It’s said that the West Country is a magical place. Home to stories of Arthurian legend, Stonehenge, and the world’s most famous festival in Glastonbury, from fashion to folklore it’s a part of the world that very much does things it’s own way. Thus it should come as little surprise that much celebrated Bristol gathering Love Saves The Day is an event that refuses to stick to the script in what you could normally expect from a non-camping, city-fest.
Outside of the bright lights of London, the UK’s many city festivals can almost feel like community-building exercises, and with Love Saves The Day showcasing an abundance of local acts alongside its big hitters, this feeling of kinship only grows. As we arrive on a sunny Saturday afternoon, we find half the population of Bristol has had the same idea, with the festival site feeling packed as we navigate our way through thousands of attendees, attempting to gain our bearings whilst not stepping on any pots of glitter, picnic mats, or inflatables along the way.
Over at the Arcadia ‘afterburner’ stage—a 360° degree, fully-rigged stage built from recycled scrap materials previously used by the Military and Air Force—we make the first of a number of difficult decisions over the course of the weekend, opting to see influential local figure Peverelist over De School resident Job Jobse, who was treating revelers to his selections over at the Just Jack-programmed Paradiso. A key figure in Bristol’s bass fuelled underground, he doesn’t disappoint, delivering an exiguous set that managed to continually keep us guessing with its blend of skeletal melodies and bass driven beats. It’s a memorable performance from the Livity Sound boss and on this evidence, easy to see why he’s seen as such a lynchpin locally.
Making the short walk over to Paradiso, we’re greeted by the eclectic sounds of the impossible to pigeonhole Andrew Weatherall, who effortlessly maintains a sense of groove, moving soles with his unique take on all things electronic. Closing the opening day with a jaunt to the Brouhaha (Futureboogie) stage for two hours of Hunch founder Hunee, his disco straddling set prepares us perfectly for the smaller hours with the wide smiling DJ seemingly enjoying his time in the both as much as we were on the dancefloor.
As with the previous afternoon, we begin Sunday with a bang, this time throwing ourselves into the action over at Cloud9 as Bristolian duo My Nu Leng deliver a trademark blend of 4/4 rhythms and grimy basslines within a garage framework. Seamlessly skipping through bangers, the pairing ignore the overcast sky to get the party started with their high octane stylings enough to revitalize even the weariest of festival goers.
Having taken some time out to catch our breath, we then continue our locally-themed schedule selection with a return to Brouhaha for Sherwood and Pinch, who with their collaborative 2015 album, Late Night Endless, turned in one of—in this writer’s opinion, at least—the most underrated long players of the last few years. Unfortunately, their set takes too long to get going, the initially strong crowd slowly dispersing throughout the opening half an hour as their performance fails to catch fire in the way we’d hoped with lazy low-slung techno not being the order of the day.
Looking to top up our energy levels, we foray back over to the mainstage for the heavily-hyped arrival of seven-piece live band Fat Freddy’s Drop. Being largely out-of-the-loop with such things, we were blown away by the band's rough 'n' tumble take on dub and jazz, quickly losing ourselves in their intense improvisations. We then close the festival with Toronto funsters Badbadnotgood, losing ourselves in a funk-laden set in which the group disregard much of the pomp associated with funk, contemporary jazz, and hip-hop in favor of illustrating their impressive musicianship.
A fitting end to an excellent weekend, we can see a bright future ahead for Love Saves The Day as the festival continues to expand upon its ambitions and offer an alternative to the hollow facades so often foisted upon the public by a bloated festival market. Here’s to next year!
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