The word ‘community’ seems to be particularly poignant and important to the people of London, especially after the events of the Grenfell Tower fire, so it felt appropriate that the aptly named ‘Community Festival’ graced Finsbury Park last weekend. Community became the latest festival to be held in the park, which already hosts a number of events including the well-known Wireless festival, but Community opts for more rock oriented music with Catfish and the Bottlemen headlining. At first sight it seems to almost be a miniature reversion of the historic Reading and Leeds which may not surprise as it was also organized by Festival Republic.
Just like Reading and Leeds there was an array of tasty food stalls to tuck into ranging from filling cheeseburgers and fries to your traditional ice cream van, if you were feeling nostalgic. However the thing that quickly reminds one that they are not in Reading but indeed London would be the frequent chants of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ that consistently erupted even during the set of The Wombats to the sound of ‘Seven Nation Army’ by the White Stripes; one has Glastonbury to either thank or despise depending on political orientation.
Even without that their set proved tumultuous with the bassist’s guitar giving way causing them to restart their hit ‘Moving to New York’. This however this did not deter the crowd with Matthew Murphy, the front man, reminding them that ‘there are paramedics all around. There is no bone that cannot be fixed’. The crowd certainly took this to heart with plastic beer bottles flying throughout the audience and mosh pits galore especially during Slaves’s set. The duo from Kent ignited more political passion from the crowd as they held a ‘Tories Out’ sign and even brought out Madness’s Suggs to accompany them for one of their songs. Sadly it was not all plain sailing and their frustration was made painfully clear as another technical issue plighted the festival meaning that sound was cut half way through one of their songs. They also stormed off, visibly annoyed at they were unable to finish their final song due to possibly a time constraint.
Luckily no such issues were present during the headerliner’s performance which the crowd reveled in, perhaps too much as a large portion of the crowd collapsed painfully on top of each other during one of the songs proving there is just as much intensity at a day festival as there is on full weekend one. The lead singer Van McCann repeated thanked the crowd whilst also playing fan favourites such as ‘Hourglass’ and ‘Fallout’. It was clear that the headliner’s slot meant a lot to this young Welsh band who have already had so much success despite releasing only two records which the crowd seemed to know every single word of. After their concluding song ‘Tyrant’ the majority of the festival goers marched their way back to Finsbury Park Station retaining that all important sense of community as they continued to spontaneously burst into song.
By Tanya Kovatchka