On the RiZE: New Music Festival in England Makes Waves

Cover Photo By: www.lukedyson.photography

This past weekend the first ever RiZE Festival was held at Hylands Park in Chelmsford, England. Replacing the popular V Festival, which drew headliners like Beyonce and Radiohead, the festival had some big shoes to fill, but I think it’s succeeded in making a name all on its own.

The festival was also a first for me, my first festival in England. While I was in a foreign country the event had all the makings of what I expected from a festival abroad, there were girls in glitter, shoulder rides, heartfelt tributes, incredible performances, extremely organized queues, and everyone speaking in a British accent.

Here were the top five highlights from this past weekend:

1. Liam Gallagher Tribute to Aretha Franklin

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Photo from RIZE Facebook Page

Seeing rock legend Liam Gallagher was a treat in and of itself. His charisma and command of the stage ignited the crowd. Those who had camped out all day were treated to an epic performance! His magical tribute to Aretha Franklin made the set all the more memorable. He dedicated ‘Live Forever’, a classic Oasis track, and ‘Soul Love’, from Beady Eye (another Gallagher group), while an image of the deceased soul singer displayed behind him. It was an emotional and heartfelt tribute. Earlier in his set, he stated that Franklin, “had the best voice in the universe”.

2. Shoulders of Steel

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Photo By: www.lukedyson.photography

It seemed like at every single set there was a sea of people riding shoulders. I started to wonder if it was called “RiZE” due to guests constantly being up above the crowd taking in the view from the shoulders of a friend. At one point, three men even attempted to do a double stacked shoulder ride. It lasted about ten seconds before the group came tumbling down. Luckily no one was injured during this acrobatic attempt.

3. New Music From Bastille

Photo by: CCZH Photography

Fans have been long awaiting new music from Bastille whose last album came out in 2016. The band has released three new songs this year, one of their own (Quarter Past Midnight), one with Craig David (I Know You), and another with Marshmello (Happier). At RiZE attendees got to experience these new songs for the first time live. While they have been working on a lot of collaborations, the band hinted during an interview earlier this year with the Independent that their new single is going to be part of their third album.

4. Most Organized Drink Queues

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Photo By: www.lukedyson.photography

One thing I noticed about the English is that they love two things: beer and queuing. With the drinking age at 18, there are a lot more attendees that can legally buy a drink whilst enjoying the music. This could create a logistical nightmare for a festival. Luckily, everyone who attended was a rock star at queuing. Never in my life have I seen such organized and civilized lines for a beer tent before.  

5. Sean Paul Still Has It

Image may contain: 1 person, on stagePhoto by: Bampson

Even at 45 years old, Jamaican dancehall singer Sean Paul has still got the moves. Sunday night he took command of the second stage of the festival. Even though he was slotted against Bastille, the singer still received a large crowd. The tented area was overflowing with people trying to see his performance. He still dropped it low and energized the crowd with classic tunes like “Temperature“. He was also joined on stage by Jamaican rapper Chi Ching Ching.

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