The Spirit of London Shines Bright

Words and photos by Shelley Jones

We’ve heard a lot in the last couple days about the defiant spirit of Londoners.

Our ability to carry on with positivity and openness in the face of horror, the bravery and resilience of our emergency service workers and citizens running towards danger when every instinct is telling them to run away, our hero Ignacio Echeverría defending a woman with his skateboard on the way back from a sunny day at the park, our unbreakable sense of humour no matter what, our summer clothes in storm clouds, our pints, our banter, our solidarity, our tolerance, our love.

And although hard times do bring these qualities into focus, they’re things I’m already aware of every day walking around this ugly, lovely town. Yes, like any huge, raw, diverse-in-every-way city we have our shit, but we’re pretty fucking good at keeping it on a level. We love life, we keep an open mind, and we know how to have a good time.

It was the tenth anniversary of the Victoria Park-based festival Field Day this year on Saturday June 3—the same day that, at just after 10pm when the happy event was drawing to a close, three disturbed young men launched a killing spree down the road at London Bridge.

And like every other Field Day (I think I’ve literally been to all 10), it was a beautiful, brilliant celebration of everything Londoners love—music, booze, friends, the park, having a laugh—with a lineup of eclectic artists that reflect the mixed interests and passions of this incredible city; from Cornish electronic overlord Aphex Twin to Jazz legend-descended Californian Flying Lotus, to Jamaican-Grenadian local genre-buster Gaika, to Syrian former wedding singer-turned- Palace Skateboards and Trilogy Tapes collaborator Omar Souleyman.

Field Day—a little festival started by a small label owner to bring the local music community together around the year’s most exciting artists—is a pretty good measure of what London is about. And these pictures, heady snapshots of the moments in between set times, hopefully translate a bit of that spirit. It’s a spirit that IS unbreakable; that is stronger with us now than ever before, and it’s a spirit that will never be cowed by terror. So here’s to a banging London summer. See you down the pub.

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