Ultimate Guide | Common People

Features / Festivals / Words

23 May 16


I dread to think what Rob da Bank’s iCalendar looks like this close to summer. Adding to an already impressive festival roster – family-frolicking Camp Bestival and both the Isle of Wight and Toronto incarnations of the inimitable Bestival – last year, he launched a new urban festival in Southampton and, after the runaway success of its inaugural outing, Common People is back, this year with a twin festival in Oxford.

The two festivals will share a core line up and, in keeping with Bestival’s community ethos, will also aim to bring local talents to the fore. In Southampton, the second edition of battle-of-the-bands-style I Want to Play at Common People will see the best, local undiscovered gems competing for a spot on the Uncommon People stage. We’re also keen to return to The People’s Front Room, to while away time getting lost in folk acts, from the comfort of an armchair.

In Oxford, we’ll be keeping an eye out for local musician, singer and producer Esther Joy Lane, hot on the heels of her new single Quest for Her, as well as Annie-Mac-approved Cameron A.G. and Oxford’s ethereal Stockholm import, Julia Meijer. Also on the don’t miss list: vintage jazz seven-piece The Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band and one-man-band/cellist extraordinaire, Duotone. The crowd should be well prepped, then, for bigger acts on the bill, including crooner Jamie Lawson, indie legends Primal Scream and Eighties icons Duran Duran.


Beyond the community colour and crowd pleasers, there will also be a healthy dose of DJs and retro guilty pleasures at Common People. Local boy done good Craig David will return to Southampton on Saturday, after headlining Oxford on Friday evening, this time with TS5 – an eclectic mix of garage, R&B and the vocals that we all fondly remember from David’s early Naughties classics such as “Fill Me In”.

Katy B will take to the main stage to showcase her new collaborative album, “Honey”, which sees her setting her dulcet tones against production by the likes of Four Tet, Floating Points and fellow Common Person, Craig David, while Public Enemy and The Sugarhill Gang bring classic hip-hop to the crowds on the Common.

For those after something with a little more bass, there’s the soulful lyricism of Ghostpoet on the main stage, and the Big Top will be playing host to David Rodigan’s Ram Jam, with My Nu Leng and Dread MC, DJ Zinc and 99 Souls, and drum n bass acts from Hospitality.

Which is not to say that the local scenes won’t be represented in the more dance-centric offerings of the weekend. Swing by Oxonian electro five-piece Maiians for a dose of synth-heavy dance.

And there’s the world’s largest bouncy castle on site in Southampton all weekend, which is basically the best news we’ve heard all year.