Welcoming its third year, Wild Life Festival is a relatively fresh jaunt to the quirky seaside town of Brighton, and it certainly isn’t doing too badly at all. Winning the award for ‘Best New Festival’ in its debut year in 2015 at the UK Festival Awards, Wild Life has continued to entice the crowds with its diverse star-studded line-ups. This year greeted the likes of Brighton-born Fatboy Slim, reggae star Damian Marley, grime and garage icon Dizzee Rascal amongst festival favourites such as Andy C, Jamie Jones and Pete Tong across two days on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th June.
It was my first time going to Wild Life, and excitingly my first festival of the season. And as we made our way through the gates on the second day of the festival, scoping my surroundings, I felt my spirits lift. The sun had made a very welcome appearance and I felt back at home in that familiar happy-go-lucky festival bubble.
We frisked over to the Wild Life Stage, where we luckily managed to catch 2017 Brit Award Winner Rag ‘N’ Bone man finishing his set. His soulful vocals impressed with his hit ‘Hell yeah’ from his number 1 album ‘Human’, the ideal tune to sway to the beat in the afternoon sun.
After a quick jump around to German DJ and Running back label producer Gerd Janson in the funky Kopparberg Urban Forest Stage, we made our return to the Wild Life Stage to welcome reggae royalty Damian Marley to the stage. Damian delighted the crowd with a string of hits including ‘Road to Zion’, ‘Hard work’ and ‘Could You Be Loved’, the latter paying homage to Damian’s late father: the one and only Bob Marley. Fan-favourite ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ brought the set to a euphoric end.
Contrary to the rest of the UK I hadn’t actually heard (or so I thought) too much from 23 year old British grime artist Stormzy, so whilst we stuck around the Wild Life Stage, I was intrigued. Before I knew it I was jumping up and down madly with the rest of the troops to energetic tracks including the likes of ‘Dude’ and ‘Shut up’; it was the kind of music that forced you to let loose and move and no doubt I was absolutely loving it. For good measure, a remix of Ed Sheeran’s adored ‘Shape of you’ was thrown in, a welcome addition as the sun finally set down on us.
As darkness arrived I knew exactly the place to go; it could only be the Sounds Of The Near Future Stage I had been eyeing up on our way in where the iconic Andy C was taking centre stage. There I was blown away with an absolutely incredible light show, a spectacle of blinding colours, laser beams and smoke effects. I was captivated and once again our man Andy C certainly didn’t disappoint.
We couldn’t leave without catching Armand Van Helden and Disclosure’s 2 hour back-to-back performance on the WHP Presents Stage where the two acts concluded the night on an exhilarating high with thumping beats, head-spinning drops and more of those entrancing visuals. A fitting finale for a fantastic day dancing in the sun. See you next year, Wild Life.