Successfully running in its 6th year the one-day festival opened its many doors again on Saturday 18th June in West London’s Shepherds Bush.
Bushstock festival’s impressive line-up has been carefully handpicked by the new music ambassadors over at Communion Music who are known for their impeccable taste.
The day started with an intimate set from duo Meadowlark on the TOMs UK ‘Secret Garden Stage’. Performing their delicate enchanting tunes in front of only a handful of people put the saying ‘intimate performance’ in perspective. Kate and Daniel opened their set with the beautiful single ‘Eyes Wide’ followed by ‘Fire’ and ‘Satellite’. The atmosphere on the TOMs UK ‘Secret Garden Stage’ was magical. ‘Meadowlark’s’ tunes are so quiet and peaceful that everyone was just watching in awe.
You could have heard the metaphorical needle drop if the secret gig wouldn’t have been in a quaint garden. ‘Meadowlark’s’ new single ‘Quick Sand’ was delivered in such perfection sending chills down spines as Kate McGill’s crystal clear vocals lead the audience through the song. The whole set was so peaceful and calming that everyone was afraid to accidentally break the spell by making any noise.
‘Meadowlark’s’ secret gig finished with ‘Postcards’ and their recent single ‘Paraffin’ hugging the audience one last time in the warm soft spell of their unique dreamy sound.
Light as a feather and with a bounce in my step I made my may down to ‘The Courtyard’ stage to see the all-female quartet ‘The Big Moon’ strum their guitars and throw some proper rock bangers in the audience faces. Performing open air on the ‘The Courtyard’ stage turned up the pure and carefree festival feeling. Throwing their recent single ‘Cupid’ towards the crowd put everyone into a good mood and the small loyal fan base at the front really went for it and danced to the rock sounds like no one was watching.
Fern, Juliette, Celia and Soph treated the festival goers to an outstanding live performance of Madonna’s’ Beautiful Stranger’, once more proving that you should never underestimate the power of an all-female group that can rock!
‘The Big Moon’ continued their unapologetic and energetic live set with ‘The Run’, plateauing in a grand finale with the well-known ‘Sucker’, very much to the liking of the big crowd in front of the stage.
After a quick catch up and some ice cold beers it was time for the next act to hit ‘The Courtyard’ stage. Ahead of the release of her debut album ‘Nothing’s Real’ in July , ‘Shura’ grazed the Bushstock crowd with an incredible performance. Letting her synth-pop tunes drip onto the large crowd ‘Shura’ had the revellers in the palm of her hand right from the start. The infectious electronic sounds of ‘Touch’ and ‘2Shy’ had the crowd dancing and singing along painting smiles on everyone’s faces.
Being a Shepherds Bush local, the Bushstock festival appearance was a hometown concert for ‘Shura’, she was stoked about the opportunity to play ‘Literally five minutes from where I live!’ and said ‘ This is as good as it gets!’. It was obvious that she put a lot of effort into getting this one right and ‘Shura’ absolutely nailed it as she gave the fans a taste of what to expect from her debut album.
As Bushstock festival was completely sold out it was advised to get down to the different venues early to beat the long queues and most importantly not to miss one of your favourite acts.
I learned that lesson the hard way later that night as I sadly missed the probably incredible set of Bear’s Den due to the venue being at full capacity.
However there was no time to make sad faces as ‘VANT’ were about to take the roof off the ‘Defectors Weld’. Getting down there early proofed quite clever as the pub started to fill with festival goers all eager to go crazy and rock out with the four-piece from planet earth.
‘VANT’ kicked of their 45 minutes high energy set with the banger ‘ The Answer’ and right from the start band and crowd were on the same page. Head banging jumping and general mayhem ensued.
Songs like ‘Parasite’ and ‘Time+Money’ went down an absolute storm as Mattie, Henry, David and Billy gave their all on the small stage at Bushstock festival. At some point lead singer Mattie couldn’t stop himself and jumped into the crowd, running halfway through the pub still hitting the riffs hard. The crowd went absolutely nuts after that performance.
‘VANT’s’ new single ‘Karma Seeker’ had the revellers on edge and judging by the pleased faces of the band they were quite happy with the response from the fans.
As the set drew to an end, Mattie urged the crowd to completely lose themselves in the moment for the last few songs, to not think about anything and just to go for it. Needless to say the fans obeyed, needing very little convincing.
‘Fly By Alien’ and the last song ‘Do You Know Me?’ had the venue in pieces as the fans went completely wild, moshing and head banging along to the hard rock sound of ‘VANT’. Beer was spilling, ribs got hit by random elbows but there couldn’t have been a better end to the festival than losing it to the anthems of the future of a band that has so much potential and will probably only hit the big stages next year.
Bushstock festival was a wild ride through various musical genres that I really enjoyed. Here is to the hopeful thinking that my urge for great new music will never die!