As the inaugral Baltic Weekender took over a packed Baltic Triangle, Getintothis’ Lorna Dougherty and Lorna Gray were there to soak up the constant energy.
In a recent interview with Mistajam, the Britpop legend Liam Gallagher spoke about his love for Skepta and the rise of grime as well as the importance of it in the UK. That this unstoppable genre, like Britpop twenty years ago, is the sound from the streets that the country yearns for in such a time of political and social uncertainty.
With Jeremy Corbyn having been endorsed by the Boy Better Know crew – so much so that his name was added to the emcee collectives’ Wikipedia page for a brief period – and with the likes of JME interviewing the Labour leader, grime seems to be the genre offering unity and gaining momentum at an alarming rate in the process.
Frequent politicised lyrics accompanied with catchy beats has won the hearts of our nation and of course, the people of Liverpool have embraced it with open arms also. We’re a city full of culture after all, it only made sense that the coolest and quirkiest of venues held host to some huge acts across a number of styles, ranging from some of the hottest emcees on the grime scene to some of the most interesting DJs constantly spinning tracks that keep their audiences dancing. Abandon Silence and 24 Kitchen Street collaborated and delivered the first incarnation of Baltic Weekender.
With the tragic events of Manchester still in the forefront of everyone’s mind, you might expect any event similar to this to be affect you in some way. However, in spite of this, the only word that seems fitting to describe the weekend is ‘boss’. One would expect the usual scouse “ket wig” crowd and, while there are the odd few, this seemed to be a crowd connected from far and wide, fitting for the genres that would captivate their audiences until the early hours.
At DJ events, there seems to be an ever-growing trend of disco clothing; sequins, sequins everywhere. However, the star outfit of the night goes to the girl in the Corbyn T-shirt, only highlighting the crossover between politics and grime. Happy clothing brings happy people it seems, and the overall atmosphere was incredbibly upbeat.
Constellations garden was the place to be Saturday day through to the evening as people were up on tables busting moves to the beats with beers in hand. Crazy P‘s set stood out, combining funk and soul with a tech beat providing for excellent two-stepping in the sunshine. The DJ’s set was lapped up by the crowd.
The Constellations garden proved the more popular of the venues. So much so that a strict one-in, one-out policy was introduced pretty early into proceedings. Disappointing to some, but the day was sold out, and there was so much more on offer. New Bird Street Warehouse allowed the party to continue into the early hours, with incredible emcees such as Stefflon Don and Ghetts spitting fire bars that had everyone moving.
Stefflon Don bringing a group of female fans on stage to rap along with her was a special thing to witness, and the intimacy of her set as she sang along to her banger 16 Shots after dedicating it to her mum was another standout moment of the festival.
Rude Kid dropping his dirty beats and Ghetts offering his lyrics for a live collaboration as the two artists treated the crowd to tracks from their joint EP 653, was met with mosh pits and jumps from the front to the back of the crowd. As was their most recent collaboration Banger After Banger,
With resident DJs between sets offering grime favourites such as Kano, JME, Skepta and Stormzy kept the crowd hyped and hot – both in attitude and actual temperature. Sweat was visibly dripping from every attendee and there wasn’t a split second of rest as the constant and consistent energy surged throughout the entire day, A solid marker perhaps that the first ever Baltic Weekender was a great success.
The after party on the Sunday saw less people, probably all too hungover to dance a third day, but Hunee’s transient set allowed those who soldiered on to forget all about their tiredness and disconnect with anything but the music.
All in all the Baltic Weekender was a huge success both in the quality of the acts booked and the crowds attending, We’re thoroughly looking forward to next year.