For this year’s outing of Citadel, the festival waved a fond farewell to its former East London haunt Victoria Park and instead headed west, for a fresh new start at Gunnersbury Park, Acton.
While the move no doubt was much to the chagrin to the East London revelers who now had to travel those extra miles to get their post Lovebox Sunday festival fix; we were secretly delighted as the new location was now in close proximity to our hood.
As we sashayed the few minutes walk through the gates shortly after the festival opened, we quickly surveyed the new site. Given the monumental success of the Pineapples we “Pimped” at last year’s excursion, we were intrigued to see what food products the gang at Christabel’s might be bejazzling this time round. However we soon become lost en route to the Arts & Craft tent and instead found ourselves in the so-called Neon Safari.
There, we were instantly lured by an assortment of hula-hoops littering the ground. Seemingly governed by a circus crew, they were on hand to attempt to educate us in not only in whirling a hoop around our waists, but also a plate around a stick. Both were catastrophically unsuccessful. Undeterred however, we marched on.
It wasn’t long before we were confronted by a vision of even more hula-hoops, this time wondrously in full swing. Led by Charlene The Hoola Queen over at The Spandex Stage, it was like our earlier hula hooping gang had multiplied into some sort of over unenthusiastic hula hooping army. We were instantly transfixed.
While our attempts to master the hula-hoop (this time with complete with jazzy hand moves) were once again feeble, we did have a rather excellent time trying.
Following the hula party, we proceeded to roam the site further, where we sampled the delightful beats of Vilma Rae at Corona Sunsets, got gif-a-fied over at Kopperberg Outsider and chowed on some cheese over at Mooney’s Halloumi.
A pit stop back in the Neon Safari saw us dip into Guerilla Science’s Attraction Lab and dabble in some sensory experiments involving food and eye masks to explore what makes each other tick (Answer – tomatoes do not).
We then realised Christabel’s workshop was about to commence, so made a swift exit. This year, the humble coconut was the tropical drupe du jour. While we naturally got stuck in and were promptly covered in paint and glitter ten minutes later; we did feel these coconuts lacked the glamorous grandeur of the pineapples from the year before. Unlike said pineapples, we didn’t feel the need to carry on with on with the coconuts, instead leaving them to casually dry in the sun (and accidentally on purpose didn’t remember to pick them up again.)
We trundled on only to be straight away allured by the melodic sounds wafting from a nearby tent. It was Dermot Kennedy, our favorite discovery of the day, who played an irresistible set over on the Communion Stage.
We then ducked over to main stage to check out the uber cool French beats of La Femme (our second favourite musical discovery of the day). That’s what so great about Citadel – an excellent curated lineup of music that will have you no doubt adding many of its artists to your Spotify playlist post-festival.
At this point in the day, the beating sun was lying low in the sky and exhausted from all the coconut customisation and non stop hula hooping, we retreated to the shade and promptly inhaled a tasty Buddha Bowl from one of the many delicious food vendors on site.
Replenished, we then ventured back to the main stage to watch an energetic electro set by great Scots, Chrvches. Soon enough however, the need to craft became all too great again and we made a beeline back to the Arts & Crafts tent, just in time to get creative with some wash bags with the London Craft Club.
Once our craving for crafting had been satisfied, we mooched back to the main stage just in time to catch the headline set from the incredible Tame Impala. As the sky streaked pinks and reds, before dimming to a deep blue, it provided a beautiful backdrop to this inimitable act.
In all, it was glorious day at Citadel. All we would say is next year bring back the pineapples. We’ll meanwhile get practicing with the hula-hoop.
Words by Aideen Shannon