RECAP: 51st State Festival
51st State celebrated its fifth year in style with a stellar lineup at Enfield’s Trent Park. Best known for its diverse mix of house, garage and electronic music, this year didn’t disappoint with headliners Kerri Chandler, Kings of House (Louie Vega and David Morales) and Dennis Ferrer lighting up the venue, along with some of the biggest and most classic names in dancehall, disco, funk, techno, soul, dub, deep and afrobeats.
Combining sounds from the UK, US, Caribbean and Europe, 51st State didn’t just bring the real music - it brought people together. With corporate’s taking over more and more festivals, 51st State stands out as an independent festival that exists to serve music lovers and real house lovers - and this year did not disappoint.
From 2pm, fans descend from far and wide into Trent Park, with Boston-based Soul Clap welcoming the crowds with their funk, house and disco beats on the Groove Odyssey Stage. Dimitri from Paris closely follows with an invigorating set that gets the crowd on their feet, with some fans bringing along tambourines to add to the set.
Old-school classic fans are treated to the sounds of Norman Jay MBE at the We Love Soul Stage, playing a range of 80s and 90s tracks interspersed with classic house tracks. Matt Jam Lamont follows up with a stellar performance, bringing the party and lighting up the Back to 95 stage, complete with hype man, carnival-esque dancers and reloads galore.
Surprisingly, the Hot Wuk tent proves to be the best spot of the day. Whilst the likes of DJ Luck and MC Neat, Wookie and Crazy P provide for the house fans, the Hot Wuk tent offers dancehall, afrobeats and reggae that gets the whole room dancing. Under the glaring lights, a heavy bass sound system and muggy air encompasses the room, fans dance to Boasty (Wiley, Stefflon Don and Sean Paul ft. Idris Elba), Toast (Koffee) and Afro B’s Drogba (Joanna) before brukking out to tracks from the likes of Vybz Kartel, Tony Mattherhorn and Konshens. Stylo G, whose DJ set is so energetic he requires a towel after each track, orders the crowd to dance to every track, whilst The Heatwave’s set includes even more dancehall tracks, accompanied by what must be professional dancehall champions pulling off ridiculously athletic dance routines.
With its eclectic mix of attendees, incredible range of artists and spectacular performances, one thing is clear: 51st State’s sixth year has a lot to live up to!
Words & Photos: Mireille Harper