Words by Tom Evans
Last weekend, Britain’s biggest drum & bass festival showed that, with enough care and expertise, small festivals can truly work. Hospitality in the Park topped off the end of the festival season in style and, with a sellout crowd, almost guaranteed its return, in whatever format, next year.
The festival was easy to find; a stream of glitter showered girls and 90s track jacket clad boys formed a procession that covered the short distance from Finsbury Park underground station to the arena. The site itself was very small but masterfully organised. Eight stages were squeezed into a space where three minutes was the longest walk to anything, but without feeling claustrophobic or half-baked. There was still ample room to sit on the grass, eat away from the bass, and cool down after excessive skanking. In terms of innovative staging, the Medschool stage, with its warehouse façade – complete with scaffolding and London road sign, was head and shoulders above the competition and definitely justified the queue to get in. All the others, despite their proximity, had sizeable and very loud sound systems. Frequently the undoing of small festivals, this was miraculous at an event which, judging by its early finishing time, had strict instructions to be friendly to its neighbours.