Thumping bass becomes more audible with every trickle of mud underfoot...

In the midst of a typically grey Autumnal day in North London, a pocket of the Seven Sisters Road bustles with the distant booms of the sounds which illuminate Finsbury Park for the day. Wellies and bum-bags a-plenty trudge towards the thumping bass muffles which become more audible with every trickle of mud underfoot.

For the third consecutive year, South London’s drum 'n' bass heavyweights Hospital Records are in town, with their Hospitality event brand growing in stature with every passing second.

Enjoying over 20 years in the game, the imprint’s eclectic line-up speaks volumes for the army of revellers willing to brave the stormy weather in favour of the electric atmosphere and thunderous sets being served up by the finest in drum 'n' bass, jungle, and - in the case of Children of Zeus - even a skittering of soulful R&B.

Set across seven dynamic stages, Hospitality in the Park 2018 plays host to almost 100 acts, and with long-term festival friend ‘Stage Clash’ rearing a face, the logistics of a full centurion of reviews seem unlikely.

Though with a wealth of the genre’s finest talent raining down on the N4 faithful, perhaps the most welcome arena was provided by the sauna-like structure of the Med School stage, an internal cauldron which played host to a cacophony of noise from rabid ravers in attendance at the Lenzman feat Children of Zeus set in mid-afternoon.

The latter, fresh from the release of 2018 album ‘Travel Light’, were also flying solo in the greenhouse-style ‘Outlook stage’, raindrops hammering on the translucent roof as the gathered audience were warmed to the cockles by the rich soulful sounds of Konny Kon, and Tyler Daley - with an acapella sing-song of ‘Still Standing’ from debut EP ‘The Story So Far…’ proving a particular crowd-pleaser.

With Breakage delivering a nostalgic ‘classics set’, featuring in the ‘We Love Jungle’ arena - a wig-wam of rapturous tones - the British producer spun a range of his most divine creations - fleshed out with added bassline and increased tempo to send the sea of jumping bodies into a vivacious frenzy.

Providing a fitting teaser to the evening’s finale in the gigantic blue tent of the main-stage - clad with the giant white letters of HOSPITALITY outside (a perfect Instagram opportunity) the uplifting sounds of High Contrast were in full flow, with FX pedals and synths-galore spinning around the mud-splattered walls of the circus-style structure before timeless maestro Danny Byrd delivered a masterclass to bring the curtain down on the event and the sweat-soaked thousands in attendance.

Famed for his classic productions like 2011 album ‘Rave Digger’, fans were blessed with a high-tempo fusion of the Bath-born producer’s biggest hits, and fresh selections-a-plenty, courtesy of his brand-new 15-track ‘Atomic Funk’ production, as Hospitality delivered in the most drum & bass way possible: A mucky field filled with dirty beats and wavey, ravey, fans. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Words: Jake Gable

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