RECAP: Maiden Voyage Festival


The tag line for Maiden Voyage was “a no fuss music festival” and I’m pleased to say that the people behind The Jazz Cafe London (The Columbo Group) achieved just that! Taking place on the same bank holiday weekend in August as carnival, it was a welcome alternative to the overly crowded, over commercialised and aggressive vibe of Notting Hill. Attending a festival in its inaugural year is always a bit special. I feel particularly lucky to have been apart of the first Maiden Voyage. 

If you work in the media industry you will probably be aware of 3 Mills Studios. For those unfamiliar with the area, the festival took place in a unique part of town -Three Mills Island in East London. A perfect setting for a single stage festival. 

Everything about my experience was a breeze. The organisers chose a spot easily accessible, surrounded by woods and a steep grassy bank with great views of the site and the main stage. There were little follies, secret paths and wooded areas with plenty of space to enjoy the 32 degrees of hazy sunshine. 

A decent setting with out the other overbearing capacity - busy without being overcrowded. I waited no more than a couple of minutes for beers, food and the odd toilet break. Food and drink prices where reasonable and I really liked the fact that the sponsors and stall logos were not shoved in your face. (You will not what I mean if you have ever been to a large festival like Reading/Leeds etc.) 

The festival attracted an amazingly mixed crowd of audiophiles from almost every facet of London's music scene. A great bunch of characters.

To say I was excited to see Roy Ayers is an understatement! Roy and the band smashed it - I never thought I would hear ‘Everybody Loves The Sunshine’ live in London on the hottest bank holiday ever funking recorded. Another artist ticked off my bucket list.

Having grown up in the age of turntablism and sampling, I have a real soft spot for artist’s that still physical dig for that rare tune. Needless to say I was particularly impressed with Charlotte Dos Santos’ set. Awesome Tapes From Africa did exactly what it says on the tin - I've never seen a DJ use actual old school cassettes to mix with. His selection was on point and there were several occasions where i got my phone out and loaded up the Shazam app to find out what songs were dropping for my own collection.

Other stand out sets came from the genius Madlib and the don Giles Peterson, both of which I have been a longtime fan of! My only regret was that I couldn't attend the after party. If it was anywhere near as good as the festival then I well and truly missed out. 

Great site, great people and a great selection of artists. If you're looking for a festival with zero hassle and an amazing line up I would highly recommend you get yourself down to the next instalment of Maiden Voyage Festival!!

Words & photos: Owen Porter

Matt NevilleComment