Hardwick. 21.8.21

Known for its undercurrent for championing progressive politics, Hardwick 2021 carries on where Harwich 2019 left off; full of interesting artists who mostly consist of a soul/funk/folk body, and an inclusive mind.
Saturday is a success just for staying the right side of various downpours, progressing through a collection of well received bands on the (now moved) Introducing Stage.  Disregard, in particular, play an impressive set for their sizeable crowd.  By 5.30 the downpour reaches it’s crescendo, something which doesn’t faze Imelda May on the main stage, who spends a large part of her soul-rnb infused set joining the crowd in the rain.  A lovely version of Should’ve been you capitalises a great set. 
A final flurry of activity sees a jump back to the Introducing stage for locals 1two3four and their note perfect version of the Chain and then it’s across to the main stage for art rockers Maximo Park who talk up their local heritage, dress as sharp as usual, and knock it right out of the park with What Equals love?, which also sets things up nicely for the king of disco Nile Rogers who performs an embarrassing rich of classic pop and dance floor grooves including highlight I want your love. 
Sunday, and the nicer weather, sees a chilled-out morning disappear quickly with Elvana on the main stage who bring their usual hunk-a-hunk-a-burning-love good time blend of humour and grunge, followed by James Leonard Hewitt on the Introducing stage who fires the shoe gazing garage rock sound up to ten.
Euphoric indies from Embrace, including opener All you good good people, perhaps steal the title of, bizarrely, the most smiley act of the weekend whilst blissed out Ty Lewis caps a perfect Sunday afternoon with his solo soul vocals; his own track Sober stealing his set.
 A jump across to the main stage for, perhaps, the best act of the weekend, Razorlight is well worth it as Johnny and the gang start tentatively before reaching extreme peaks with Who needs love, and their finale, America.  Final headliner Rag’N’Bone Man arrives fully formed for the closer and his soulful end to the weekend proves that there’s a strong curation theme running across Hardwick – they don’t just want everybody to dance, they also want people to listen to artists with interesting messages.  Another great Hardwick.


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