Reviewed: Love Saves The Day 2018
Love Saves The Day is a well-rounded UK dance festival with a sprinkle of Bristol magic. Set in Eastville Park, a few miles from Bristol city centre, the 2-day event has become a favourite with Bristolians of all ages. As well as a growing number of grey-eyed Londoners (like me) looking for a more relaxed place than the capital to party.
Saturday leant towards commercial house and popular UK club music. Headliners Fatboy Slim and Bicep brought the big room crowd. The open-air centre stage exploded with teen energy and heavy kickdrums. Keen eyed young twenty-somethings from around the West country poured in to see some of the biggest names in the UK house scene. Detroit Swindle, Jackmaster, and current lo-fi poster boy Mall Grab kept the stage bouncy, energetic and reliably 4 to the floor. It was a well curated stage but a bit too close to other areas and other sounds, so it was hard to really get immersed in a set. A great spot for a dancing walk through, but not much to stick to.
Photo by SHOTAWAY
The main area of the festival was stuffed through the day, but there were several break out zones to more laidback vibes. Along a hidden path beyond the core mass, The Brouhaha stage had a more cruising atmosphere, a synth heavy music policy, and a welcoming rum bar. Man Power, label boss Me Me Me, played a standout set of tasteful electro, house and techno, with a cheeky some cheeky vintage Todd Terje for good measure. If the stomping ever got too much at Brouhaha, there was a selection of group sized lounging beds next to the stage, perfect for post-dance chillouts and wavy cuddle piles.
Sunday at LSTD had a distinctly more Bristol flavour, by which I mean, the crowd was more eclectic, the atmosphere was more laid-back, and the music had a whole lot more sub-woofer. The line-up reflected the breadth and depth of Bristol’s unwavering bass culture, from a history of Jamaican music from The Outlook Orchestra, a weighty slice of dubstep nostalgia from Digital Mystikz, and a taste of new drum ‘n’ bass from Lenzman ft Children of Zeus.
Photo by SHOTAWAY
One area of Love Saves The Day spoke for Bristol’s bass culture more than any other. At one corner of Eastville Park lived the beating heart of Love Saves The Day – the Aba-Shanti Sound System. Playing to a packed audience all day Saturday and Sunday, it was the smallest, but easily the loudest area of the festival. One DJ, one deck, a box of records, and a 7-foot square speaker set-up, this tiny ‘Teachings in Dub’ stage vibrated through the field at full bass volume all weekend, with feel-good Jamaican spirit and Bristol dub style.
But Sunday wasn’t just about bass. London’s busiest DJ and happiest face, Artwork, ran proceedings at the Lost Gardens, along with Axel Boman and Moxie. UK club night Percolate hosted the designated sweat tent for the day, Paradiso, featuring The Black Madonna, Ben UFO, Joy Orbison and, the clear highlight for me, Shanti Celeste. A Bristol local now living in Berlin, her selections were chunky, percussive and hard, with a groove and pace that set her apart from the pack. New music on Bristol’s label Idle Hands and her own Peach Discs imprint, and impeccable technical skills, Shanti showed us exactly why she’s Bristol’s favourite DJ export.
Love Saves The Day has a special atmosphere that could only come from a city so drenched in musical culture. For a large festival in a small city, there was tons of space and plenty of room to relax, and the staff and crew were friendly and relaxed. When it comes to a city day festival, Bristol has the perfect balance between party culture, laid-back feeling and spacious country vibes. A balance that, sadly, so many of London’s cramped, crowded and noise restricted day festivals just can’t match.