Festival Review: Bushstock 2016

BUSHSTOCK wide edit DANIEL ALEXANDER HARRIS high res_DAH3504

Set up by the brains behind Communion music, Bushstock is an annual one day event, showcasing the best emerging musical talent around. In recent years, the festival has provided a platform for artists such as Michael Kiwanuka, Hozier and George Ezra. Now in its sixth year, Bushstock put on a total of 40 artists across 7 stages, including headlines from Bears Den, Dan Croll and four unannounced secret sets.

Bushstock has developed a rather straightforward tradition of an exchange between music lovers and artists, delving in to a music-filled Saturday at Shepherd’s Bush. Arriving at the festival, St Stephen’s Church is likely to be your first port of call. As one of the largest venues on the programme, St Stephen’s is no stranger to hosting acts with gigs running at the church across the year. Throughout the day, it remains filled to its capacity, and one of the many moments shared amongst the spilling crowded pews included a first look at the distinct, electronic, soulful, and at times fittingly gospel, sounds of Seramic – a new act fronted by Marcus Foster who’s no stranger to the festival having performed as a solo act in 2012.

An indicator of the festival’s success is that, with each year, it grows with its addition of new stages and a larger collection of new artists. There is certainly no fault found in this as we can never really have too much of a good thing. This year the festival stretched beyond the confines of the Uxbridge Road high street with a new location for the festival’s only outdoor stage The Courtyard, and the addition of the Sindercombe Social Stage. A 20 minute walk between Bush Hall and The Courtyard/The Library was the greatest distance you’d have to travel between stages, and with staggered sets lasting from 30 minutes to an hour, you’re guaranteed to stumble upon some new favourites along the way at any of the stages. This year’s highlights from new discoveries included equally mesmerising sets from Sara Hartman at the Deflector’s Weld, Flyte at Siddicombe Social and Rationale at Bush Hall.

Aside from its set line-up, Bushstock has carried on the addition of the widely popular intimate sets which were initially introduced to the festival last year. Artists are announced an hour before each slot, and this year fans were treated to live sets from Luke Sital-Singh, The Beach, Amber Run and Fyfe. If you managed to miss the cut off point for any of the four sets, there’s always a promise of food, a pint and a show at any of the venues which is pretty much all the compensation you’ll need. Bushstock fulfills all it sets out to do, in terms of presenting new music to the masses. If you arrive without any expectations, you’ll definitely be leaving with a bucket full of new artists to call on when dealing with the inevitable Bushstock blues on Sunday morning.

Words by Simi Abidakun
Image by Daniel Alexander Harris