With the sun finally making an appearance after months of thick cloud and unrelenting rain, we can almost smell the scent of sunshine, beer and muggy evenings in the air… This can only mean one thing for us in the UK: Festival season is well on its way.
Kicking off the season in style with a bank holiday bonanza is Common People Festival, a two- day urban escapade held on both Southampton Common, and South Park in Oxford. Brought to us by the experienced curators of Bestival and Camp Bestival, Rob and Josie da Bank (Robert and Josie Gorham), Common People 2017 will once again showcase an intimate affair of music and art as well as providing you with a heart-warming, cherishing experience. If you want to kick off festival season with a metropolitan fiesta this May bank holiday, head to Common People and let that festival feeling begin!
Let Backstage Tales Editors, Millie and Becky guide you through what to expect at Common People 2017:
Having been to Southampton Common People for the past two years, I was struck by an all-encompassing awe at having discovered this hidden gem, buried at the heart of my local concrete jungle. Last year, I was fortunate enough to see three of my all-time favourite artists at Common People, and this year, the line-up certainly does not disappoint.
Pete Tong presents Ibiza Classics performed by The Heritage Orchestra, conducted by Jules Buckley. This is the amalgamation of dance and classical music, an unlikely romance between an antithesis of genres. Bringing gravitas to a plethora of arm-swaying, head-banging Ibiza anthems.
Hits such as Fatboy Slim’s ‘Right Here Right Now’ and Daft Punk’s ‘One More Time’, are likely to feature in all their original string and rock dynamic glory. Modern hits from Rudimental and John Newman (‘Feel The Love’) have already been granted Ibiza classic status, although Candi Staton’s notorious 30-year-old classic, ‘You Got the Love’ may also be likely to make an appearance.
A mixture of the current dance scene’s house vibes with a multitude of string instruments and impressive drum beats, will grace your ears and take you late into the evening with a feeling of heady nostalgia.
Check out Pete Tong’s Ibiza Classics with The Heritage Orchestra here:
The king of the dancehall himself will be headlining the Common Stage at both Southampton and Oxford. For me, Sean Paul is best known for featuring in Sia’s number one hit, ‘Cheap Thrills’ and Clean Bandit’s latest chart topper, ‘Rockabye’. However, for those of you who perhaps feel, like me, a little unsure of what to expect from the international dancehall superstar’s set, we’re here to uncover the mystery.
Melancholy minor chords in his biggest tracks, ‘Get Busy’ and ‘Temperature’ will provide a welcome excuse to gyrate wildly and sing shamelessly along to Paul’s fast-paced words, transporting us to a hot, exotic destination. As well as a nod to the reggae of his youth, there is a sexual edge clinging to each rhythm and melody line. With lyrics such as ‘Oh lord, gal I got the right tactics to turn you on’ sprinkled alluringly throughout his songs, it won’t come as any surprise that this set could leave us in a tad flustered…
Over the years, his dancehall anthems haven’t aged but have become increasingly popular due to the genre’s recent revival. With Pete Tong’s Ibiza Classics and Sean Paul’s dancehall anthems, we could be in for a nostalgic journey to the 90s and back.
Check out ‘Temperature’ by Sean Paul here:
Both artists will be headlining The Common Stage at each show.
The Common Stage will also see performances from Groove Armada, Wild Beasts, Foals (DJ set), The Selecter + The Beat, Saint Etienne, Amy MacDonald, House Gospel Choir and Lucy Leave on Saturday in Oxford. While on Sunday we can expect to see Rag’n’Bone Man, Becky Hill, The Cuban Brothers, Elvana: Elvis Fronted Nirvana and Coldredlight.
Southampton’s Common Stage will see Tom Odell, Faithless, Loyle Carner, Becky Hill, Stefflon Don, Seán McGowan, Kassassin Street, Elvana: Elvis Fronted Nirvana and Black Kat Boppers on Saturday. With Groove Armada, Wild Beasts, British Sea Power, Amy MacDonald, Nadia Rose, Novelist, House Gospel Choir, Signals and The Novatones on Sunday.
The Dance Destination: Uncontained Stage
For me, this is where Common People never fails to impress. My Nu Leng & M8s are set to impress with very special guests, Goldie and Redlight, Fatman Scoop and Novelist in this year’s line-up, making the set better than ever.
My Nu Leng & M8s:
Bristol duo, Tommy and Jammo, aka My Nu Leng are taking control of the Uncontained stage, managing to bring an assortment of genres to this set, including UK bass, trap, grime, garage, techno and house. If you’re looking for drops splattered with dubstep, fat build-ups and massive floor-shakers, then look no further.
My Nu Leng are lucky enough to have special guest, Goldie, featuring in their set among many others. With a career spanning over twenty years, Goldie is regarded a legend. Having earned an OBE, he has inspired artists and industry professionals alike.
We’re likely to be treated to an ear-splitting set from this electronic ensemble of artists. With the newcomers taking on the work of a legend, we are likely to witness unparalleled sound and some impressive production skills.
Check out ‘Set It’ by My Nu Leng & FineArt here:
On Loop Hosted By Moxie:
Moxie invites her nomadic electronic record label to the Uncontained Stage with appearances from Midland, Or:la, Felix Dickinson, Kornél Kovács, Joy Orbison and Moxie herself.
Harry Agius, aka Midland is an artist you won’t want to miss. Dabbling in modern pop, house, techno and disco, he is known as a producer of trancelike club cuts and as a slightly obscure house DJ. What you’re likely to hear is a subtle, polished yet unruly cacophony of sounds that will not only surprise you, but leave you craving more.
Check out ‘Final Credits’ by Midland here:
The Uncontained Stage will have My Nu Leng & M8s with very special guest Goldie, Novelist, Redlight, GotSome and Klose One, on Saturday in Oxford and Sunday in Southampton. Moxie presents On Loop will feature sets from Joy Orbison, Midland, Kornél Kovács, Felix Dickinson and Or:la on Saturday in Southampton and Sunday in Oxford.
The Place to Find New Music: Uncommon Stage
As well as Common People’s stellar line up of dance and mainstream acts, the two-day urban escape from the brains behind Bestival provides attendees in both Oxford and Southampton with the most exciting up and coming local, and national acts.
From punk to indie, the Uncommon Stage this year is dedicated to bringing us the best in new music, and the biggest stage headliners to date.
2017, for Southampton, sees indie rockers, Black Honey, as the Saturday headline act, with Brighton boys, The Magic Gang headlining on the Sunday.
One of the acts I am most looking forward to seeing, and who have been confirmed for the Uncommon Stage hosted by local venue, The Joiners, are Blaenavon.
With possibly the most exciting debut album released since Catfish and the Bottlemen’s The Balcony in 2014, That’s Your Lot, was given 5 stars from DIY magazine and is filled with 12 pristine and unrivalled sounds.
Finishing their UK tour with an extraordinary occasion at London’s iconic venue, HEAVEN, this three-piece have accomplished what few other young alternative musicians have. With their unique essence, witty personalities and a high level of fan interaction, frontman Ben Gregory, and bassist, Frank Wright are sure to involve the crowd closely during their time on stage.
The set will include the likes of singles, ‘Orthodox Man’, ‘My Bark Is Your Bite’ and ‘Alice Come Home’, with 7 minute epic ‘Swans’ hopefully making the list.
Listen to brand new single ‘Lonely Side’ here:
Backstage Tales featured band, The Manatees, also join the bill this year. Expected to invite us on their indie pop journey through debut EP ‘Avoiding Glances’, the boys are also due to share fresh tracks from their upcoming second EP.
Local familiar faces Scarecrow Boat, Submariner and Nakamarra, are also expected to draw the crowds in Southampton.
The Uncommon Stage at Oxford is presented by Nightshift and also features some of the best on the alternative and up and coming scene. Check out their website for more details here.
At any festival, the space and time to relax and try something new is essential. Common People in particular provides this, making it a great first festival experience that’s ideal for families. With Southampton’s experience boasting The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle, and Oxford showcasing the Disco Shed, Common People brings a piece of Bestival to both locations. There is also the opportunity to try your hand at crafts, visit the vintage fairground and taste street food whilst watching pop up performances.
We’ll See You There…
Text: Becky Warrington and Millie Bull
Images: Common People