Love Supreme 2018 – Sun, décolletage and plenty of music!

Written by | Festivals, News

This year the Love Supreme Festival was a rather different one on so many levels.

First of all, the stunning weather played a part into the success of this Festival which started in 2013 and is growing every year.

Love Supreme 2018 Outside audience © Carl_Hyde

Attending the Festival only on the Saturday this year due to other pre-scheduled work commitments, it meant that we (myself and Carl Hyde, my trusted photographer), had to study all the stage times for the day and attend as many of the gigs as possible. Yes, literally.

I was keen to watch many acts, of course, but the first insurmountable problem was clearly that physically this would have been impossible, so what follows is my compendium of a music festival that has succeeded in joining all the dots: music range (no, it’s not just jazz) and age across the spectrum.

Amongst the 7 different stages, the Arena and the Big Top were my favourites.

Leo Richardson Quartet opened the day on the Arena stage, dressed casually and bearing up with very hot temperatures under the tent, Leo and his band demonstrated once again how formidable they are. Tracks from “The Chase” as well as new compositions were performed with strong rhythms and perfect style. I can never tire of Leo Richardson, the guy is so full of energy, he makes all his shows new and fresh!

Leo Richardson Quartet © Carl Hyde

At the Big Top tent in the meantime, we rushed to be able to catch the mighty Orphy Robinson (MBE) and his All Stars. When I watched Orphy’s gig at Ronnie Scott’s a few months ago, it was unbelievable, an array of talent and force, it had to be seen, so when I read he was performing at Love Supreme, I made sure I was going to be there. As the Big Top tent filled up with people wanting to see this fantastic group, I realized how lucky I was to be able to watch the show again but in a totally different environment. Orphy and the All Stars excelled again: theirs is a special force, one of tenacity and passion. The show was mesmerising.

Popping over to other venues, like the Main Stage where the line-up included bands like Level 42, the atmosphere was one of “classic mix of audience” but I have to confess I was impressed by Level 42 and their energy. I heard someone say later that night how funny it was that they “played the same song 10 times”…the reality was that as one of the main names on that particular stage, they enticed the audience and made it go their way. Positive criticism has to prevail when writing about music otherwise what’s the point.

Mark King of Level 42 plays at Love Supreme 2018 © Carl Hyde

Moving out of the Big Top tent for a while, the temperatures soaring in there so much so that staff decided (finally) to lift the sides up to get the air circulating, we drifted a bit towards the Bandstand. A small but perfectly formed stand hosting a variety of acts, one of them called Where Pathways Meet struck me as innovative, charged up to the full. With two of the musicians from the South-East London band Ezra Collective, namely James and Mark Mollison, Where Pathways Meet was strikingly successful and refreshing to listen to. I loved Rosaline Turton’s playing on trombone.

Back at the Big Top, after the amazing Christ Dave & The Drumhedz, we waited patiently for Tony Allen, a drummer I have had a lot of respect and admiration for a long time now. His show shone and reverberated under the hot tent, a mixture of pure symphonic tempo with a classic style.

After the sun had gone, walking out and about for a short while, adults, young children and would-be models strutting their stuff within the Love Supreme land, we returned to the Big Top for the show of a lifetime: Mr. Pharoah Sanders closing the day and what a closing that was!

Mr. Pharoah Sanders at Love Supreme 2018 © Carl Hyde

A massive crowd had managed to squeeze in the tent even before the saxophonist and his band had started, but lo and behold, whilst the rest of the band were sound-checking, he walked on stage with his slow and nonchalant stride, slowly testing his instrument, singing and shouting out to the crowd, basically a mini-gig before the main gig. What a treasure and what a pleasure to be there! Unforgettable!

So many gigs and artists, too little time. Love Supreme 2018 was a great mixture of music and artistry. The superb quality of performances definitely something to be noted, When asked about when to attend or indeed if to attend all three days or not, I always say that a Festival like the Love Supreme one has to be tried in full at least once!

Words: Erminia Yardley
Photos: © Carl Hyde

Last modified: August 9, 2018