Bushstock was blessed with perfect sunny weather for this year’s event – as if anyone attending needed any additional reasons to be cheerful given the standard of the line-up of new and emerging artists at the 8th edition of the festival. Set against the backdrop of seven wonderfully different West London venues, it all added up to one of the most enjoyable and unique festivals on the calendar.
It was high quality right from the off, with London singer The Beach and Australian singer-songwriter Angie McMahon opening up at The Courtyard and The Library respectively, before Swedish rising star Nadia Nair was the first to mesmerise audiences at St Stephen’s Church.
Down at K West, Stereo Honey brought in a big crowd. Lead singer Pete Restrick admitted last year was the first time he had attended Bushstock and so he was excited to be performing this year.
The day had plenty of highlights peppered throughout the schedule. Lily Moore‘s set at the Library attracted a long queue, with people listening from outside through the windows. Similarly, Freya Ridings attracted a large crowd, with the church pews at St Stephen’s full to capacity. It was easy to see why she has been gaining such attention over the past year or so – and why she’ll be performing a headline show just down the road later this year at the somewhat larger venue that is the o2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
Sea Girls packed out the Defectors Weld for a lively, raucous set. Lead singer Henry Camamile danced in the crowd and climbed up on the bar in a venue packed out with many of the band’s rapidly growing fan base.
Aquilo had a tough start to their performance, thanking the crowd for their patience while they sorted out some technical difficulties. Eventually they got started though, opening with I Could Fight a Wall to a crowd that was sure it had been well worth the wait for the chance to see the Lancashire duo who are set for big things.
Sam Fender – another artist on the bill whose profile is rapidly on the rise – performed latest song Leave Fast, among others, to an audience that included a fair number of other performers from the festival line-up, as well as one or two who weren’t performing this year – including The Amazons‘ Matt Thomson and Natti Shiner of Fickle Friends.
Last but not least at the Sindecombe, Cassia brought the curtain down on things in crowd-pleasing style, just as they had done at Dot To Dot in Bristol last month. Theirs is a winning formula of cracking tunes delivered with real verve on the live stage, so it’s no surprise they’ve already been a big favourite on the festival circuit so far this year.
Once again though, Bushstock proved itself to be one of the most enjoyable small/takeover festivals around. It’s big enough to feature a good range of high calibre artists, yet small enough to feel manageable, delivering wonderfully intimate shows and making it one of the best places to discover your new favourites.
Photos by Linda Brindley