The BBC Hackney Weekender was the first of the 2012 celebrations that will be taking place around the UK. It was also the biggest and featured one of the most impressive line-ups ever assembled for a music festival in the UK.
With a nice mix of genres there was something for all. Kasabian, Leona Lewis, Ed Sheeran, Sean Paul, Rizzle Kicks and, of course, Jay-Z were just some of the acts performing and making The BBC Hackney Weekender one of the most varied and exciting festivals this year.
Of the two days the event ran for, The Mixup team had access for Saturday.
The line up consisted of the some of the biggest names in pop music today plus some welcome surprises.
All of the surprise guests brought on stage added to the event.
This included Tyler James (of The Voice UK fame) performing on stage alongside The Voice mentor, Will.i.am. Not content with just one guest, Will also performed on stage Dutch star Eva Simons. They performed his new track ‘This is Love’ with both guest appearing either side of an entertaining freestyle about his jacket sleeve getting stuck in a way only Will.i.am can.
We also had Leona Lewis bring to stage fellow East Londoner and chart topper Wretch 32.
One of the biggest surprises was rock band Lostprophets bringing Labrinth on stage to perform a crazy rock rendition of Labrinth’s Earthquake. While walking past the ‘In New Music’ tent I heard the Lostprophets hit ‘Last Train Home’. This prompted me to run into the tent to rock out to the remainder of the track. By this time I had made my way to the moshing area, moshed out for a minute or so, then the track came to a close.
With the crowd now facing the stage waiting for the next track Labrinth appears alongside the Lost prophets on stage says a few words and from there an excellent rock version of Earthquake was performed. Needless to say to received rapturous applause and even crazier moshing.
The Chris Moyles and Tim Westwood DJ battle was also one of the highlights of the evening. Both DJing back to back and Moyles even showing off some scratching skills that Westwood himself would have been proud. While there was no clear winner for me it surely did allow for a showcase of some of the most popular chart and hip hop tracks around particularly from artists not present and performing.
US R&B Trey Songz was a particular artist I was keen to see. After coming on stage a little late he really brought a show worth waiting for.
This was clearly a show for the ladies in attendance and many of them were singing every song word for word. Many others were screaming and on the verge of crying. After performing many of his most popular tracks he finished off with his latest single heart Attack. A well received show and one of the best of the festival.
Sean Paul, Ed Sheeran, Rizzle kicks, Example, Flo Rider, Chip, Tinchy Stryder and Boy Better Know all had really good sets and that had their respective fans making plenty of noise in appreciation.
It was Jay-Z that almost everyone was most excited to see. Headlining the event, Jay-Z was last to perform on the main stage. But boy was it worth the wait.
Jay-Z opened by walking on with Rihanna to perform Run This Town. Jay then went on to perform hit after hit from his extensive back catalogue. This included 99 Problems, Girls, Girls, Girls, H to the Izzo and Swagger like us which samples M.I.A’s Paper Planes. At this point Jay-s Stopped half way through to introduce M.I.A onto the stage for his second surprise guest (yes, I had forgotten that M.I.A is signed to Jay’s label Roc Nation).
M.I.A performed a couple of tracks before embracing Jay–Z in a hug and leaving for Jay to continue his show.
The show came to its “first end” as Jay-Z walked off stage. The cheers of Jay-Z rang through the air and an American flag appeared on stage. It was this point that people started whispering. Everyone knew what the flag meant, everyone knew that it was from the Otis video. But this is a song performed with Kanye West. Jay-Z had already brought out Rihanna, he had already brought out M.I.A. Was he really going to make it three amazing guests and bring Kanye West to the stage?
Jay-Z returned to the stage – the crowd went wild.
Then everyone’s wishes and hopes came true as a second figure appeared on stage.
There was a brief second of realisation, then came the loudest screams and cheers of the night as Kanye West joined Jay- Z on stage to perform a segment of their critically acclaimed Watch the Throne tour.
Those who had been to the pairs sold out tour knew what was coming by the end. It had been the talk of many music blogs and sites online, and in print for weeks. It was the envy of every person that has a friend that went when they didn’t.
The track ‘Niggas in Paris’ and how many times it would get a reload.
Indeed, it had been said that the Paris leg of the tour got 12, which is only fitting.
BBC Hackney Weekenders were treated to three. But three is still enough to have you wanting more and leaving with that everlasting image of Jay-Z shouting AGAINNNNNN and the infectious Niggas in Paris beat starting.
With the crowd bouncing, Beyonce moshing, everyone no matter what genre of music is your preference could not deny the awesomeness of these two musical titans on stage.
And with that the night ended…
All images used from the BBC