Radio 1 Hackney Weekend

The extravaganza that is called BBC Radio 1 Hackney Weekend took Hackney Marshes by storm last weekend (June 23-24). East London hosted the A-Lister musicians at the Marshes including London’s very own stars Florence + The Machine, Tinie Tempah, Plan B, Dizzie Rascal and a global superstar Rihanna was the headliner on Sunday! I wasn’t there on Saturday but I got to catch the event online (which you can still do) in order to Jay-Z’s epic 2 hours long set which included guest appearances from Rihanna, M.I.A and Kanye West! West and Jay-Z performed songs from their smash album Watch the Throne and I guess they did quite a good job as the album is back on the charts again (it’s in Top 5 to be more specific). Saturday’s line-up included Emeli Sandé, Rita Ora, Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj and Kasabian.

However, I was there on Sunday and it was one of the best days of my life. The quick shower that took place around 13:00 made me feel a bit worried about the weather but later the weather turned out to be great, wearing sunglasses and t-shirts level great! I started my day with the performance of Santigold at the New Music We Trust Stage (NMWT Stage)! Although I didn’t get to see her that, much the parts I saw were great! Then I moved to the Main Stage where Plan B was about to perform. His set was ‘disturbed’ by a quick stormy rain session but it wasn’t enough to drive the crowds away! Everyone stayed their and singed along to ‘She Said’ of course which Plan B called the ‘karaoke time’. The second half of the set was consisted of songs from his new movie Ill Manors soundtrack. It got everyone jumping! Then we moved to the Dance Arena where Flux Pavilion and Doctor P were performing! It was amazing! I just wanted them to play all day long so that I could stay there and just dance! The Dance Arena (which was a tent) was amazing itself: Fully dark, smoke machines, psychedelic lights, happy people! Full of energy we moved to the Main Stage again where Jessie J was performing! I don’t know why but something was missing with her performance. I really enjoyed myself dancing to her songs but the crowd around me was just not dancing! Their loss!

Then I got confused (or drunk) a bit as I was waiting for Azealia Banks to perform at the wrong stage!!! I just realized 5 minutes before she started so me and my friend were trying to run in the muddy fields from one stage to the other! Luckily we didn’t miss anything! Although her set was only 20 minutes, he crowd got crazy and she prepared everyone for ‘212’ by singing Liquorice off her latest EP ‘1991’. However when the time came for the last song to be sung, thousands of people were jumping, screaming and spilling drinks around! Then she got the hit song banging and we just danced unconsciously for 4 minutes!

On the other side of the Marshes Tinie Tempah was having a glorious moment! It didn’t get sunnier than that when he was on the stage, everyone was happy and he just rapped and sung perfectly and I guess some people did really ‘Pass Out’ while he was closing his set with the biggest song of his career. After Tinie, we moved to NMWT Stage to get mesmerized by the amazing Lana Del Rey. She started her set with her hit ‘Blue Jeans’ (amazing intro by the string quartet!) and then sang her new song ‘Body Electric’. Her set included of the course the pop culture sensation ‘Video Games’ which brought her to stardom and closed her set with her yet-to-be released single ‘National Anthem’. She hit every not perfectly and although she didn’t talk that much she just had this great connection with the audience.

Then we treated ourselves with the performances of Florence + The Machine and David Guetta: Class. However the moment we were waiting for came around 9 pm when Rihanna appeared on the stage! She started her set with ‘Only Girl In the World’ and closed with her smash hit ‘We Found Love’. She sang 17 songs on her Egyptian inspired stage including ‘Love the Way You Lie’, ‘Disturbia’ and her reggae song ‘Man Down’. Dancing was amazing, energy was amazing and the connection with the crowd was amazing! Towards the end she disappeared for a few minutes and the moment that everyone was waiting for was reality at that moment: Jay-Z appeared on the stage! I have never heard a stronger collective scream than that that! They first performed ‘Run This Town’ and as Rihanna said a historical moment happened as they performed ‘Talk That Talk’ together for the first time ever! After this the single most important song of her career was banging: Umbrella. Who’d have known those umbrellas would create such a scenic view and that they would have come in handy on a sunny day! Jay-Z left the stage after his part and then it was Rihanna and her dancers left with a bunch of umbrellas and thousands of people singing along with their umbrellas! She then sang ‘We Found Love’ and that was it.

Two days of musical extravaganza ended with a great party when Rihanna sang ‘We Found Love’. There are many more upcoming Olympic celebration events but I think it’s fair to say that this is going to stay as the most iconic event of the Summer 2012.