Live Reviews Music

Review | Citadel Festival, London

by Maisie Marston


This year Citadel Festival took place in London’s Gunnersbury Park, already christened by the attendees of Lovebox from the previous two days. In the 12 hour turn around all that changed were the signs, acts, and consequently, the demographic. I’d like to think that despite the fact it was essentially Lovebox (but with more hipster Dads), it had some personality. Unlike festivals like Reading and Leeds which are both bleak and commercialised, you could play some handmade instruments, take part in a sports day, do some yoga and get ‘married’ in a fake chapel. Ultimately though, with previous headliners including Foals and Bombay Bicycle Club, it is clear the event has incredible potential which hasn’t been completely realised. If it were to have a more definitive character it would really earn a place on the summer festival calendar.

Despite this, you can’t turn down an opportunity to see the bands on offer for a measly £50. Tame Impala alone justified the cost, delivering an incredible performance complete with confetti cannons and immense visuals. Modestly, Kevin Parker remarked that he was “slightly worried nobody would come”. Needless to say he was completely wrong. Chvrches, who were the penultimate act of the day, offered a fun synth-powered performance, the best bits still sourced from their first and second albums. ‘Gun’ and ‘Bury It’ were a couple of their openers; some of their punchier pop tunes. The best acts of the day also included the likes of Fat White Family, Her’s, The Horrors, Shame, and Goat who were adorned with colourful head dresses and a whole spectrum of instruments. There was plenty to see all day, with the festival spanning five major stages plus other events areas.

Organisation quickly became an issue on a scorching day in London, nearing 30 degrees. Under every tree there were crowds of people sheltering from the sun. Queues to get water could have you waiting for perhaps half an hour to fill up bottles due to the fact that you weren’t able to bring in your own drinks. The morning after it was also reported that the slow exit from the site caused many to miss the last tube, leaving them stranded at Acton Town until the next day.

Overall, the festival was great value for money. However, as I have said, it had greater potential. The lineup was really special, but the atmosphere lacked character, feeling a bit like the sloppy seconds of Lovebox. With any luck next year a similarly massive indie headliner just like Tame Impala or Foals will play, and the festival will have developed its character.