Friday, 24 May 2013

#ESPspotlight Review: StreetFest, Shoreditch, 5th May

If there was one thing that Radio 1's Hackney Weekend taught me, it's that I, unequivocally, do not do mud. Also, that you should never engage in any mass travel plans organised by the BBC - but that's a whole other saga. On the plus side, I do love me some Music, Fashion and Live Art; so if someone could just take those, keep them outdoors, but switch out the hideous 'underfoot goo', for some good old, filthy concrete (and indoor plumbing - I mean come on, PortaPotties? Why would anyone be a fan); then I'd just be as happy as a pig in...well, their favourite natural exfoliant. That's why when I learned about 'StreetFest', the literal abbreviation of a festive affair on the streets of East, from the one and only DJ Nikki Beatnik, I made it my life's mission to attend.

Sunday, 5th May found me Shoreditch-bound, with my lovely photog-friend Allie Suwanrumpha (regular readers may recall, she was responsible for the amazing visuals in Part 2 of February's London Fashion Week special). Both newbies to the Radiator PR event; neither of us were prepared for the staggering generic, and cultural mix in the unfamiliar backstreets of East London's creative mecca. Greeted by live street art on entry, the huge murals created in front of our very eyes certainly put paid to any critic who would dare question the true artistry in graffiti. Eventually enticed away by the cheers and anxious gasps of the BMX Demo stage, it was impossible not to raise your heart rate and blood pressure, in the face of wheel trickery performed by people who clearly enjoyed the allure of near-death behaviour.

Having never witnessed a show of this kind in the flesh before, I can tell you that these gents were either very brave, or very mad for even attempting the daredevil stunts that defied gravity and gave new meaning to the term 'raising the bar'...

The nearby Unsigned Stage drew it's own respectable amount of foot traffic. I arrived just in time to catch a mix of live music and spoken word from the talented likes of singer Kayla Layton and conscious poet Chozen. Both delivered raw performances that revived my love of acoustic sets, and my annoyance at those who cannot respect them, or the dying art of common courtesy, by remaining quiet for the short duration of a set or, at the very least, removing yourself from the environment if the task of shutting up while artists perform, proves too taxing.

With thanks to @UrbanRevivalLDN for the
Blue Wooden Bead Bracelet!
To the markets next, and the majority of stalls offered what you might expect from the event; the latest in 'Hoody Chic'; with sweatshirts, tees and skateboards, etc. A few that stood out from the rest though, included wooden accessories label, Urban Revival London, where the cheekily charming Jey Flash talked a very good game about a label I'm sure you'll be seeing and hearing more from shortly - before treating me to a little bit of beaded schwag in the favourite colour of Yours Truly...

From the accessory ambassadors of the event to fashion; apparel label LabSolja Clothing were a fascinating find. The class, intelligence and positivity in their motivation-inspired designs set out to make forward-thinking 'fashionable'; changing the implied connotations of 'hoody' and tee-shirt fashionistas, by changing the message that they promote. VERY interesting approach!

Speaking of messages, the most important of the day had to come from what I mistook for an odd pun in the first. With 'Save The Male!' emblazoned on tees and signage, I had visions of some kind of 'Y-chromosome rebellion' against the championed female empowerment of the post-Spice Girls / Sex & The City eras. My pleasure at being mistaken, was quickly replaced with a sombre sadness, as two lovely gents from CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) told me of the latest disturbing stats collated on Male Depression, and the rising suicide figures in the UK. EricaSharlette Promotions Ltd. is a BIG supporter and advocate of Charity works; so expect to hear more about this and many other deserving causes in the coming months.

Back to my shenanigans, as my stomach followed my nose, out of the warehouse space housing the stalls, to a literal global cuisine wonderland. Slap bang in the middle of 'The Food Zone'; tastes of The Orient stood next to West Indian, Asian and African hot food, with every stand as busy as the last. With my edible call of nature answered, I became quite the comedy sketch to passers by. Trying my hardest to enjoy my Oriental mixed box which, I at first took to be overpriced at £7.50, until I actually tried to finish the thing - Woman vs. Food style - while capturing more of the amazing live street art and trying to get a good look at some seriously talented beatboxers; all without dropping a single thing...(I'm proud to say I succeeded).

Determined to get a good spot for the line up on the Adidas Main Stage, I made my way through other activity set ups, which made brilliant use of the indoor and outdoor spaces. From a Kids Area for trainer designs on interactive screens to what I can only describe as an extremely cool 'Nail Lair', housing a collective of four talented artists whom I would gladly let loose on me - the variety of styles and talent were just another example of the eclectic offerings made available on the day.

DJ Collective Livin Proof were deep into their old skool Hip Hop set by the time we took up position in front of the stage; entertaining everyone from actual Breakers, to the most unlikely of participants...

Supported by BBC 1Xtra's DJ Cameo, Dot Rotten delivered a setlist that left his audience on Overload. Popular tracks 'Keep It On The Low', 'Armageddon' and many more from his impressive back catalogue, the Grime MC was clearly a crowd favourite.

A Supa Dupa Set from the Supa DupaFly duo that is DJ Emily Rawson and the hilarious 'Big Teddy Ted' followed; with what was easily the best set I've ever heard from the Rock The Belles Head Honcho. Not a still foot in the place, Ms. Rawson's old skool Hip Hop, RnB, and Garage mix was directly responsible for making this Blogger dance til her curls dropped. Guilty. As. Charged.

The biggest surprise of the line-up came courtesy of Washington DC-native, Oddisee. Currently touring off the back of his brilliant d├ębut album 'People Hear What They See'; I'm ashamed to admit that I had never heard of the half-Sudanese, half-American Rapper, prior to the event's press release. I've most definitely been missing out and, if you haven't heard of him yet, so have you. Mention also has to be made of his guitarist / backing vocalist, Olivier Daysoul, who had one of the most beautiful, literal God-given gift tones that this here music lover has heard in awhile. Sounding like a modern-day Marvin Gaye (quite the achievement coming from my audio-snobbish self); my next bloodhound mission is to find more of his works because my friends, that is a Man with a Voice! We unfamiliars were definitely in the minority if the entire rapalong crowd was anything to go by. Rectify your error quickly, with a few choice snippets from his headline set...

DJ Vadim changed the pace to one that kept the Junglists happy, before the Don Diva DJ that IS Ms. Nikki Beatnik took the 'Wheels of Steel' worldwide. Now if you're unfamiliar with the world's most stylish DJ, here are 5 crucial facts that you can always bank on in any of her sets:

1. Her global tastes are reflected in her track selections
2. You'll rack up Musical Air Miles following her 'decksploits'
3. You WILL be SCHOOLED on your music knowledge, no matter how much you think you know about what's really, really hot (yes, you may read that last line in a Missy Elliot voice)
4. You WILL dance until your own feet beg for sweet freedom from your weight and finally...
5. She'll do it all in iconic custom couture and a smile!

With my favourite Writing / Production / Sound System Duo, DJs Nikki and Statis, aka 'Beatnik'

Where the Supa DupaFly set got everyone overheated; by the time Nikki Beatnik closed the show, the contagious energy in the hidden streets of Shoreditch sent the packed crowd at the Adidas stage dancing onto Hysteria Lane. Don't believe me? Have a looksee at the whole day's event, courtesy of the other half of the writing producing Superteam that is 'Beatnik' - Nikki's brother, Statis:

Definitely my contender for Event of the Year so far, in the 2013 Yearbook and Blog Awards; those other muddy festivals will need to pull something awesome out of the bag to top this one (some customised Wellies for Yours Truly might be a good start)...

Were you one of the revellers? What was your favourite part of the day? Sharing is caring don't forget; so leave your thoughts in the Comments Box below, and this page link on the statuses and timelines of your nearest and dearest, as their honest proof of your undying devotion.

For more photos from the day (courtesy of the amazing Allie Suwanrumpha), head over to the ESP Facebook Page or, visit ESP on YouTube - don't forget to Subscribe to both!

Read ya later!
ES ;)