BST Hyde Park FESTIVAL SPECIAL – THE WELL-KNOWN, THE NEW, THE LEGENDARY

Photography: Jack Alexander

 

Words: Adina Ilie

This weekend, British Summer Time showcased an array of exceptional talent ranging from the well-established to the ones-to-watch. As ever, BST Hyde Park is a celebration of music in all of its splendour, where genres intertwine, and people gather to immerse themselves in pure talent. This year, Bruno Mars, this year’s most acclaimed headline act completely sold out the festival on Saturday. He gathered support from acts such as Charlie Wilson, Naomi Scott, Liv Dawson along with the likes of DNCE, Khalid, Yungen and many others. As an impromptu moment, Joe Jonas of DNCE also announced that both of his siblings were supporting the band side-stage, making the crowd go wild in ecstasy and nostalgia altogether.

 

British Summer Time is now left behind with a heavy heart as the sight of a deserted Hyde Park is imminent, but there is no doubt that 2019 will bring even greater things for the most emblematic event in London’s festival history. For the time being, we look fondly at the acts that graced the stage in splendour this weekend.

 

LIV DAWSON

What’s your most exciting festival moment to date?

The best part has to be meeting people that I admire. Also, last year I played Wildlife festival on the main stage, which was absolutely amazing. I also remember meeting Lucy Rose, who is an incredible singer and I was absolutely freaked out.

 

What are you most looking forward to at BST?

I am so excited to play my set and also be surrounded by so many amazing talents. I’m looking forward to seeing Tom Walker, Bruno Mars, Khalid. It’s going to be a good day.

 

What is your festival FAULT?

I played The Great Escape quite recently and I had some technical difficulties on stage. I started one of my songs wrong and I had to start it all over again. It always happens, but that just makes the set funnier.

YUNGEN

 

What’s your favourite part about playing music festivals?

They bring an entirely different vibe. I was doing a lot of club gigs and there’s only a certain set that you can do in a club. At festivals you can get really creative.

 

How will your set today differ from the sets you usually play?

At club gigs, I like to quickly go through the songs to keep the energy up. I feel like at festivals, they come to see – you – so there’s more space to be creative.

 

What’s your festival FAULT?

I was at a festival and some kids climbed up on the fence and started shouting ‘Hey Yungen!’ And I was like ‘hey man, are you alright?’ and they thought that was an indication to jump over the fence. Security was looking at me like ‘what have you done?!’ because they had to chase those kids all around the festival!

 

DNCE

 

You’ve recently released a new EP People to People which has an entirely different sound to your previous material. What made you change direction?

Joe: For any person, you look at yourself a year back and realise how much you’ve grown ever since. For us, as musicians, we definitely have grown together, separately, emotionally and even physically *laughs*. We finally tapped into something new and it’s exciting to share the journey this very moment, instead of waiting a few more months for putting an entire album together. We just wanted to release this EP and get it out there.

 

You’ve got a more serious note on the EP. How did you tap into that particular part of song writing?

Cole: What we did is that we took away a few layers and stripped it down to what instruments we’re playing and where we are emotionally. It might be a little more sophisticated, but it’s also a bit more indie rock. We wanted to focus on that. Because we couldn’t do a 180 – we’re DNCE – funk meets rock’n’roll meets pop. So, we twisted the knobs a little bit and we have a good idea what’s next. We hope to release more music soon.

 

How are festivals different to you as opposed to your own personal shows?

Joe: Festivals are always more fun. You get to meet a lot of new artists and hang out in really elaborate tents. But it’s not just festivals – this is Hyde Park. Playing Hyde Park is the dream. It’s definitely a bucket list one for us.

 

Do you have any festival anecdotes that you’d like to share?

Joe: We’ve had moments when we’ve lost each other and then found each other in the most bizarre situations. We’ll disperse and then hours and hours later I’d be waiting in line for the urinal and Cole pops right out.

Cole: We were at a festival and we were watching Average White Band play and we were literally having the time of our lives. Dancing, singing, it was great. But somehow, all the pictures that our fans took of us then – we literally looked mortally depressed.

 

What’s your festival FAULT?

All: Fried food, that’s for sure.

NAOMI SCOTT

 

You’ve got a stellar Hollywood career and now you’ve gone into music too. What spurred your love for music?

I grew up in church, so I grew up listening to gospel music. I remember going through my dad’s iTunes and stumbling upon Kate Bush. She’s fantastic, weird and whacky and I loved it! I also love Enya (probably because I’m a big Lord of the Rings fan) – but clearly my influences are very mixed!

 

Who would you most like to collaborate with – out of all of the artists that you’ve pointed out just now?

Honestly – I really love Chance The Rapper. I’d love to do something with him. Collaboratively, he would be ideal in terms of what he actually brings to the table. I also love J. Cole – and what I love about him is his storytelling. There’s always a message with his music.

 

We all know of your Hollywood highlight moments – but what are your musical highlights?

For me, the highlight has just been able to grow and stay independent. But the biggest moment was a month ago when I ended my UK tour in London. I’ve been putting out music sporadically for a long time and people knew the whole back catalogue. Stuff that I’ve released years and years ago.

 

What stood out the most?

I was in Cardiff, in Wales and there was a girl right at the front who literally knew all of the words to every single song. For me – that was the best moment.

 

What do you want your fans to take from your music?

I honestly just want people to have a good time. I want them to have fun, I’m completely myself on stage and I want people to feel escapism when they come to my shows. Kind of like movies – in a way. And I want it to be a memorable experience.

 

What’s your festival FAULT?

Well, this is my first festival, so I’ll just say that it’s very hot outside and I’m very disorganised!

 

CHARLIE WILSON

 

What’s your most fond memory of BST Hyde Park?

I was here a couple of years ago on one of the smaller stages when Stevie Wonder and Pharrell were playing. I said that one day I’ll play the main stage and here I am today.

 

Do you have a memorable moment from playing live that you would like to share?

I played a show with The Rolling Stones when I was in my 20s. We opened the show in Kansas City. Back in that day, we had no hits. We were making up songs to sound like rock songs basically. So, I went into a song – except that I didn’t know it was already a Rolling Stones song! And I started singing Jumpin’ Jack Flash and everyone kept signalling me to stop doing it. And afterwards I went to my manager and asked him how many shows we had left with The Stones and he said that he was pretty sure that that was our last one.

 

What’s your festival FAULT?

I don’t have one now, but back in the day it used to be drugs and alcohol. I’m sober now, been sober for a long time, but I wish I hadn’t wasted all the time.

 

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