On the 8th August London’s Underage Festival, designed specifically for 14-18 year olds, returned to Victoria Park for a bigger and better sequel, bringing a huge line-up with it. With more space and more stages, it easily matched the success of last year.
Pull In Emergency, a team of underage musicians who are becoming more popular by the day, rocked a full tent with their cool, poppy sound and friendly stage presence. Meanwhile, Poppy & The Jezebels, a foursome of beautiful girls clad in sequins, showed off their all-female harmonies, cleverly teamed with harsh lyrics. Despite having no bass player, their repetitive drumbeats had the crowd dancing.
Later on, Polly Scattergood wowed a small crowd at the Red Bull Stage with her delightfully Bjork-like sound and thought-provoking lyrics whilst frYars, a.k.a. 19 year-old Ben Garrett who is speeding up the musical ladder, played his confusing yet truthful lyrics and grinding, bass-filled electronic beats with hints of innocent piano melodies to an interested crowd. He was a born natural onstage, making jokes and telling tales of backstage to wide-eyed fans.
At the Converse Stage, Bombay Bicycle Club, a four-piece of mischievous boys, earned themselves a large crowd who repeatedly cheered and sang along. Just a year after forming, this band has made an impression on the underage crowd with their catchy choruses and songs about growing up. Underage Festival wouldn’t have been the same without them.
Drawing near 6 o’clock, Dizzee Rascal deservedly received the biggest turnout of the day. This chart-topping master of hip-hop kept the crowd working constantly by shouting, "Underage Festival!" in-between verses and frequently blanking out the music to hear the wild crowd chant his words back.
Fun-loving, all-dancing Brazilians Bonde Do Role, and recently popular Foals, both managed to tear up their individual stages. Foals caused rebellious teenagers to climb the tent rigging and both bands pumped out electronic beats and addictive dancing tunes until everybody was covered in sweat and ecstatic faces.
The Myspace Bus also returned this year to invite kids to play X-Box or hear exclusive acoustic sets from bands playing the festival. They could also visit the Habbo Hotel DJ Tent to compete in dance-offs, or just chill on the grass in the mostly good weather. With the only bar in sight empty all day, you could tell their only purpose here was to party innocently and hear good music.
Words by Naomi Kuyck-Cohen.
Photos by Naomi Kuyck-Cohen and Cian Oba-Smith.