Disclosure and Rudimental’s inaugural festival went off with a bang

Backed by two of the UK’s biggest electronic artists plus tremendous support acts, Wild Life festival was destined to cause a roadblock in Brighton.

It was a windswept afternoon as thousands of partygoers made their way to the small airport grounds just outside of town on the first weekend in June. Straight out of the cab my excitement soon rose as my arrival was marked with hearing Four Tet’s ‘KHLHI’ somewhere in the distance.

First stop, The Warehouse Project stage for the last of Midland and Bicep going B2B. Followed by George Fitzgerald and Joy Orbison doing the same, but we found they weren’t quite hitting the spot given their afternoon timeslot. A trip to the Big Top for Oneman x My Nu Leng made for a devilishly mixed-up bass house storm.

Back outside, Dusky manned the WHP stage, stimulating many with last year’s ‘Love Taking Over. Sometimes sound systems at dance music festivals are disappointing but WHP had it on lock. The two options for finishing off the first evening were from two masters of their craft, Hannah Wants or Adam Beyer.

For day two, the previous night had taken it out on the crowd who were laying around come Sunday afternoon. It was up to Seth Troxler and Jackmaster to get those sitting at the WHP stage to their feet, not a big ask for two well-established DJs and definite party starters. They took it in turns, spinning funky disco beats with the odd vocal led number, getting the 2pm sunshine fueled vibes spot on. Doorly’s ‘96’ a sure winner.  

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Over at the main stage, Lapsley accompanied by two microphones, with one of them pitched down incorporated Ruff Squad piano keys before performing her final tune, ‘Station. Ben UFO then got my mark of approval back at WHP, playing out Adesse Versions – ‘Pride

It was then a case of flitting from Friend Within to Novelist, before two successions of weekend highlights. The first, witnessing Skepta and JME perform all the BBK big ones, everyone shouting the bars back to them. Wiley even joined them onstage for ‘Too Many Men, JME then taking to a segway to deliver ‘Man Don’t Care’ from his album Integrity.

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Then for the second and ultimate weekend highlight, Jamie XX. He mixed up Joe’s ‘Thinkin About’ along with cuts from his debut LP, including the full sample on ‘Loud Places. He’d rightfully been given a sunset slot to soundtrack the warm sky slowly darkening outside the tent.

Smoke was ejected towards the end and lit by multicoloured spotlights, mimicking his album artwork and title In Colour. Perfectly followed with the selection of his 2011 Rework Part 3 of Radiohead – ‘Bloom’, a festival fitting choice. 

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Disclosure headlined the main stage to close the festival, going through their discography at ease, as magnetic as ever. Teasing material from their latest album, they brought Kwabs, Nao and Lion Babe out to sing.

As newborn festivals go, WILD LIFE was certainly impressive. Across the site, there was a definite attention to detail on production design with various creatures and mesmerising graphics on screens. The atmosphere was top notch too with friendly staff and security. Disclosure, Rudimental and all involved are hereby encouraged to return next year for an even wilder time.

📷 Liam Simmons & Sam Neill

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