Inaugural London event impresses...

We’ll start by saying what we would normally close with: as the latest in a far too long line of London festivals, Sunfall had a bit of a job on its hands in creating something worth going to. That being said, we think we speak on behalf of most of the attendees when we say we’ll be back next year.

Our ‘here and now’ attitude has in recent years permeated the festival market: if you’re so inclined you could hit up a festival almost every weekend. So it takes either balls of steel or a bottomless pit of corporate cash to try and carve out a new space in the saturated festival market. The guys behind Dimensions and Outlook are obviously seasoned pros at putting on a good festival, while the people from The Columbo Group (the owners of Phonox, The Nest, XOYO etc.) are experts in London’s nightlife scene. It’s clear that all of their know-how and experience came to the fore on Saturday, successfully forming the festival holy trinity: quality sound, a banging line up, and a top crowd.

Dutch wizard Fatima Yamaha played in the early afternoon and it was the first set to bring in a heaving, sweaty crowd into the cavernous North tent. By the time we left with the sound of ‘What’s a Girl to Do’ ringing in our ears (and everybody else’s), the party was in full swing, even at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Over on a sun-soaked main stage, sax hero Kamasi Washington played to a crowd lying on the grass, leaving their hedonistic selves behind, if only for an hour or so. After Kamasi, a bigger crowd gathered for Moodymann, where the Detroit producer had a minor run-in with security over wanting to give the crowd some shots. After a mini sulk he carried on, offering up some perfect early evening disco.

We all hate the way London festivals finish early and Sunfall was no different. In fact, it finished at 9.30, which has to be a record of some sort. Most people would agree that Ben Klock should be playing at 4am rather than 4pm, but that’s London licensing laws for you. Either way, roaming around a park in the dark looking for lost mates, Ubers and after-parties is something we’re all used to after a festival and a proper vibe killer. Moreover it’s a lesson we never learn. So Sunfall decided to take things into their own hands and put on eight after-parties across south London’s biggest and best-known nightspots. We headed to the Bussey Building for the Dimensions party, where London’s very own Joy Orbison topped a mega line up including Henry Wu, Ryan Elliot and Jeremy Underground.

Sunfall takes itself seriously as a festival. A lot of festivals batter you senseless until you stumble out of the gates with tinnitus. Some might give away free earphones for the more discerning partygoer. However Sunfall goes a step further; informing and educating. Outside each tent there were information posters detailing what sort of sound system was being used, the height at which the rig was set and the importance of having walls inside a tent (who knew?!) They say they hired some of the best acoustic consultants in the industry to guide them. Sound a bit much? On paper, maybe, but we can assure you it was worth it. We already said it, but we’ll say it again — well played Sunfall, we’ll see you next year.

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Words: Milo Wasserman

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