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18.08.2022, Words by Billy Ward, Photos by Sam Willicome

Four Tet All-Dayer: The DJ's London homecoming was one for the history books

The Finsbury Park party matched the heatwave with a scorching selection of dance music's finest

Strolling around the leafy Finsbury Park grounds on Saturday, you’d be forgiven for thinking one of the country’s biggest music festivals had landed in North London for the weekend. But out of the thousands of party-goers descending on the park for what was to be yet another blistering day in the UK summer calendar, the vast majority of ticket holders were there for one person.

Best known by his stage name Four Tet, Kieran Hebden has become one of the definitive indie electronic artists of this generation – and for good reason. Originally growing to prominence as a member of the post-rock band Fridge before embarking on his own solo career in the adjacent world of left-field dance music, the Putney-native has gone on to work with some of the biggest artists in the world and has amassed a mouthwatering discography in the process. If anyone could pull off whatever this sunny afternoon was shaping up to be, it was him.

The Four Tet All-Dayer promised revellers a mammoth 5-hour set from the Grammy-nominated producer and selector (his only extended performance of 2022), as well as live sets from some of dance music’s most exciting acts across two stages. It was the latest occasion helmed by Krankbrother, the family-run music curation platform synonymous with throwing some of London’s most unique parties – transforming forgotten buildings and inconspicuous public places into one-off, state-of-the-art raving destinations.

Set within the picturesque tree-lined carriageway of Finsbury Park’s one-hundred-and-fifteen-acre grounds, the main stage takes the form of a huge exposed wood structure that aligns with the field’s natural surroundings. Despite many of London’s parks resembling something comparable to the Sahara desert in recent weeks, the grass and surrounding trees within the event walls remains surprisingly green (for the first few hours of action at least) and provides the ideal backdrop for enigmatic duo Two Shell to kick-start the party.

The London double-act have become one of the most talked about electronic acts this year for two reasons: their innovative dance-floor conquering anthems and the aura of mystery that cloaks them (their only interview with press so far “self-destructed” within 12 hours of being published, they have a password protected website and they’re rumoured to send stunt-doubles to stand in for them during performances. MF DOOM-style).

It’s hardly surprising their performance on the day was anything but conventional, playing to the lively crowd behind a literal veil while dressed in outfits that looked like the years 2005 and 2055 rolled into one. After their experimental set came to a close, fellow London DJ Josey Rebelle took to the stage with a genre-bending mix of jungle, drum ‘n’ bass and everything in-between, proving exactly why she’s been heralded as a hero of the UK dance scene.

Across the park, the Dialled In Stage showcased some of the very best South Asian talent. Since their three-month-long festival in Walthamstow last Autumn, Dialled In has aimed to create a new experience for young South Asians’ first step into the music industry by giving up-and-coming talent a platform to flourish.

Flying high off of the backing he’s already received from Four Tet, sampling wonderkind and purveyor of rough and ready club tracks Anish Kumar lit up the arena with his hard-hitting and euphoric sample-heavy dance music. Disco duo Dar Disku sprinkled their set with sounds from the Middle East, tapping into new-beat, psychedelia and hip hop for one the day’s most feel-good performances. 

By the time the afternoon struck 5 o’clock, the crowd in front of the main stage had grown significantly as streams of Four Tet fans filtered towards the turn-tables where Hebden was finalising preparations before his dance feast could begin. Sporting flip flops (soon to be discarded in favour of barefoot), baggy shorts and a t-shirt, the seismic producer and DJ soaked in the events below him as the first drop of the evening sent everyone into a frenzy.

Peppering the 5-hour summer soundtrack with his own remixes, Kieran splices elements of techno, acid, jazz, breaks and reggae expertly to emit the joyous infectiousness his live sets have become known for. Despite being such a lengthy show compared to the rest of his performances in 2022, by the end of his final song the crowd were left demanding even more. Overall, the all-day event was a huge success, filled with good vibes and even better music. On what was one of the nicest days of summer we’ve witnessed in London so far this year, Four Tet’s return to the capital is one that will be remembered for a long time.

See more photos by Sam Willicome below:

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