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The Garden Party 2015

4 September 2015
The Garden Party 2015
The Garden Party was the hedonistic culmination of ten years of dance, dub, house and now live music at The Faversham, stuffed into one incredible bank holiday weekend. People flocked south of the river to the site of the majestic Tetley building in all manner of festival get up, sipped on drinks concocted by The Hedonist Project, quaffed down some corkers from the Leeds Indie Food folk and danced until the wee hours of eleven o’clock. We take a look at what the first year of The Garden Party had to offer.

Saturday

Mr Scruff

The Garden Party- Article 1 Photography by Mark Wheelwright and Sam Lumsden

Following a missed plane, Mr Scruff took to the stage earlier than planned, taking up Fatima’s spot at 3 o’clock. With the crowd size now looking a bit healthier and suitably fed and watered, Mr Scruff kicked off with some serious festival vibes along with MC Kwasi. Keeping it old school with what looked to be a whole record library at his disposal, he mixed like a pro, only stopping occasionally to sip his tea.

&/Or Emporium- Live Screen Printing

Showcasing local and independent artistic talents, the &/Or Emporium tent was a treasure trove of weird and wonderful handmade bits and bobs. Wares on sale included totes, t-shirts, screen prints (which were made live and fresh before your eyes by Modes of Expression) notebooks, badges and other quirky and creative miscellany. You can catch the collective at other events in Leeds such as The Belgrave Feast.

Joy Orbison

Keeping the dance and dub step nuts happy, Joy Orbison laid down some perfect Saturday afternoon beats, in the - now incredibly sweaty - FACT tent. The revelry was well under way, establishing the weekend’s theme of shuddering bass drops and caution-to-the-wall dancing.

Stealing Sheep

All female Stealing Sheep took to The Skinny stage with their brand of slightly ethereal psych-folk. Likened to all girl acts, The Staves or Warpaint, their otherworldly harmonies created one of the more mellow moments of the weekend.

Dutch Uncles

Billed as the headliner of The Skinny Stage on Saturday night, Dutch Uncles - with their distinctive approach to stage moves - jerked and writhed through their math-pop set. My impression led me to place them somewhere in-between vocals very reminiscent of Hot Chip’s frontman and the temperament of Talking Heads, complete with their own set of unique dance moves.

Soul II Soul

Arguably the band with the most heritage, Soul II Soul gathered an impressive audience, with most people aware of the legend that graced the stage. With full band in tow, including bedazzled and sass drenched backing vocalists, Soul II Soul played a catalogue of their eclectic take on dance/R&B/soul/disco/hip-hop, bringing the house down. Their success at Garden Party perhaps also lends itself to the prevalence of favourite ‘Back to Life’ in house/disco nights in the City.

Roisin Murphy

The former singer of Moloko now brings her husky Irish brogue to her solo career, with a performance led by her distinctive summoning of various genres; funk, disco, house and ultimately pop music. Spangled synths and numerous outfit/prop changes ensured a kooky headliner performance.

Sunday

Whilk and Misky

No I’m not drunk: that is their name. Performing as a duet sometimes has innovative results, with Ben Howard-esque singer/guitarist Charlie (or Misky) doing the mouth-trumpet on their best known track ‘Clap Your Hands’, summoning Latin inspired clapping and some sexy classical guitar. The pair are charming and provide slight relief from the bass heavy alternatives on the bigger stages.

Craig Charles

The Garden Party Article 3 Photography by Mark Wheelwright and Sam Lumsden

Whether you know him from Corrie, Red Dwarf, his Radio 6 show, Robot Wars or even perhaps, his actual DJ-ing, Craig Charles is the mischievous darling of events such as The Garden Party. Bringing a large slice of funk and soul to the Sunday mix, the crowd shook off Saturday induced fatigue and re-commenced the party.

Galaxians

Pleasingly local electronic duo Galaxians (named aptly after the vintage arcade game) played energetic proto-house, post-disco boogiefunk and other electronic-led genre blends, encouraging a small but enthusiastic dance party front and centre to The Skinny stage.

Todd Terje

The Garden Party- Article 2 Photography by Mark Wheelwright and Sam Lumsden

One of the most anticipated acts of the weekend (and most debated in terms of name pronunciation), Todd Terje brings the fun to the disco/house/techno/funk party, with cheeky samples, heavenly synths and an extra load of thumping bass lines, especially for the bass-loving Garden Party crowd who found an abundance of dancing-energy during Terje’s packed out set.

Talib Kweli

Injecting a bit of hip-hop into the weekend, Talib Kweli got everyone’s lighters up in approval. Hailing from Brooklyn and known for his work with Mos Def, Kweli has worked with a plethora of big acts from Kanye West to will.i.am; he owned the stage; however, like a solo artist.

Little Dragon

My own personal highlight of the line up, Swedish electronica/new wave band Little Dragon rounded off the weekend with a typical exuberance. Their high yet cool-as-a-cucumber energy was matched with a minimalist light show and a tendency to share instruments. Front woman Yukimi whipped about the stage like a pixie, tambourine clad, with her distinctive vocals so on point. Anyone flagging by this point seemed to muster up the strength to have a little dance, cementing the weekend’s positive vibes.

The Garden Party certainly seemed well received by revellers and artists alike. Let’s hope that next year’s bank holiday will see even bigger and better festivities!

By
Emma is a Freelance Writer for Leeds Living. She has a degree in English literature from the University of Leeds and specialises in writing cultural editorials.