Britain’s greatest celebration of jazz returned for its 5th year last weekend and saw jazz legends from back in the day and rising stars alike put on a killer festival.
Up near the Brighton coast for the past 5 years a small festival has been held as a showcase of the amazing jazz, funk and soul artists around today – particularly jazz. Set on the beautiful grounds of Glynde Place Love Supreme never fails to provide an incredible weekend of music, community and an overall atmosphere of pure, unfiltered beauty.
Of course it’s unfortunately too late in the timeline for the legends like Miles Davis and John Coltrane (although the dedication is right there in the festival’s name). That said, the templates and precedent set by the golden age of jazz is seen ever clearly in the range of incredible and talented acts performing every year at Love Supreme.
This was my second year at Love Supreme after being blown away by the location, music and ambience of last year’s festival. This year Love Supreme managed to secure a couple of old-school legends for the bill with jazz guitar virtuoso-come-R&B star George Benson taking the main stage and legendary keyboardist and jazz-fusion innovator Herbie Hancock.
George Benson lit up the crowd with nostalgia as young and old alike came together to sing and sway to his soulful crooning that, at 74, sounded as quality as ever. Herbie Hancock opted for the more personal Big Top stage, the biggest of their tent stages which was perfect for diverse and intimate jazz that emanated from Herbie and his talented band which featured Terrace Martin on the drums.
The Big Top also played host to Christian Scott who blew away audiences with his incredibly powerful and intimate tracks. As he has become notorious for, Scott went off on monologues describing his connection with each band member and the stories behind some of his songs. Putting context behind the players you’re watching and the composition’s you’re hearing give a whole new dimension to Scott’s pieces however the staff clearly weren’t ready for such a long talk as Scott was being rushed off stage towards his last song.
Kamasi Washington was back for another year, upgraded from the Big Top to the main stage. However deserving I feel Kamasi is of any notoriety I felt that the stage didn’t suit Kamasi’s epic pieces and powerful builds with restricted sound. Last year’s performance blew me away thanks to the intimacy of the Big Top and Kamasi’s absolute power over the sax, this year I didn’t stick around to the end of his set.
Other notable acts include the Robert Glasper Experiment who shined with Glasper seamlessly moving between tracks and incorporating his renowned covers of Roxanne and Smells Like Teen Spirit, which got the crowd going wild. The Jackson’s rocked the main stage following their recent regrouping, which I heard was great – I however had other priorities.
Badbadnotgood were slated as my favourite to see after their recent album ‘IV’ blew my tits off with gorgeous jazz blended with hip-hop and electric noise. Whether it was the stage, set-up or their mood I don’t know but their performance wasn’t the blow-away event I was hoping for. Still a pretty wild ride, however.
When it came time for the night there was a choice between the great DJ’s on, including Nightmares On Wax, at the Green and Blue bar, hidden away between the woods. There was also a range of music in The Arena tent which became home to multiple dance trains and chants of “Ohhhh Jeremy Corbyn“.
I also had the pleasure of seeing my friends in Têtes De Pois play on the bandstand in the centre of the festival. The lovely Leeds lot played a killer set of their sophisticated originals and even a jazzed up cover of Redbone by Childish Gambino. Têtes De Pois got to play the Bandstand after winning a competition between 3 other artists to play there, the runners-up ‘The Thirteen Club‘ also happen to be a RouteNote artist I’ve liked for a long time – so that was all very cool.
Now one of the things that made me fall in love with Love Supreme festival so much last year was it’s atmosphere. Thanks to still being a fairly niche event the crowds are normally dedicated fans and muso’s who have come to have a good time and enjoy great music. Young and old alike, t-totallers and joint smoking teenagers can all co-exist in a land where all that matters is amazing music, being happy and loving one another. Love Supreme never fails to create this ambience.
Beyond the music there’s the food and drink. Whilst the food was once again top quality from a MASSIVE range of independent outlets featuring everything from paella, black pudding hotdogs, duck burgers, and plenty for the vegan and veggies. Drinks were a different story: Of course we all know festival drinks are overpriced but £5.50 for a coke can’s worth of beer is quite honestly a joke, as is paying almost a tenner for a double with mixer. This resulted in many sneaking drinks in, which were thankfully allowed in the campsite.
And then finally the location. Set in a gorgeous valley surrounded by trees and hills with the glorious looking Glynde Place looking down over the festival. The surrounding countryside really completes the beauty that is held at Love Supreme festival.
Despite weather predictions the sun was blazing on both Saturday on Sunday, and I like to think the love and beauty that encapsulates Love Supreme helped clear the skies for my favourite festival on earth.
It truly is A Love Supreme.
Tickets for Love Supreme 2018 go on sale tomorrow – 06/07/2018 – for super early bird price of 30% off. Find out more at : www.lovesupremefestival.com