Together the People festival returned to Brighton’s Preston Park on 3rd and 4th September for its second year.
The Saturday began with some high pitched children’s entertainment on the main stage, which we consciously avoided. Instead, we made our way to the Bimm Stage, where local band Seats performed a rousing set consisting of soaring fuzzy guitars and melodies, paired with some shouty lyrics.
Music on the main stage began with Natty and his crowd pleasing reggae. His infectious smile and catchy rhythms played well to the picnicking masses. Following this Matthew Login Vasquez peddled his brand of alt county songwriting in the new bands tent, making those in attendance wish they could get away with double denim and a harmonica neck holder in day to day life.
Gas Coombes gathered a good sized crowd back on the main stage, dressed all in black, he rattled through his older and more recent hits, culminating in a personal favourite ‘Caught by the Fuzz’. On the New Bands Stage the keyboard playing Max Jury bewitched the crowd with his captivating voice, tales of heartbreak and incredibly unusual facial expressions.
Our trip to the Bimm Stage Tent coincided with the heavens opening, lucky to escape the rain, but even luckier to catch Atlas Wynd. A two piece from the North East that combined to rival the sound of the other bands at TTP put together. Forging a path somewhere between the vocal processing of Tame Impala, the melodic garage sound of the Vines, and the songwriting of Alex Turner, they got the full to bursting tent jumping.
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats set on the main stage was condensed to just a soggy 30 minutes due to technical problems, but this didn’t stop them putting on an inspiring display of bluesy rock and roll that shook the crowd loose of any worries about the weather. They could have continued but alas, the schedule had to roll on.
Confusingly for a new bands stage, veterans Turin Breaks headlined, pleasing the crowd with rockier versions of many of their classic songs. The end of their set was slightly disrupted by the exodus over to the main stage to witness Brian Wilson bring the Saturday to a close. Accompanied by Al Jardine (another original Beach Boys member,) a full 10+ piece band at times carried the show due to Brian Wilson’s somewhat sedentary performance. However this was not an issue to the assembled crowd, as they played the majestic Pet Sounds album in its entirety, bookended by a greatest hits of beach boys classics.
Sunday benefitted from a break in the weather, with smaller crowds growing throughout the day. M Ward took to the main stage mid afternoon, with an up-beat performance that strayed away from his folksy roots, befitting the open air setting and growing crowds as the festival grounds began to fill. Jumping over to the New Bands Stage, Seratones impressed with a lively half-hour set, with their lead singer AJ Haynes a fire cracker filling the tent with a buzzing energy and impressive vocals accompanying lively instrumentals. Back to the Main Stage, and Songhoy Blues brought the sounds of Mali to Brighton with their soulful, rich and vibrant sound which brought the crowd to their feet.
Peter Hook and The Light followed with a set that mixed the hits of Joy Division and New Order, drawing the crowds from across the festival site. Upping the tempo with back to back hits that united the audience and swelled across the park, their hour long set culminated with a storming performance of Love Will Tear Us Apart.
Taking the opportunity to rest our weary legs between sets, we caught record label Bella Union’s half hour showreel of music videos at The Incredible Moving Picturehouse, a travelling cinema showcasing a variety of short films throughout the festival. Rejuvenated and refuelled by local food vendors, we were back at the Main Stage to catch The Horrors, whose cool and collected set didn’t fail to entertain the assembled audience.
Closing the main stage in Sunday, Suede came out as the sun went down, filling the park with a steam of hits that brought the weekend to a close in grand style.
The festival is still in its early days, and as its reputation grows, so will its success. For now it remains an accessible event which appeals to the Brighton demographic, with attendees of all ages. There was an abundance of young families and plenty to keep the kids entertained, with live entertainment, face painting, fairground rides and a huge tent producing endless streams of bubbles which filled the park at all times. The programme worked well with sets on the main stage and New Bands Stage staggered, and only a few minutes walk apart, so it was easy to jump between. Hopefully Together The People will return for a third year next year, building from this years success and growing to include more stalls and a greater variety of food and drink vendors, but for now it has marked its place in Brighton’s exciting and ever evolving music scene.
Words and pictures: Mary Liggins