To say that there was a few hiccups at Forbbiden Fruit on Saturday would be an understatement. Tickets sold out that morning, and the extra numbers of tickets released only went to fill the large venue almost beyond capacity. Queues were ridiculously long, whether you wanted a drink, to use the a.t.m or the toilet. You might expect this at the average festival, but when you compare it with how smoothly things went on Friday, the flaws became more apparent.
Skepta, one of the day’s most anticipated acts, drew a massive crowd at the main stage. One that was as big for Dizzee’s Rascal’s closing set the previous evening. It’s hard to judge whether this was a sign of Skepta’s dominance in the U.K grime scene at the moment, or if it was simply down to massive ticket sales for the day. He doesn’t start off with as big a bang as we thought, but quickly eases into the proceedings with hits like ‘That’s Not Me’, that get the crowd moving and singing instantly. Many hip hop artists can get lost in the mix of their production and vocals, but Skepta maintains control of every facet of the show for the whole set, only breaking briefly to smile and take in the appreciation from the crowd.
It’s worth noting, 3 tracks into Skepta, a group of lads behind me began chanting ‘Free Freddie Gibbs’. As soon as I heard that, I cringed in fear of what had happened. After the lads were dutiful enough to inform me of everything they knew about the situation, I realised that for the rap fans in attendance, Skepta was as good as it would get for the night.
What I know now is that Gibbs had been arrested in Paris for ‘alleged rape’ while trying to leave the country, and he is currently waiting to be extradited to Austria. I won’t comment too much on that particular situation, but I feel that a lot of us think we know Gibbs’ character enough to assume and definitely hope, that these allegations aren’t true.
It was an unavoidable situation for the promoters. However, replacing Freddie Gibbs with Bondax seemed like a huge mismatch for any fans looking to end their night with something of a similar vein. I know that there is only so much that could be done on short notice, but there are definitely countless amounts of local rappers and DJs who could have maybe filled the gap.
Still reeling from Skepta and sorely disappointed by Freddie Gibbs, I was left at a loss for the rest of the day. Tame Impala put on a fantastically immersive show, but that’s not what I had paid for. I might sound bitter to some people , but realise that if it wasn’t for those 3 lads in the crowd during Skepta, I would’ve showed up at the Lighthouse Stage looking for a Freddie Gibbs show. I was given no notice about it and wasn’t informed in any way of the cancellation. Once again, it was unavoidable for the organisers, but a hell of a lot more could have been done to rectify the situation.