Where Saturday’s line-up brought some the finest DJs in house, disco and electronica to Eastville Park, Sunday promised to bring together one of most eclectic line-ups of the summer festival circuit to the South West. Sunday’s headliners featured some of the United Kingdom’s finest lyricists, with the focus turning away from the decks and onto the mics of Mercury Prize winner neo-soul singer-songwriter Sampha and fellow nominee, rapper Loyle Carner as they locked down the main stage. However, the real appeal of Love Saves the Day’s multifaceted line-up lay in just how many different genres were represented.

While Fatboy Slim and Bicep took centre stage on Saturday, Both DJ sets and electronic music were certainly not neglected. Record label founder and Drum and bass behemoth Andy C brought his signature ‘switch up style’ to the RAM records stage, headlining a massive, all-star DnB line-up that saw High Contrast, Camo and Krooked, amongst others, drop varied sets as liquid, jungle and jump-up raged throughout the day.

one of most eclectic line-ups of the summer festival circuit to the South West

While house heavyweight Hot Since 82’s pulsating bass washed over Eastville Park late into the night, preparing the revellers for a massive headline DJ set just hours later at the Motion ‘Love Saves the Night’ Afterparty. Festivalgoers could choose to get groovy to Artworks beats surrounded by flowers in the serene Lost Gardens and the next minute be transported through genres by David Rodigan and the magnificent Outlook Orchestra on the main stage.

The choice of Sampha as the festival’s closing headliner main-stage headliner, perceived as a left-field choice by many, provided the perfect tranquil respite from the chaos of a festival. Perhaps to be expected, Sampha’s paciest ‘danceiest’ songs translated perfectly onto the festival stage as the crowd two-stepped and sung along along to bouncy, atmospheric numbers like “Blood On Me” as well as his “Hold On” collaboration with SBTRKT. However, the real triumph of Sampha’s headline set lay in the translation of the sense of intimacy and fragility constructed throughout the sombre ballads of the critically acclaimed first album perfectly onto the main stage. The use of lighting throughout the set was unparalleled, culminating in an ethereal, glowing sole amber light that illuminated the South Londoner’s beautiful rendition of “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano”.

The day’s standout performance came in the form of fellow South Londoner Loyle Carner, whose punchy bars and witty lyricism lit up the main stage in the early evening. Undoubtedly 2017’s standout breakout artist within the UK Hip Hop scene Carner was charismatic throughout. Clutching his mic in one hand and his late stepfathers Manchester United shirt in the other Carner swaggered around the stage exuding confidence and enthusiasm in abundance. Carner’s lyrics packed a punch with a crowd made up predominantly of university students as he unleashed particularly poignant bars about missing his student loan and chilling out in rented flats. “Ain’t Nothing Changed”, a more intimate, reflective track on Carner’s debut album was completely repurposed in a live festival setting, as energy bounced between Carner’s fresh, original vocal performance and the thousands singing the refrain within the crowd.

The Loop has been hailed as a key factor in the 25 per cent reduction in drug related fatalities

While the music remained at the heart of the festival, surprises lay around every corner. If you fancied making some faux unholy matrimonial vows then you simply headed over to the delightfully quirky inflatable church for an unforgettable instagram photo. While Bump Roller Disco had you covered if moshing into scores of drunken people was more your thing.

Importantly, 2018 saw the inclusion of The Loop, a ‘pop-up’ lab that confidentially tests the purity of recreational drugs alongside giving fifteen-minute drugs counselling sessions, located close to the festivals entrance. Pioneered at festivals such as Boomtown, The Loop aims to directly target the number of fatalities and serious medical issues that arise from the consumption of party drugs such as MDMA and Cocaine. At Boomtown alone last year the inclusion of facilities such as The Loop has been hailed as a key factor in the 25 per cent reduction in drug related fatalities. 

Almost immediately after being ferried to the festivals after party by the aptly named ‘Love Bus’ we where greeted with numerous posters warning clubbers of the risk of taking notoriously strong ecstasy pills. Last November at Motion, the festivals’ official after party location, a young teen died after taking a ‘Testla’ ecstasy pill, believed to be twice as strong as regular pills packed with the party drug MDMA. With drug related deaths continuing to rise in the United Kingdom, entrenching progressive, forward thinking institutions like The Loop within the festival scene helps keep festivalgoers safe, something the organisers of Love Saves the Day’s should be applauded for.

Motion, often hailed as the best club in the South West, is simply an institution within the British dance scene, something every British electronic music fan should experience. The Festival afterparty featured real pedigree as a collection of the finest DnB acts throughout the day packed out ‘The Marble Factory’, Motion’s de-facto ‘second room’, as the harsher heavier variants of jungle and jump-up rattled through the ex-warehouse deep into the night.

an institution within the British dance scene

In the main room Hot Since 82 went back-to-back with Heidi in the top slot, mixing some of house music’s classics as well as drawing from their own stellar catalogues. A particular highlight included Heidi’s layering of the acapella of Hardrive’s seminal ‘Deep Inside’ over a monstrous, stomping bassline, which prompted rapturous, spontaneous applause from the ravers around us. Testament to the quality of the club night, Motion continued to rock as we trudged back Bristol Temple Meads to catch the first train back to Exeter at five in the morning.

Drawing on talent from across an outrageous spectrum of musical genres, Love Saves the Day is an original, perfectly planned city festival that any music lover will feel at home at.

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