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Festival in Focus


One of the first day festivals of the British Summer Season, Brockwell Park-based Wide Awake boasts a reliably diverse lineup of pop, indie, techno and electronica. On a balmy, sunny Saturday, 2024’s edition was no different.

First up, Dry Cleaning. Unlike fellow bards of British crisis like Idles or Yard Act, shouty machismo is not a card in Dry Cleaning’s deck; rather, lead singer Florence Shaw meditates on the more minor irritants of British life, not limited to raincoat sweat, expensive mushrooms and runaway tortoises. If that description risks making them sound a touch twee and middle class, rippers like ‘Magic of Meghan’ and ‘Scratchcard Lanyard’ proved the band are no strangers to a mosh pit.

Sound troubles and an abortive attempt at crowdsurfing notwithstanding, New York innovator Eartheater gave a masterclass in main-character charisma. Frocked in a white miniskirt halfway between cheerleader uniform and straitjacket, she gracefully flitted through her clubbier early material, before strapping on an acoustic guitar and delivering her more peaceful recent material.

Elsewhere, cult favourites HTRK bewitched with cavernous forays into dub and industrial, Alice Glass that she won’t be known as “the Crystal Castles singer” with a riotous set of goth-pop anthems. The Dare brought sweat and sleaze to the Moth Club tent and at the Desert Daze stage, members from Bodega, Sorry and Model/Actriz performed excellently choreographed Talking Heads covers for Byrne’s Night. Best of all was queer popstar Lynks, who gave an athletic performance of his squelching, comedy-infused bangers flanked by three backup dancers and a confetti cannon. Explosive, futuristic and tongue-in-cheek, it was a perfect demonstration of what this young festival has to offer.
- Matteo Pini
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