Massive hats-off to the team and founders behind We Are FSTVL. Now in its fifth year, organisers have managed to secure something which, alongside SW4, bookends the entire summer festival season with a roster that could please anyone with even the slightest of interest in house music.

Returning to its huge site at Upminster’s Damyns Hall, We Are FSTVL 2017 was bigger than previous years – a VIP Village could be found nestled away in its own secluded area in the southern corner, with the now-renamed Terminal 1 (aka FSTVL’s main stage) repositioned as an open aircraft hanger versus the larger spaces of previous years.

Some of the set times may have raised the odd eyebrow, mind – Basement Jaxx, usually headliners on a festival bill, were placed mid-afternoon on the Sunday, with Duke Dumont not long after. Whilst the same theme continued on the previous day with Armand Van Helden subbing Craig David’s TS5 into the early-evening.

Still though, the aforementioned all smashed it – MK lit up Terminal 1 as Saturday’s headliner, with Dizzee Rascal running through his solid discography (both old and new) to close out as Sunday’s main charge at Terminal 2 (an arena which also played host to Chris Lorenzo, Mistajam, Kideko and Giggs). Then heading into the ‘smaller stages’ (still mammoth by comparison) – Hospitality and UKF both had stellar guestlists with the likes of David Rodigan, Wilkinson and Preditah et al, whilst the Glitterbox tent (Saturday) saw legends Joey Negro, Roger Sanchez and Todd Terry remind us of the golden era of the soulful house scene.

We Are’s 2017 appearance also saw the introduction of weekend camping facilities for the first time, complete with private DJ sets into the early-hours. “I’ve been keen to play We Are FSTVL since its inception a few years back, and it was great to finally get to play this year particularly to this crowd who I know follow a lot of my music” Shift K3Y tells us, adding “they’ve pretty much nailed what I expect from a festival – the crowd were super responsive both to the current tunes and a few new things I played and even after a long day of partying, they were still completely on-point at 2am – all rounded off by the fact it was actually my birthday when I played!!”

Maya Jane Coles’ set was equally as dreamy as you’d expect from her exemplary work over the years, with David Morales, Brandon Block and Seb Fontaine (alongside Jazzy M) also among some of the best of the best up there.

You’d be hard-pressed to find anything that’s going to throw you into the festival season as much as this soiree. A return for 2018? You bet – tickets for next year’s jam go onsale this coming Wednesday 31st May over on We Are FSTVL’s official website.

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