With the state of UK festivals becoming more stale than a student flat’s bread bin, Visions in Hackney is looking towards the future, and it’s bright.
Visions is the latest in a series of inner-city festivals, born in 2013 into the newly rejuvenated area of post-Olympics Hackney. Consisting of five venues and three outdoor areas (no you won’t need wellies), Londoners can catch some of the UK’s most alternative musicians in some of East London’s edgiest settings. Young Fathers headline this year at St John at Hackney Church for what is sure to be a breath-taking performance. The Scottish trio, who take to every set as if it were their last chance to spook and invigorate a crowd, are worthy of the top spot and should be headlining a Latitude-sized festival in the coming years.
Before that though, there’s a wealth of other acts who are the cream of UK music’s unsung crop. If one of these doesn’t end up with a top 10 album strengthened through a Radio One promotion campaign or a Brit Awards Critic’s Choice nomination, then feel free to call me out. The most promising female fronted groups around make up a large chunk of the line-up. Pumarosa, Babeheaven and grossly inappropriate Let’s Eat Grandma are sprinkled around Hackney as well as soloists Rosie Lowe and synth-seducer, The Japanese House, who complete the new blend of alternative and electronic music.
Elsewhere, Gengahr will be turning up, in more ways than one if you’re a Pokemon Go fan after going quiet since the turn of the year. Visions could be a chance to get them back into gear again and propel themselves forward, whilst Yak continue to go in the right direction, causing a riot and hanging from ceilings wherever possible.
Grime’s newest son, Elf Kid, is, as may be evident, an adolescent, and thus more suited for the current grime revival than thirty-something chain-dangling Skepta. Elf Kid is the kind of guy who would tell Skepta to “grow up grandad” only to run round the block giggling and then write a song about it. His rip off of Amerie’s ‘1 Thing’ in his track ‘Golden Boy’ is just a glimpse of the childish destruction he possesses.
Visions is a festival for the “I saw them when” group of music egos, and rightly so, as the backdrop of Hackney could uncover many gems. Just whether Visions has predicted the next crop of big festival hard-hitters, we’ll have to find out.
Words by Josh Shreeve