Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend descended upon Hackney Marshes in east London for a special 2 day festival celebrating London 2012. 100,000 people attended the event which saw over 100 UK and International artists perform. Headliners included Jay Z and Rihanna with special guests including Kanye West, M.I.A & Dizzee Rascal.
Saturday 23rd June (Day 1)
The Main stage kicked off with Leona Lewis, an ambassador for the Hackney Weekend. With songs such as ‘Bleeding Love’, ‘Collide’, ‘Coming Home’ and ‘Run’, she opened up the Hackney weekend in style. Loveable duo ‘Rizzle Kicks’ were up next with their upbeat hits including ‘When I was a Youngster’, ‘Mama do the Hump’ and the song that kick-started their career on Radio1, ‘Down with the Trumpets’. Festival favourite Example owned the Main stage with his energetic set list banging out tune after tune such as ‘Midnight Run’, ’Natural Disaster’, and his new single with Calvin Harris ‘We’ll be coming Back’. He could only end on one tune, and that had to be his massive finale ‘Changed the way you kissed me’,which had the whole crowd chanting back the lyrics and having a full on rave!
21 year old Ed Sheeran graced the Main stage with his guitars ‘Cyril and Nigel’. For one person to stand in the middle of a massive stage with just his guitar and loop pedal, and to have the whole crowd pretty much in the palm of his hand, was absolutely incredible to watch. The crowd knew every word, and joined in on hits including ‘Drunk’, ‘A Team’, and ‘You need me, I don’t need you’. Queen of Hip-Hop, Nicki Minaj opened her set in dramatic style. The hype over her debut UK festival performance had the crowds buzzing. The ‘Super Bass’ rapper was supported in force by her dedicated fans ‘Barbs’. Minaj performed chart topping hits including ‘Beez in the Trap’ , ‘Starships’, her new single ‘Pound the Alarm’ and finishing on a high with ‘Super Bass’. Despite some of the backing vocals being tracked, Nicki put on quite a show for Hackney and also left little to the imagination with her outfit.
UK rock band ‘Kasabian’ may be headlining ‘Reading and Leeds’ festival in August, but took to the Main stage as the penultimate act for Hackney. Opening the show with the distinctive sounds of ‘Switchblade Smiles’ the crowd instantly knew this was going to be one hell of a set. Kasabian are known for their live performances and they certainly didn’t disappoint. With a set full of a well know songs, Kasabian entertained the crowds with ‘Day’s are forgotten, ‘Velociraptor’, ‘L.S.F’ and ‘Fire’ to close the set.
Rap Royalty Jay-Z took to the stage (an hour late) as the Main Headliner act. Jay-Z was too enthralled by Jack Whites performance on the ‘In New Music We Trust’ stage, but the crowd waited patiently for the King of Hip Hop. Jay-Z opened the show with a bang with his first special guest … the one and only ‘Rihanna’ who performed ‘Run this Town’, much to the delight of the crowds. Little did they know, there were a few more cameos in store. Jay-Z performed an array of songs from his impressive collection, including ‘Jigga What, Jigga Who’, 99 Problems, ‘Girls, Girls Girls’ and ‘Izzo (H.O.V.A.)’. The second cameo of the night was from M.I.A, who took to the stage (despite technical difficulties) for ‘Paper Planes/Bad Girls’. Jay-Z closed the first part of his set with the iconic ‘Empire state of mind’. No Alicia Keys for this one, but the crowd were more than happy to sing the famous refrain.
Wil Jay-Z left the stage for a brief moment, the crowd speculated what could possibly be next. An American flag appeared on the screen followed by the intro for Otis, which only meant one thing to the ecstatic crowd … ‘Watch the Throne’ time! The deafening cheers from the crowd were all that could be heard as Kanye West took to the stage as the final special guest. The duo, who have just completed their successful ‘Watch the Throne’ tour, played a condensed version of their set with 6 classics. ‘Otis’, ‘Gotta Have it’, ‘Who gon stop me’, ‘No Church in the Wild’ , ‘Lift Off’ and the spectacular ‘N**** in Paris’ which they played twice. While the American rap duo were touring in Paris recently, they performed the iconic song an astounding 11 times, which took 53 minutes alone! However Hackney were just happy to have them in their presence and to hear Jay-Z shout… AGAIN for yet another encore!
The ‘In New Music We Trust’ stage saw former ‘White Stripes’ front-man, Jack White headlining. With a set-list including ‘Black Math’, ‘Freedom at 21’ and ‘Seven Nation Army’, he kept the crowds thoroughly entertained, especially a certain Mr Jay-Z, who delayed his headlining act to watch the whole show! Lost Propehts, The Vaccines, The Maccabees, Rudimental, Delilah, Rita Ora, Jessie Ware, and Michael Kiwanuka completed the very impressive lineup. Special mention to promising newcomer Jessie Ware who kicked off proceedings on the Saturday. Her set included ‘110%’, the new single ‘Wildest Moments’ and closed with ‘Running’, in which she invited brother duo Disclosure to the stage for their remix. Keep an eye out for Jessie Ware’s debut album ‘Devotion’ in the next 2 months!
The ‘1Xtra’ stage saw Sean Paul Headlining. Again, another impressive lineup including Flo Rida, will.i.am (where ‘The Voice’ finalist Tyler Hilton joined him on stage for special performance), D’banj, Trey Songz, Tinchy Stryder, Chip, Boy Better Know ft Skepta &, JME, DJ Fresh, Dappy and Emeli Sande
The Dance Arena had an incredibly strong lineup with Swedish House Mafia taking centre stage. With massive dance tracks including ‘Greyhound’, ‘Antidote’, ‘Save the World’ and ‘One’, they ensured everyone was raving all night long. This was a special moment for the Swedish dance trio, as they’ve just recently announced their split with their final UK performance taking place in ‘Milton Keynes Bowl’ in July. The remaining Dance Arena artists, all equally deserving of headlining spots included, Calvin Harris, Eric Prydz, Nero, deadmau5 and Radio 1’s very own Annie Mac.
The BBC Introducing Stage is a very important stage in any of Radio 1’s Big Weekends. It supports unsigned, undiscovered artists and gives them the opportunity to showcase their talents. Previous BBC Introducing Artists include: Bombay Bicycle Club, Ed Sheerann and Florence + the Machine, who have all gone on to headline many festivals. So keep an eye out for these acts in the future. ‘Random Impulse’, ‘Lil Simz’, ‘The Skints’, ‘In Search Of’, ‘Paigey Cakey’, ‘My Panda Shall Fly, ‘Isaac Danquah’, ‘Xploder’, ‘Cheekie Bugga’ and ‘UD Vocal Collective’
The Outdoor DJ Stage showcased the best of Radio 1’s Dj’s. Gathering just as impressive a crowd as any of the other stages, Nihal headlined with his Asian and desi beats. Other Radio 1 DJ’s that completed the lineup were Robbo Ranx, Semtex, Benji B, Mosca, Rob da Bank, DJ Target, DJ Cameo andTim Westwood. A Radio 1 Big Weekend wouldn’t be the same without the ever popular ‘Sound Clash’. Moyles vs Westwood battled it out, round after round, getting the crowds warmed up for the day ahead.
Check out my highlight from Saturday:
Sunday 24th – Day 2 … coming shortly
(Images from www.bbc.co.uk/radio1)