The British weather is nothing if unpredictable. In total contrast to last years rain-fest, Lazy Sunday 2019 took place on one of the hottest days of the year! With the temperature reaching well into the mid-thirties this was the hottest Lazy Sunday to date (including 2017’s scorcher!)
As always, the line-up was strong and included some of the biggest names in the old skool scene including Vibes, Seduction, 2 Bad Mice, Alex P, Uncle Dugs, Cosmo & Dibs, Barrington and Billy “Daniel” Bunter. In addition, on top of all the DJ talent, this year also saw a greater number of live PA’s at the festival including performances from Awesome 3, Baby D, UK Apache and Beat Jugglers.
Early sets from Backlash, Braddaz & Dill, and Gap & Klass covered the musical spectrum, from house to hardcore, through a Void PA system that (aside from a couple of brief cutouts that I believe may have been triggered by the extreme heat) sounded INCREDIBLE. The festival site - a large open area behind the Fox and Duck pub in Stotfold - is a beautiful setting for an event that's unfailingly embraced the PLUR-vibes of the early rave scene.
Lazy Sunday has always been a family affair and this year was no exception. It was a beautiful sight mid-afternoon, with the sun riding high and not a cloud in sight, when Cosmo & Dibs' set ended with a remix of Renegade's "Terrorist" that saw a load of mums and dads running to the stage area with their little ones in tow! It was a tune that transitioned perfectly into Barrington's set of jungle bangers that kept the crowd jumping.
The music at Lazy Sunday has always been spot on - encompassing the best of old skool house, breakbeat and jungle - but this year in particular, with the addition of Vibes and Seduction to the roster, it was especially pleasing to hear more 93/94 hardcore being played out. Despite it being a year since release this was the first time I'd heard Vibes play out tracks from his recent album with Hattrixx. Tunes like "It's About Time" and "Favourite DJ" totally smashed it, bringing the soulful breakbeat vibes to a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Si Colebrooke of 2 Bad Mice played an impressive set that showcased the best of new hardcore breaks alongside some hardcore classics. New tunes from Acen and DJ Jedi went down a storm with an up-for-it crowd that spanned several generations. Despite Lazy Sunday's selling point as an old skool festival, Si's set was a reminder that the hardcore breaks scene is still very much alive and kicking.
In fact, with regards to new music, Lazy Sunday 2019 also delivered on the PA front with Beat Jugglers performing live for the second year running. The five-piece band accompanied by the Dusty Boot Crew dancers tackled the intense heat head-on delivering an energetic performance of all their tunes to date including the crowd-pleasing new single "Better Days". The drum and bass climax of "Better Days" drew a huge reaction from the crowd - without a doubt, Beat Jugglers stand alone as a totally unique band that will hopefully prove to be Lazy Sunday residents.
This year's festival was also blessed with "rave royalty" in the form of Awesome 3 who delivered a blinding performance that not only blew up the dancefloor but also, momentarily, the PA system! One of the hardest working PA's in the scene, Awesome 3 played a set that took in four-to-the-floor stompers and rolling breakbeats. When the anthemic piano of "Don't Go" dropped, hands shot into the air, the crowd voiced their approval and everyone remembered just how much they loved the rave scene. As moments go, this one was pretty priceless. Knowing that these guys have new music on the horizon is a very exciting prospect!
Lazy Sunday has always been a multi-generational festival but one aspect of this years event that was so incredibly pleasing was just how many young people (from teens to twenties) that were totally feeling the old skool vibe. A great number of younger people attended this year and were totally on board with the early house, hardcore and jungle tunes that would have kept their parents and grandparents jumping nearly 30 years ago! The crowd was blessed to have been a real mix of ages. It crossed my mind as to whether or not some of the younger members knew the tunes from their folks or were getting off on the energy of a scene they were just discovering for the first time - either way it was a wonderful sight to see history repeating.
Speaking of which, there was no greater history lesson than UK Apache's performance. At one point, when the 25 year celebration of seminal jungle classic "Original Nuttah" gave way to the jump-up mayhem of DJ Hazard's "Mr Happy" the energy in the crowd reached fever levels! It was a moment in time that couldn't be repeated as it was a combination of the right people, with the right music, at the right time...
As the sun set and darkness fell, Lazy Sunday residents Fat Controller, Billy "Daniel" Bunter and Uncle Dugs did what they do best, delivering tune after tune of old skool classics with the kind of audience engagement they've mastered over the years through their much-loved radio shows. Uncle Dugs' closing set of the festival was particularly stand-out for it's jungle vibes - every year, when darkness falls, it's jungle that the crowd want without fail!
Beautiful weather, the best music mix, wonderful company and a cracking sound system in the middle of a field... To be fair, it could have easily been 30 years ago! See you down the front in 2020...