Classic house DJs from across the Atlantic return to London for the summer day festival
For the second consecutive year, 51st State Festival sold out well in advance, and those lucky enough to snap up a ticket were treated to a mixed bag of DJ sets and live acts spanning across house, garage, funk, soul and disco. Spread across the grassy grounds of North London’s Trent Park, the scorching sunshine set a perfect scene for a day celebrating the roots of dance music. The old school line-up catered to the house connoisseur, boasting the likes of Roger Sanchez, Kenny Dope and Paul Trouble Anderson. Drawing soulful musical parallels to the sadly defunct Southport Weekender, it was this diverse and friendly crowd that catapulted 51st State Festival into leagues above the rest.
Highlights from the Groove Odyssey tent included the Basement Boys (DJ Spen, Karizma and Teddy Douglas) with their wave of feel-good sunshine grooves including DJ Spinna’s remix of Shaun Escoffery’s ‘Days Like This’. Bobby and Steve paid tribute to the legendary Prince with ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’, before one half of Masters at Work, Kenny Dope, closed the tent with a thumpin’ house set. Over in VIP, a highlight of the day included Joey Negro’s classic disco set, to a more intimate crowd, that made revellers forget about the mammoth bar queue as they danced and belted out the chorus of his re-edit of Christopher Cross’s ‘Ride Like the Wind’ beneath the disco ball glinting in the sunshine.
From across the Atlantic, legendary New York house trio, Kings of House (David Morales, Louie Vega and Tony Humphries) took the headline sunset slot on the main stage as they played classic dance tracks such as Jaydee’s ‘Plastic Dreams’, drawing a crowd of thousands. Overall, 51st State Festival proved why it’s so special; musically, there was something for everyone. Aside the sped-up garage and house beats were the smooth sounds of British band Soul II Soul that serenaded the masses with a live performance in afternoon. But it’s the predominant soulful house DJs that were so refreshing to see among a festival line-up, and attracted such a friendly crowd who came for the music. Drinks queues aside, the festival is only in its second year and has addressed customer feedback, explaining that they will make the necessary improvements for next year. So having already filled a gap in the market and established a name for itself, 51st State could reach its true potential in 2017 with the right organisation skills.
Words by Jessica Doherty
Pictures by Marc Sethi