Field Day is renowned for its yearly visit by glorious sunshine. Victoria Park is transformed into a summer paradise, thrown slap bang in the middle of the Big Smoke, complete with azure skies and the sunburnt faces of festival-goers completely unused to this much sun.

This year, however, Field Day made itself known as a proper British festival by becoming a muddy swamp. For once, the weather reports of storms were accurate. And boy did that rainfall. Not that anyone there actually gave much a shit though.

As the heavens opened on the Saturday and we dashed under the nearest tent (not before grabbing a beer at the fantastic Brewer's Market which featured the likes of Beavertown and Partizan), the sight was one that only a true British festival could deliver. Two people started wrestling in the muddy puddles while throngs of people desperate for a pint or the loo, and eager to avoid the downpour in doing so, sprang out of the tent with the speed of an Olympic sprinter.

Even though the fields became a Herculean task to cross, with schedules thrown the wayside in favour of whatever was nearest, the crowds braved the weather to see what Skepta had to bring his hometown. Though sound gremlins had well and truly done a number towards the start of the set, by the time he was hitting the big crowd pleasers like 'Man (Gang)' and 'Shutdown', as well as a cover of JME's 'Man Don't Care', the crowd were dancing through the puddles with wild abandon.

Field Day 2015

The decision was made to stay towards the top of the festival to avoid the swamp, which meant having to forgo the likes of Kelela and Floating Points, but we were instead treated to the one-two punch of Gold Panda and Four Tet.

While Gold Panda, onstage in a Tampax branded t-shirt, offered up a blissed-out set, all twinkling chimes and Oriental inspired beats, Four Tet sat in great contrast. His remix of Eric Prydz's 'Opus', a slow burn of a banger, was met with a more than enthusiastic response, and his chilled-out take on Rihanna's 'Kiss It Better' saw a few groups lose their minds. With nearly 20 years in the game under his belt, it's no surprise he knows exactly how to turn a crowd from drowned rats into revellers for whom the rain is the last thing on their minds.

Though headliner James Blake was on hand to create the perfect melancholic mood to suit the weather, 'Limit To Your Love' sailing over the crowd with a powerfully haunting effect, for those in the mood for something a bit more, METZ were there for you. The blistering punk trio tore the Shacklewell Arms tent to shreds. Mud, beer and bodies were thrown around, completely under their wild spell. Only truly pausing to berate a security guard hassling the crowd, this was as riotous and unpredictable a performance as that put on by Mother Nature.

Field Day 2015

Sunday saw the weather brighten a little bit (at least to begin with) but the new swamp Victoria Park had acquired was still on hand to snare punters in its trap. Luckily, a phenomenal set from Empress Of made everything all OK. Playing to a packed out tent, Lorely Rodriguez and her band ensured each and every track landed like a ferocious lightning bolt striking the groove right into the heart of every person there. Energetic, electric and oh so exciting, this was Empress Of at the top of her game; ready to take on the world.

Meanwhile, over on Eat Your Own Ears, Parquet Courts were running a little late. Not that this stopped them from rocketing through an impressive set though, stuffed with fiercely DIY tunes, all dry humour and frantic riffs.

The sun properly peeked its head out, sunglasses optimistically dusted off, just in time for the gloriously vintage cool of Molly Nilsson. As she stood alone on stage, tracks played through the soundsystem, she was effortlessly spellbinding. Even with no live band to add a bit more depth to her sound, it was a wonderful exploration of her truly varied sonic palette and a perfect accompaniment to this burst of sun.

But disappointment was just around the corner, and not just in the form of more rain. Anticipation has been stratospheric for the return of The Avalanches, whose one and only album was released over 15 years ago. Return of the Rural was absolutely packed out to see what these Australian pioneers had in store. Unfortunately, what they did have in store was just a DJ set that mostly fell flat, particularly in the face of what the likes of Daphni, Four Tet and Motor City Drum Ensemble brought to the table over the weekend. Sure it was sample-packed, but it lacked the real magic that Since I Left You had in buckets. Having said this, the sheer joy on display when the remaining crowd that hadn't yet trickled away lost themselves to 'Frontier Psychiatrist' and the recent 'Frankie Sinatra' was a real treat to behold.

Field Day 2015

But, in the end, all that mud, all those ruined trainers, all that disappointment around The Avalanches couldn't do anything to dull just how wonderful Beach House can be. As a glorious sunset lit up the sky, crowds piled right out of the Shacklewell Arms tent to see the duo shrouded in smoke. The mysteriously beautiful voice of Victoria Legrand soared through the tent as they weaved a stunning soundscape with tracks such as the incredible '10 Mile Stereo' and Thank Your Lucky Stars' 'Elegy To The Void'. It was as close to a perfect festival experience as you might expect.

As the festival drew to a close with PJ Harvey, the thunderclouds rolled in, but never has a weather been so apt. As she fired through a trio of Let England Shake's best tracks in a feathered outfit, thunderstruck and it felt like Prospero in complete control of the maelstrom. While it didn't quite live up to the near-perfect performance Beach House put on, it was still an undoubtedly impressive finale to a festival marred by weather and a dash of disappointment.

All that being said, however, but there's still no doubt that Field Day is one of the best UK festivals out there. Diverse in its line-up and so willing to accommodate its audience, even in the darkest (and muddiest) of times, Field Day is still a festival you need to be circling in your calendar every year.


The Field Day Experience

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