BBC Radio 2 Festival In A Day
With news that Lenny Kravitz was included in the line up, this was an event not to be missed!As festival season draws to a close we got ready for one of our last outdoor adventures for 2011. The sunshine looked promising in the Autumn skies as packs of people descended on the leafy greens of Hyde Park for BBC Radio 2’s ‘Festival in a Day’. Not to sure what to expect, I was somewhat unprepared donning my Tesco’s bag armed with a sandwich and umbrella should the heavens of decided to open up. Hotminute’s E and I looked for a vacant spot of grass to perch our backsides looking jealously at the hoards of people who had sensibly prepared for this event! Packed with hampers, portable chairs and Pimms on tap, It was plain to see who was without, lol.
Fans of both Radio 2 and just good grass roots music were in for a treat with an impressive lineup of 13 acts spanning a range of genres to include Soul, Jazz, Folk and Rock. Artists such as Beverley Knight, Caro Emerald, James Blunt and Will Young were expected to grace the stage. With news that Lenny Kravitz was included in the line up, this was an event not to be missed!
We arrived just in time to see Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra open the event as the first act. Jool’s broke up his session to include performances by Sandie Shaw and renowned UK Soul artist Ruby Turner. The show was in full swing with an already merry crowd quickly filling up the front stage area. Hundreds took to standing and dancing while the more chilled out festival-goers popped open bottles of wine from the comfort of their picnic spaces.
...with an impressive lineup of 13 acts spanning a range of genres to include Soul, Jazz, Folk and Rock.
A petite Beverley Knight was dwarfed by the stage although her larger then life vocals brought the soulful vibe to the festival. Performing tracks from her new album ‘UK Soul’. Ms Knight got the crowd moving and performed some of her greatest hits. Leaving out some of the less commercial tracks from her earlier days, which would have made a good listen.
Dutch Jazz Singer Caro Emerald sang an amazing set that included her number one track ‘A Night Like This’ which on the contrary went down a treat in the basking sunlight. Acts of equal merit were Jonathan Jeremiah and Bellowhead, who brought a true folk-festival feel to the outdoor show.
With all of the music and drama throughout the day, it was evident that Mother Nature was singing her own tune. The heavens opened to a rather wet performance by Will Young.
Bless his cotton socks, the artist struggled to maintain his set as a result of a bad cold and took to engaging the audience with banter rather than full performances. The BBC left no expense spared to create a true festival experience having conjured a diverse line up of acts to appeal to their loyal audience. With Lionel Richie billed to bring the event to a close, fans were disappointed to find out that the soul star had to cancel his performance due to ill health. Brought in last minute to save the day was Xfactor’s man of the moment Gary Barlow.
Having lost his locks, Lenny rocked a cool Afro with his signature shades, clearly demonstrating he was in fine form and a sex god nonetheless.
Surprised yet honored by his guest invitation to replace Lionel, Gary did his best not to disappoint the die hard Lionel fans who had paid especially to see the legend in action. Gary’s rendition of ‘Hello’ went down a treat, with the audience taking part as though it was Kumbaya. The rather comforting performance could be heard across West London’s night air.
My favourite performance of the day was by far, Lenny Kravitz, his set truly rocked as he went down memory lane with his earlier material performing ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ and ‘Fly Away’. Lenny’s performance may not have captured the full attention and appreciation from the Radio 2 crowd, but to us rockers it was EPIC! As his first UK performance in nearly 3 years Lenny was joined on stage by his full band. Having lost his locks, Lenny rocked a cool Afro with his signature shades, clearly demonstrating he was in fine form and a sex god nonetheless. His performance added the cool factor to what could be classed as an easy listening music festival and I am sure some of the ladies would agree it was definitely a Hotminute in the park!
For the official BBC pics and goss take a trip to;BBC Radio2 Fest Online
Words: Lesley B
Photography: Ernest Simons