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BBC Radio 1 Hackney Weekend Review

| Festivals | 26/06/2012

BBC Radio 1 Hackney Weekend

If you were sat at home watching the highlight’s of BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend, regretting that you didn’t register. You missed one of the most amazing festival line-ups this summer!


Hackney, located in the heart of East London, is the host borough for the London 2012 Olympics. Hackney is an urban area, well-known for the vast amount of home-grown talent from the likes of Leona Lewis, Professor Green, Dizzee Rascal and many more. It is amazing to see something positive happening in a once deprived area, as Hackney hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons last summer…

I love Hackney badge

Hackney Marshes played host to the very best in music chosen by Radio 1. Visitors were advised to wear wellies and prepare for a lengthy airport-style security procedure that could take up to two hours.

The Line-ups

Saturday’s line-up featured Hip-Hop legend Jay-Z (With a few suprises) and many British acts, including Ed Sheeran, Kasabian and Example, to name a few. However, Sunday’s line-up played homage to more of the area’s talent, including Plan B, Professor Green, Labrinth and Maverick Sabre.

Although tickets were free to the lucky 100,000 (Priority given to Hackney residents), albeit a £2.50 postage charge, the price of food and drink at festivals these days is astronomical. Cheeseburger, chips and a drink and it came to just shy of a tenner. As you weren’t allowed to take in your own food or drink, you had no choice, it made up for the lack in ticket price.

Dodgy weather

Although the weather changed as much as Rihanna’s hair colour, as Florence + The Machine beckoned the main stage, the sun stayed out for the rest of the evening. Florence Welch’s hauntingly beautiful voice is a reminder of the strong British talent. Performing hits barefoot from the new Ceremonial’s album, Florence engaged the crowd on such a personal level, it was as though you were part of her Machine.

After Florence + The Machine’s set, there was much talk of who the special would be, rumours of Beyonce, Usher, Cheryl Cole and such filled the air. However, it was none other than local boy Dizzee Rascal, returning with a new album later this year. He played summer anthems such as ‘Holiday’, ‘Bonkers’ and ‘Dance Wiv Me’, warming up the crowd before headliner Rihanna.

Other highlights of the day included US newcomer Lana Del Rey performing on the In Music We Trust stage. The shy singer belted out her recent singles such as ‘Video Games’ and the contraversial ‘Born to Die’. She drew a huge crowd, with people spilling out of the tent just to get a glimpse of the New York native.

The only problem with Hackney Weekend was the amount of amazing artists playing at the same time and picking who to see. It was a difficult choice to decide between dance-DJ David Guetta, rapper Nas or Bajan beauty, Rihanna! Other clashes included Wretch 32, Dizzee Rascal and American rapper B.O.B.

Rihanna Hackney Weekend

Only Girl in the World

Rihanna’s stage design was based around an Egyptian-pyramid, complete with two large Sphinxes adoring either side of the stage. She came out with 2010 hit ‘Only Girl in the World’, which had the crowd singing along from the first lyric. She truly has an immense fanbase. Although her outfit was toned down, even for  Rihanna standards, choosing to wear an oversized t-shirt and black hotpants with fishnet cycling shorts underneath and trainers to perform in.

Although Rihanna may not have the Beyonce of voices, her stage presence and crowd interaction certainly makes up for it. Performing songs from her sixth album ‘Talk That Talk’, Rihanna has clearly grown up since her ‘Music of the Sun’ days. Her lyrics are darker, sexier and certainly do not fit that cookie-cutter-pop-princess image she once had.

Roc-nation Weekend?

Perhaps the biggest suprise of the night was mentor Jay-Z’s appearance during Rihanna’s set, which had the audience going crazy. He stuck around for Run This Town, Talk That Talk and finally Umbrella, which saw hundreds of brollies opening up. Ending with summer hit ‘We Found Love’, Rihanna certainly put on a show. Despite her love of expletives and provocative dance-moves, the Bajan songstress declared her love for Hackney over and over again, a perfect ending to a magical day.

Thank you to BBC Radio 1 for putting on such an amazing event with such an amazing line-up. When is the next one?

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