/or the Lord. But Tucker’s flamboyant outfit – black fishnets, red lace skirt and customary big wig went against the grain.
Backstage I ran into British boxer Dereck Chisora and politely asked for a selfie. He wasn’t too happy I asked him to remove his sunglasses and then turn around to capture good lighting! (I’ve since seen clips of his pre-match banter and fights. Luckily, I only got the look rather than the licks!!)
Back to front and the duo Masters At Work took the reigns for a few hours flawlessly mixing side by side.
And as the sun set DJ Carl Cox played a compelling headline set to close the day of pure unadulterated house music fun! The beats, the bass, the lights, rousing thousands into an atmospheric finale.
Despite festival feet it won’t change my 51st State of mind 🙂 How could you tire of partying in the park? 20-19 whoop whoop!