Ceremony Festival @ Finsbury Park, London 13.09.14

The newest event from the Found team makes a stellar debut at Finsbury Park

Sep 13th, 2014 at Finsbury Park, London / By Matthew Bayfield
Grant Nelson There’s a lot of press going around these days about the over saturation of festivals. Yes the season now starts in mid March and finishes in late February. Yes, it’s now a statistical fact that for every child in Britain there are in fact three festivals and at least six god-awful aztec pattern pocket t-shirts in Urban Outfitters but we here at Bearded like to run on the ethos of “the more the merrier” so, as the summer season began to wind down, we donned our favourite festival t-shirt (a Wu-Tang Clan one, it didn’t have a shitty pocket) and sloped off down to Finsbury Park for Ceremony, the newest event from the Found team.

For the first time in a long time The Beard actually made it down early; which was both a blessing and a curse as we got to see an absolute belter of a set from garage legend Grant Nelson (pictured - easily a festival highlight) but it did also mean we had a whole day of dealing with £5 a can Red Stripe. To compound the issue of crude oil price drinks, we also had to contend with the dreaded “non-refundable” bar tokens. It’s one thing to overcharge on drinks at a festival (after all someone needs to make a living off this) but the use of tokens is just an added hassle designed purely to wring that extra few quid out of your punters and this summer we’ve seen far too many promoters jump on this cynical little trend.

With Roy Davis Jnr, Todd Terry and DJ Sneak all following on from Mr Nelson on the 51st State stage it would have been quite easy to stay put and not see a single other inch of the festival but over on the Urban Nerds stage there were the like of Tom Shorterz and Cause And Affect to go see, not to mention Fur Coat over on the Magna Carta stage.

In all honesty though we missed more or less all of the above: Like any seasoned festival goer part of the reason we missed all this splendour is due to large quantities of alcohol (bought, borrowed, smuggled and stolen) but also due to the existence of the So Fresh and So Clean tent. Before Ceremony we honestly couldn’t name one DJ on the lineup but all day they played stirling selections of classic hip-hop: from golden era boom bap to noughties G-Unit with the odd well placed slow jam thrown in for good measure.

One of the true highlights of the day was without doubt seeing a whole tent full of ravers singing R Kelly at four in the afternoon. It was enough to make Tim Westwood shit his 4XXL Avirex.

The other true highlight of the day was also the revival of Tropical. The grime cum garage project which, in this incarnation, featured JME, Skepta, Preditah, Logan Sama and Plastician. Sheer energy and immeasurable levels of hype throughout were the order of the day and it sealed the deal for the Urban Nerds stage.

The size of the crowd and the space itself was also a massive positive, meaning that Ceremony eschewed both the endless crowds and queues of Shoreditch based sister festival Found earlier this summer and also, through its much more varied genres and acts remedied the lack of variety which also a blight on Found’s vibe.

If they could just stop making us queue for tokens when we want to get ripped off on a gin this could easily be another summer festival worth waiting another year for.