Festival one-dayer Citadel boasts an eclectic line-up featuring Gangs of Youth, La Femme, The Horrors, Chvrches and more.
Relocating Citadel Festival from Victoria Park in East London to the leafy green of Gunnersbury in the West doesn't affect it's shining and eclectic line up. A deliciously bizarre mix of artists from the experimental rockers Fat White Family, silky smooth vocalist Leon Bridges to cheeky Scottish synth-pop band Chvrches spread across a handful of stages under the baking sun, caters well to the diverse audience of mature music fans and families.
Kicking off the day with heartfelt energy is Gang of Youths on the Clash & Last FM stage, with sweaty thrashing, stage-diving and impassioned speeches about looking out for one another. Meanwhile Dizzy, Isaac Gracie and Leon Bridges bring a taste of the acoustic calm to the Communion Stage. The Main Stage is set on fire by the fierce French frolics of La Femme – a band that outshine their time slot with a myriad of airy, rounded vocals, incredible Vogue-meets-The-Adams-Family outfits and sharp wit.
The festival boasts much more beyond the main stages – from progressive house bangers and rich, brass band performances at the Corona Stage to the raucous rhythms of infused drum n’ bass, jungle and swing dance in The Sweet Spot tent. DJ sets from a (refreshingly) female-heavy line-up at the Smirnoff House draw on the familiar sounds of 80s disco, breakbeat and modern techno, providing a space for EDM fans to take themselves for a spin.
The Horrors coax punters out of the safety of the shade to revel in their unique brand of indie rock. An extended version of 'Machine' from their latest album V provides a scintillating start to a set jam-packed with classic tracks such as 'Still Life' and 'Sea Within A Sea'. Despite turning up late because they "hadn’t been told" the festival had moved from Victoria Park, the indie rock quintet don't disappoint.
As the sun continues to scorch both crowd and earth with no remorse, HONNE's sweet, contemporary synth pop takes over the Communion Stage and invites the crowd to enjoy a respite in the shade whilst they dance through the layers of sweat to an elegant vocal set-up and Japanese-inspired visuals.
One sentiment is clear, Chvrches knock it out of the park. Tiny in stature, but larger-than-life Lauren Mayberry makes the stage her manic pixie playground. Bouncing jauntily between the front row and her bandmates, pausing for a breath between tracks and to tell us about their World Cup sweepstake teams. Adorned in her signature pink and blue festival glitter and prom dress style skirt, Mayberry indulges the audience's guiltiest pop pleasures with megahits ‘Miracle’, ‘Get Out’ and ‘Mother We Share’.
After an agonising wait for headliners Tame Impala which sees the entire festival site congregate in front of the Main Stage. Whoops and heckles spread through the crowd at the first note of monster track ‘Let It Happen’ and the energy only increases throughout its full 7 minutes – confetti cannons, warbling acid-trip visuals and wild dancing dilutes the concentration of pop with Kevin Parker's unique brand of psych-rock. Their UK exclusive set was peppered with irresistible grooves, including ‘Elephant’, ‘The Less I Know The Better’ and big finisher ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’.
Festival perfection was, however, blighted by well-publicised travel woes. Huge queues saw music fans missing the last trains and having to fork out (hundreds in some cases) for Ubers and Taxis home. Some even staying overnight in train stations to catch the first services across the country the next morning.
Despite chock-a-block tube stations, Citadel really does live up to its expectations as the no drama, down-to-earth day out for unearthing excellent new music.