Citadel Festival Reigns Supreme In London's Victoria Park
Citadel Festival opened its arms to the heart of East London in Victoria Park and what big welcoming arms it had. Created by Wilderness Festival and Superfly- co-creators of Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, Citadel is a new one day event celebrating the joys of summer. Citadel meaning fortress and being created by Wilderness Festival, it had an essence of peace and tranquility; the calm after the storm that was Lovebox that occurred the day before in Victoria Park.
Walking into Victoria Park the crowd is very family friendly with babies and young children and older adults, initially you think of a festival and want to “get on it” but seeing all ages and the smiles of everyone having fun together it’s heart-warming to see a collective of people in a positive environment. Immediately, what grabs my attention is the scatter of activities: Volleyball, Croquet and Bowls, gatherings of people asking “what makes you happy?” And folk dance workshops. This festival just oozes happiness and it’s hard not to be drawn in when the sun is shining, bars at every angle and stages at every corner.
Stages curated by Communion and Soundcrash, the line-up for this festival conveyed serenity and feel good performances, Honeyblood are a favourite of mine and we were eager to catch them again, especially in an environment like this. The Glasgow duo performed effortlessly and the girls definitely got a good crowd going, the slightly heavier songs such as “Killer Bangs” and “All Dragged up” gave the crowd energy for the long day. Dan Croll was another favourite of the day giving an awesome performance to get you set for the evening ahead. Despite the band having not played for a while they performed excellently, with tracks such as “From Nowhere” and “Home” they were obviously crowd pleasers and maintained the peaceful happiness that flooded the festival.
Looking at my watch its 6pm, the day has gone by so quickly because at every inch there is something going on, if it’s not the huge half pipe full of skaters, a circulating mirror of girls taking selfies and the spinning swings. It’s the adults being spoilt for choice with a rum tent, cocktail tent and the multiple bars providing the summer favourite Rekorderlig.
As one end of the park slowly starts to fill up, you find yourself in a current of people edging towards the main stage. It’s time for Bombay Bicycle Club, there’s nothing really different to say about Bombay as they always have and always will perform spectacularly, providing songs from old and new albums they are a festival favourite as every song is upbeat and a crowd pleaser. It’s also very hard to not smile with Jack Steadman as the band are just so heart-warming.
With confetti, string and glitter bursting from the stages on different songs it colours the blue sky overlooking this fantastic day. Closing the festival is Ben Howard, who doesn’t love Ben Howard? His songs are so moving and encapsulating, the crowd just watch and smile. With darkness now filling the park, the main stage illuminates East London and Ben’s voice echoes amongst us. You’d think the perfect end to a perfect day but when Ben Howard comes back on stage after the crowd starts singing the famous “ooh” of the introduction to “The Wolves”, he teases us with an almost sing off and his immense vocals leave us satisfied.
This one day event leaves everyone smiling and it’s only the lights from the merry-go-round left in the park, with the huge success of Citadel even being in its first year, proves that music and summer- even in a park in London go hand in hand. The demand for Citadel next year will be hard to beat after the supply given so early on but we are very much looking forward to it. Until then thanks Citadel and see you again.
To find out more about Citadel festival click here.
Words by Hannah West
Video by Ashton Milton