Review by Hayley Clark with Photography by Bimal Tailor

Since 2013 BST Hyde Park has been see some of the greatest performers of our time have graced the Great Oak Stage, having first attended BST in 2014 the format is a little bit different, however the family fun is no less and keeps the masses entertained in this value for money festival.

Targeting music lovers far and wide with choice of headliners today was the day for the cool kids to play and put their pinkies in the sky as Bruno Mars headlined in the 30 degree sunshine of the landmark London park. Revellers had the choice of various stages offering entertainment all day.

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Starting at the Great Oak, a crowd had already formed on the general admission barrier behind the prestigious ‘Golden Circle’ area that hadn’t quite filled up for America’s former Gap Band frontman Charlie Wilson. They went wild as he appeared with his rainbow dressed dancers parading across the stage. Uncle Charlie got the party started with his soulful blend of R&B and Funk, as the young audience sang along to treats of ‘Burn Rubber On Me’, ‘Good Times’ and Justin Timberlake’s ‘Beautiful’. Dressed in gold jacket and with pristine hair he rocked around the stage before revealing a vest as the stage heat became too much. “How ya’ll doing London? My name is Charlie Wilson… I’ve been clean for 30 years now”, gaining claps and whoops from the crowd at this achievement. Charlie’s set filled the audience with joy with recognisable Timberlake esq “ooh wees” the influence he has on music is a great one resulting in a crowd singalong with ‘Outstanding’ before a mass applause ending the set.

The Barclaycard stage was all going “off” as the kids would say, the crowd jumping and skanking to the beats of Sofi Tukker. The electronica duo’s quirky lyrics and hard dance vibes were welcomed by the Saturday raving crew, pints above their heads and throwing shapes in the field.

Echoes of the music from the main stage rang through the field as the younger members of the audience went wild for DNCE, from the Barclaycard stage at the back you could hear more singalong fun with ‘Cake By The Ocean’.

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Various aroma’s filled the air as the many food offerings started to get busy, delicious cuisines from around the world with options for vegetarian and gluten free a plenty the festival truely catered for everyone.

A crowd started to form at the carnival stage with sounds of laughter and cheering, distinctive Cuban accents boomed over the microphone as the must see act of festivals appeared bouncing around the stage. I really don’t know how I’d missed the Cuban Brothers previously at these festivals, having seen them for the first time in May, their brand of slapstick comedy and latino beats had the crowd moving from the off. Promoting new single ‘I Hate Hate’ Archenio and Kenny somersaulted around the crowd, lycra clad and floral suited treating the audience to an old school mix of funky beats. Ever the performers Kenny still carried on even though he split his trousers too as the crowd laughed along.

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20 year old Khalid was next up to wow the Great Oak stage, having exploded into the charts last year with his debut album American Teen and chart topping ‘Young,Dumb and Broke’ the crowd were mesmerised by the American’s voice as he entertained them with tracks ‘Location’, ‘Saved’ and a cover of Marshmello’s ‘Silence’. From the moment he came on stage to perform ‘Love Lies’ the crowd swooned for his polished performance, before grabbing the end of up and coming grime starlet Yungen’s energetic party on the opposite stage.

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As far as the Barclaycard Stage went, this year was no different to last year in the fact of bringing “wow” acts to the UK who deserved to be on the main Great Oak stage. A large crowd formed waiting eagerly for the appearance of Louisiana’s Troy Andrews and oh my god… he and his Orleans Avenue band did not dissapoint!

As the band graced the stage to cheers and claps, Trombone Shorty picked up his trombone and brought down the stage with summer sounds and smooth jazz on the hot summer’s evening. As bassist Michael flicked his wrist as he strummed to the dirty beats coming from Joey’s drum the band were slick, they had the crowd clapping and screaming along. Shorty’s distinctive sounds and melodies left the crowd in awe performing tracks from the Parking Lot Symphony album he brought the funk to London. Nothing short of a performance that should of been on the main stage the band brought the fun, ‘Here Come The Girls’ and ‘Give It Away’ had the crowd amazed whilst BK Jackson left them open mouthed with not only his sultry sax sounds but some mind boggling dance moves. The cheeky Carolina musician gave Trombone Shorty a run for his money as he glided, flossed and fortnighted across the stage, before tearing up the stage with his musical talent. The band camp sounds of ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’ left the audience eager for more, captivated by the talent of Trombone Shorty as he won London over with his incredible talent.

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Fireworks exploded on the Great Oak as the stage lights flickered with graphics on the screens, as an 80’s vibe hit the park, it was time to for Saturday’s headliner to appear. Dressed in a Pirate’s team strip and baseball cap Bruno exploded onto the stage to ‘Finesse’, bright colour graphics hit the screens flanked by muscular backing dancers in team strips.

“How you doing London?” queried the chart topper as the crowd screamed, kids sat high above their parents shoulders and both adults and teens alike boogied to the music. From ’24k Magic’ to (taking it back old school) ‘Treasure’ fireworks fluttered into the sky with a nonstop hits medley. Energetic dance routines and slick tracks showed why Bruno sold out with weeks to go as one of the world’s best performers.

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‘Chunky’ sounded soulful as the teen idol slowed things down with ‘Versace On The Floor’, lighters flickered in the crowd resulted in a harmony of ‘Marry You’ filling the park. Having been a year since performing in the UK on his arena tour he didn’t disappoint, throwing in ‘Runaway’ and ‘When I was Your Man’ before ending on a high with ‘Just The Way You Are’. As Bruno and his boys exited the stage there was one thing missing from the 15 song set, as the crowd screamed for one more, it was time for him to funk up the main stage and give his baying audience what they wanted. The recognisable beat and guitair plucks filled Hyde Park as the singer songwriter returned to hit the spot on the Saturday night. With not a stationary person in the house you can safely say he brought the ‘Uptown Funk’.

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See the complete photoset from tonight’s gig here.

Footnote:

About Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park

Set in London’s beautiful Royal Park, the event kicked off in 2013 with The Rolling Stones reliving their legendary 1969 gig and has not let up since, featuring now famous shows from Carole King, Stevie Wonder, The Libertines, Blur, Florence + The Machine, Kendrick Lamar, Black Sabbath, Taylor Swift, The Who and so many more.

Every year, each headliner is joined by a full supporting line-up across multiple stages, from major superstars to handpicked developing acts performing for fans from across the UK and the world.

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