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Brownstock 2016 reviewed

Defined by a weekend of sun, fun, paint fights and top acts

The sun shone down on 1000’s of revelers arriving at Essex’s Brownstock Festival eager and excited to get their tents pitched, kick back, relax and enjoy a weekend of music and festival shenanigans. 

As the Festival kicked off on the Main Stage, London based band Under the Abstract, who won the Bandapp vote to play at the festival now being called BSTK, played their Indie inspired songs to a growing crowd. 

Ms Dynamite continued the party as the first big name star of the festival belted out her hits. The crowd joined in screaming out “MS DY-NA-MI-TEE!” in her most well known track making sure any latecomers knew exactly who was doing her thing on stage. Mat Format followed with a DJ Set of club classics getting everyone pumped up for the Friday night headliner.

Ms Dynamite
Ms Dynamite

Mark Ronson cut a lonely figure stood behind his Macbook and CD’s and after overcoming a few sound problems delivered a set full of anthems that got the crowd singing along.  As the DJ’s set was drawing to a close he shouted “Lets do this for Amy” over the PA before dropping his and the late Amy Winehouse’s cover of The Zutons' hit Valerie from his Versions album. The crowd once more went wild and sang out every word as the Main Stage performance finished for Day 1. 

Mark Ronson
Mark Ronson

The more hardcore parties continued later into the night as DJ’s Charlie Sloth and DJ Yoda played sets to a packed Good Shed tent and 2 Step Garage Stars DJ Luck & MC Neat wowed the crowd with their 1999 top 10 hit “A Little Bit of Luck”.

As the 7000 strong festival-goers made their way to their makeshift beds for the night, the now standard festival shouts of “Alan” and “Steve” could be heard echoing round the campsites for hours as the sun began to rise for Day 2.

The weary eyed Essex crowds began to drag themselves out of their tents in search of hangover cures to more sunshine on Saturday. In true Essex style the men and women, boys and girls of the festival saw this as an excuse to don their new summer clothes in a way other festivals don’t see. Girls in high heels and boys in whiter than white trainers could be seen all over the site as, unlike other festivals this year, there was no sign of the dreaded mud! People treated themselves in the Spa tent while others queued and paid to use some posh toilets before getting back to the partying.

Kirby T & Friends
Kirby T & Friends

More competition winners, Kirby T & Friends, got the day started on the Main Stage before performances from Luciee Closier, Zak Abel and Imani Williams. Up-and-coming 21 year old Izzy Bizu was next up on the Main stage, fresh from a performance at T in the Park in Scotland the day before, and the crowd helped her sing her new single “White Tiger”. 

Wretch 32 brought some Grime to the festival with hits such as Traktor and 6 Words.  Katy B was On a Mission next up on the Main Stage and delivered a very energised set with her 2 dancers joining her for the whole performance.  The crowd thickened as excitement began to increase for the second headliner of the weekend. Another act fresh from a performance at T in the Park, bounded onto the stage to a massive welcome from the Essex crowd. Tinie Tempah played all of his hits as the amassed 1000’s sang and danced along to every track. As his set reached its climax to an explosion of tickertape and ribbons the crowd began to disperse to the other stages to carry on the party. 

Tinie Tempah
Tinie Tempah

BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac performed to a packed in crowd at the Good Shed before Mike Skinner took over at the decks. The former Streets frontman began and ended his set with a track from his former band and the crowd sang every word to “Fit But You Know It” as Skinner downed his headphones and walked offstage. Another of Radio 1’s DJ’s closed the night in the hot and sweaty Stumble Inn as Mistajam played to a big crowd who showed no signs of tiredness and fatigue as they partied into the early hours.
Rain threatened the site on Sunday morning as campers began to pack up their tents and by lunchtime there had been a slight downfall. The rain failed to dampen the spirits  and the crowds carried on regardless, soon the sun was shining down on Morris Farm once again. 

3 Foot High and The Pylons played to small crowds being the first off on the Main Stage, festival goers ocuppied themselves with the search for more energy and hangover cures. By the time Birmingham-born rapper Lady Leshurr took to the stage, the crowd had regained their form from the previous day and the festival was rocking again.

Tinie Tempah
Tinie Tempah

A moment from Brownstock 2015 returned to the festival just after 4pm as a mass paint fight broke out in front of the main stage. Teenagers and adults joined in throwing powder paint all over each other and the crowd transformed into a sea of multi-colours reminiscent of a 90’s tie-dye rave t-shirt. 

Becky Hill had the crowd singing along to the Rudimental track “Powerless” that she provided vocals for on their debut album “Home”. Fuse ODG further energised the crowd as he delivered a set with more sing along moments from his back catalogue. Pop rockers Scouting for Girls were next up on stage and had the whole crowd dancing and singing to their well know hits such as “She’s So Lovely” and “This Ain’t A Love Song”. Krept & Konan supplied more rap to the masses who showed no signs of wanting the party to stop as they danced their way through the set from the South London duo.

Fuse ODG
Fuse ODG

It was the job of the New York “Milkshake” star Kelis to close the festival on the Main Stage. She didn’t disappoint as she stepped glamorously onto the stage dressed in colours as bright as the setting sun. Again the crowd displayed their vocal skills by singing along to her classic songs “Trick Me” and “Caught Out There”.


The party continued way into the night in the Good Shed as acts such as Big Narstie and Drum and Bass Producer DJ Netsky performed to a packed crowd full of snapbacks and sunburn who were determined to keep partying as long as the music kept playing.

All in all Brownstock hasn't failed to deliver this year. As a festival previously nominated for The Best Small Festival award I would be surprised if it wasn’t nominated again. The 7000 strong sell out crowd was treated to great weather, great music from some great acts all in a beautiful farm setting. All ages are catered for and with a friendly atmosphere it wasn’t unusual to see a whole family walking around the site together. 

It’s a well organised event by a team who clearly know what they are doing, couple that with the fact the festival continues to bring in some of the biggest names of the festival circuit and you have recipe that will continue to work in years to come and help keep the festival as popular as it has been in the previous years.  Long reign Brownstock!

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Ian Lewis
8th July 2016
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Brownstock 2016 reviewed

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