Found Festival @ Haggerston Park, London 14.06.14

After a more than successful first outing last year for London based promoters Found on the festival circuit Bearded thought it only appropriate to saddle up once more and return to Haggerston Park for another round of underground house and techno.

Jun 14th, 2014 at Haggerston Park, London / By Matthew Bayfield
Found Festival @ Haggerston Park, London 14.06.14 Festival season has well and truly rolled around once again: There are thirty quid t-shirts with Aztec pattern pockets falling out of every Urban Outfitters, every corner shop in central London has sold out of Desperados and every other advert in the press is for a boutique festival that promises “an *insert hyperbole* musical experience in a unique *insert twee adjective* setting.” It’s an absolute minefield of rebranded failures, genre fly-bi nighters, war torn veterans with acute tinnitus and virgin promoters having their first tentative fumbles. There’s bound to be some solid gold in there but chances are you’ll be swimming against the tide trying to find more than a few of them this summer... To call 2014 a bit of a monsoon season would probably be offensive to anything smaller than a natural disaster.

Particularly if finance being tight sometimes the only safe option may be to stick with what you know. Cast your mind all the way back to those sunny, halcyon parties of summer 2013 (when the days were longer and the hangovers shorter) and invest your money in a promoter you already know and trust. It was with this in mind that Bearded gleefully packed sandwiches, a note from Mother and money for the payphone (we actually just took gin) and skipped gleefully down to Haggerston Park, Shoreditch ready for another day of house and techno at Found Festival, one of our festival highlights of last year.

Upon arrival a few hours later than the very brisk 11am start time (we’re music writers not bloody milkmen) all seemed to be cooking nicely. That standard 4/4 kick could be heard bumping in the background from the main stage, there was many a happy reveller eagerly queuing to get in and a near constant stream pouring out of the pubs in the surrounding Shoreditch area. We even missed the sudden downpours we hoped the forecast was wrong about. However upon entry it became apparent that all wasn’t quite so well at Found 2014: the proposed “underground house and techno” line up turned out to be essentially “a whole day of tech-house” (although one or two of the lineup may have once played something other than tech-house before they realised they could double their fees) and the queues we thought we left at the front gate seemed to be barely a warm up for the masses already inside. Still as the old saying goes “This Is England, We Are Bearded” and we were rapidly approaching sobriety so we put best foot forward and got straight in the bar queue. Upon reaching the bar (after a queue longer than Doctor Zhivago) we were more than a little stunned to find a single tin of Red Stripe was retailing at a weighty five pounds. We were further stunned to find that not only was it five English pounds, but the five English pounds we held in our hand was not valid tender. We were forced to give up our place in the queue and join the back of an even larger queue to change our trusty Stirling over for the dreaded Festival Tokens. Sod that. This beard is long enough. Instead we hot tailed it over to the Krankbrother’s hosted “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” in VIP (we were fortunate enough to have free access here but the consumer price tag was a whopping £75) in a bid to dodge more queue time, alas this was equally as overpopulated and the problem was further compounded by the fact the VIP bar was apparently being managed by the cast of a Marx Brothers picture. After waiting what seemed like a life time and paying a small dowry The Beard’s gin & tonic revealed itself to be an Ouzo and soda (which we didn’t even know was a thing) upon returning it to the bar for a replacement we were greeted with a gin & tonic distinctly the colour of Coca Colour with a definite whiff of vodka about it... Third time’s the charm as they say. It also became apparent, during the twenty minute wait for the correct drink, that the “Mad Hatters” theme was in fact identical to last year’s themeless VIP bar, save for the addition of a cardboard teapot and a couple of playing cards to the spherical lights hung from the roof of the tent... The only themes apparent at this stage were that of cold, hard money making and lampooning bar stuff (although to their credit this may have been a subtle Tweedle Dumb / Tweedle Dee reference. Either way we were thirsty)

Not to be too down on the whole thing though, there were still some phenomenal acts throughout the day: San Soda was an early treat on arrival, Artwork (probably one of the most consistently entertaining DJs in the country) provided a fantastic cover slot in the sudden absence of Heidi and of course Moodyman, Lil Louis and DJ Sneak (pictured) were never really going to let the side down but throughout the middle of the day it really did feel all too possible to walk from one tent to another and (provided you could actually squeeze in) not realise you had changed stages on account of masses of tech-house spilling out of... everywhere. There was alternative fun to be had though; such as watching groups of girls bum rush VIP security in a bid to dodge toilet queues or watching security try and engineer a way to retrieve a rather portly, thoroughly caned pink haired lady from the roof of the aptly named No Fit State tent, but when you are paying up to fifty quid (plus booking and admin fee) for a festival it shouldn’t be a case of finding your own entertainment.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a festival wanting to upscale: everyone has to pay their bills and promoters have to pay their acts, but sadly this year Found felt a little too much like it was more a case of packing in a few more punters and wringing a few more quid from the same sized space and vibe as last year, as opposed to actually expanding the scope of the event. Found have another festival at the end of the summer by the name of Ceremony in Finsbury Park, the lineup seems more varied and presently the tickets are retailing at a more reasonable price so let’s hope that the oversights at this festival were merely because time has been split arranging that one. Regardless this year Found Festival sadly felt less of a triumphant return and more of a quick cash-in sequel.