When Disclosure and Rudimental kicked off their inaugural Wild Life Festival last year, they would have been forgiven if the odd technical hitch befell upon them – however fortunately, there seemed a complete lack-of of anything worrying, no-doubt giving both acts, plus their agents, a strong confidence to earmark the weekend as an annual event.
And now here we are in 2016, with Brighton City Airport locking their bunkers for Wild Life’s sequel, and whilst one could hardly say the action-packed weekend was marred in problems (it wasn’t), the odd ‘issue’ did blight some performances, though minimal enough that probably your ‘average festival goer’ wouldn’t have even noticed. From the odd ‘pop’ in acoustics during Flume’s [albeit brilliant] set, to technical fails causing delays in Snakehips’ show, the rest of the weekend went, well, swimmingly.
Both Disclosure and Rudimental have previously been vocal regarding their booking selection for Wild Life. Essentially stripping back the guestlist to artists both camps think are ‘just great’, this year’s event certainly proved why they’re such solid tastemakers. From close pals (Jamie Woon, Anne-Marie, Jorja Smith, Annie Mac) to the bigger US exports (Kaytranada, De La Soul, Ice Cube) to a more-than-significant nod to the importance of UK grime (Stormzy, Skepta), Wild Life 2016 had everything a modern-day Spotify-reliant crowd could want. A slight ‘disconnect’ between Busta Rhymes and the Main Stage audience did cause some confusion late on Saturday, however it’s clear, both by the reception and the buzz online, that the weekend was fully owned by Kano – an energetic set, upped to ‘100’ even prior to Giggs’ special appearance.
We’d assume [nay, hope], that Wild Life returns for 2017, however we can’t sweep past the more logistical issues that were grumbled and griped to us in the late hours. As still a relative newcomer in the festival circuit, there’s some way to go to ensure transport ‘issues’ are kept at a minimum. A note to the organisers – tie up with more local taxi firms, and offer shuttle buses direct to Brighton Station, and 2017 could just end up eclipsing the past two years. (Oh, and maybe get a phone network to ‘pop up a mask’ so we can get some serious Periscope action going on too!).