PREVIEW FEATURE: "Let’s make it five!" Love Supreme Festival (30 June – 2 July)

Love Supreme Festival 

“Let’s make it five!” writes Dan Bergsagel. He went to the first LOVE SUPREME FESTIVAL in 2013 – it was his first summer after leaving university – and has been to every one since. He has reported on the festival for LondonJazz News and other publications. Daniel explains the vibe, and his particular fascination for the East Sussex festival, and looks forward to the 2017 edition which runs from 30 June to 2 July. He writes:

There aren’t many things I do reliably each year: Birthdays, Christmas, and since 2013, Love Supreme. Its perhaps unusual to elevate a simple jazz festival to the heady heights of national holidays and anniversaries of birth, but there’s something about the festival in Glynde that draws me back.

At its core Love Supreme has carved itself a successful niche – mixing the high quality international programming of a city wide jazz festival with the sun-drenched hedonism and imagery of Glastonbury. Obviously to align the two requires a bit of re-positioning, with the spiritualism of some festivals replaced with screenings and replays of classic documentaries and albums, or the hedonism of others replaced with a robust line in specially brewed locally ales. But the charm is that in creating a greenfield jazz festival, Love Supreme has to appeal to a broad demographic. And while it’s hard to cater for all fans (I still sigh when I see a phalanx of deck chairs and picnic blankets in front of the main stage), it is a very welcoming and un-intimidating environment.

This commitment to cater for all types is evidently sewn through the line up each year. Charming contemporary Americans bands, progressive homegrown talent, world-famous RnB and Soul, and young and energetic brass bands all vie for attention. But it’s not just the diversity, but the quality. It’s a jazz Disneyland, where one ticket buys you one ride on Snarky Puppy, Gregory Porter, Hugh Masekela, Riot Jazz, and Kamasi Washington.

Patrice Quinn, Rickey Washington, Kamasi Washington at Love Supreme
Photo credit: Albert Opalko

For anything to be a regular event it needs to rely on the success of the mundane, and much of the appeal is that Love Supreme is small and remarkably relaxed. None of the stressful festival shenanigans of the larger rock-based festival siblings, where lost friends are needles in haystacks, and the walk to get from then tent to the next act is essentially a 3 mile bog snorkle. The site is cosy enough to get from end to end in a leisurely 10 minutes. If one year camping doesn’t fit the bill, then Glynde is near enough to get to from Brighton or London in an hour or so that it’s easy enough to commute down for Lunch.

Perhaps the most instructive thing I can share is that, while I would have to concede that I self-define fairly squarely as part of Love Supreme’s target audience – a young camping-ready London-based jazz enthusiast – my partner certainly doesn’t. Indeed she insists that she doesn’t really like Jazz at all (pause for shocked gasps all round). Yet each year she reminds me that July is looming, and we better get ourselves sorted so we don’t miss it.

What am I looking forward to this July? Yes of course I’m looking forward to Herbie Hancock, Christian Scott, Laura Mvula and The Jacksons. But more unimaginatively, I’m looking forward to more of the same. Routines are important and comforting, and a four-year routine is a rare thing. Let’s make it five! (pp)

Snarky Puppy at Love Supreme

The fifth Love Supreme Festival runs from 30 June to 2 July 2017

LINK: Love Supreme Festival website

Categories: miscellaneous

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