Review: Sunfall

The first ever Sunfall took place just over a week ago at Brockwell Park, Brixton and from the minute I saw it advertised for the first time, I knew it had to be on my list of must-visit music festivals for the summer. Not only were some of my favourite artists on the agenda, namely Ben Klock and Mind Against (I’m a bit of a Technohead), but the festival organisers had the genius idea of combining the main event with a series of after parties, with one ticket granting access to both the day party and an after party of your choice. I thought this was an inspired concept, as so many London festivals have a ridiculously early curfew, meaning the festivalgoers are left at a bit of a loose end once the music stops. The other way in which it differed from most festivals in London was its sound system, which was exceptionally powerful- a nice change from having to push your ears up against the speaker in order to hear the music properly!

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Kicking things off with Fatima Yamaha 

After queuing for a fairly short period of time, I went straight to the North tent to catch the start of Fatima Yamaha’s set. I hadn’t ever seen this man play before, but the friends I was with wanted to go along and I trust their taste in music, so I thought I’d join them. I was pleasantly surprised, as is so often the case when you go to see an act with no expectations. The tent was busy, without being too packed, and Fatima certainly captivated his audience, who swayed to his slow-burning synth tracks and began chanting along when he dropped the famous ‘What’s a Girl to Do’. From Deep House to Techno (that’s the beauty of these eclectic festivals), it was time to check out Donato Dozzy next. For some of my friends, it was a bit too early in the day to be exposed to rolling, Trance-induced Techno, but this is my kind of a music down to a T and it certainly got me going. Despite only being able to catch the last half hour of the set, I’d say it was one of my most memorable performances of the day.

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Having fun in the sun

Once Donato had put down his headphones, I decided to explore the festival a bit and take a look at some of the other stages. We were lucky to have blissfully balmy weather, so it was nice just to sit on the mud-free grass and chill, but I spent more time queuing for the toilets than doing that (Sunfall, that’s my only criticism; more portaloos next year please!) After grabbing a delicious halloumi wrap, I was feeling refreshed and revived and in the mood for some more Techno. Initially, I had wanted to see Job Jobse play back-to-back with Joy Orbison, but the North tent was simply too crowded and there was very little space to dance, which is enough to put me off. Besides, I knew I’d be seeing Joy O later that night at the Dimensions after party, so I didn’t mind giving his daytime set a miss.

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The incredible (and also incredibly hot) Ben Klock

The next act I saw was Mind Against. I had high expectations for these guys, as I’d seen them once before at TimeWarp in Buenos Aires and remembered being completely blown away. Thankfully, they did not disappoint this time round – their set was massive enough to fulfill that mighty sound system and I found myself unable to stop dancing until the very end. It served nicely as a warm up for the next and last DJ I saw that day, the mighty Ben Klock, whose set I’d been looking forward to all afternoon. I don’t even think I can put his performance into words; it was simply incredible. Those pounding, relentless beats had me repeatedly yelling “This is so f***ing good!” to nobody in particular, whilst fist pumping with one arm and using my other to cling on to the barrier in front of me (I had a great position which I could hardly give up). We all quite literally stomped till we dropped in that tent, which I can safely say was my favourite spot of the festival, mostly because each of the artists I saw there smashed it, but also because I found the people more genuine. It seemed to attract real music lovers, who were drawn to the festival by a desire to support the acts they adore, as opposed to a lot of the festival attendees, who I think just saw Sunfall as an excuse to get pissed.

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Sunset at Sunfall

We stuck around to watch the sun go down over the festival site, before taking part in a spontaneous yoga session-  just what you need after a day of raving! It was then time to refuel before heading to the Dimensions after party at Bussey Building, where Joy Orbison and Ryan Elliott were due to play back-to-back until 5am. This was when my excitement really kicked in, being a creature of the night, for as good as it was, the day party had felt like the warm up and for me, THIS was the main event. Joy Orbison treated us to a nice mix of Techno, Deep House and Funky House, even throwing in a bit of Hip Hop at one stage. To my surprise (and it was indeed a very pleasant surprise), the venue wasn’t nearly as crowded as I was expecting it to be, considering it was a sold out event. I can only presume that a large number of people had overdone it during the day and peaked too early, a shame for them, but it meant the rest of us had plenty of space to flail our limbs. Unfortunately, Ryan Elliott never showed up and when we asked where he was, the festival organisers claimed they “couldn’t find him” as apparently he’d simply disappeared after his daytime set. I later found out from Ryan that he’d gone to take a quick nap and woken up four hours later when, much to his horror, he realised it was too late to go down to the venue. A pity, but nobody seemed too disappointed and it didn’t make the after party any less enjoyable. Even after the lights had come on, there was a decent number of people still going for it on the dance floor, and a handful of us actually made it to a second after party (but that’s another story).

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Joy Orbison tearing up the decks

Overall, the first Sunfall was a pretty big success, thanks to its wonderfully diverse line-up and all the different after party options, which meant there was something for everyone. To find out about what Sunfall 2017 has in store, you can register via the festival’s official website and receive all the most up-to-date information on the event. I’m sure, and indeed I hope, I’ll get to go again next summer. In the meantime, here’s to more music and fun in the sun as this year’s festival season continues!

Written by: Milly Day

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