Lavender Sutton attended Love Supreme Festival Saturday 2022.
Recognized as “the most spectacular jazz festival in the country”, Love Supreme has become a highly anticipated weekend event hosting some of the best jazz, funk, R&B, Hip Hop and Soul all in one place.
It combines the European jazz festival model (Montreux and North Sea) with the British camping festival mentality and hosts ‘standard’ camping, ‘supremium’ camping and even ‘glamping’ for those looking for a high end experience. of range.
You can also just get a non-camping day pass and take the train from London straight to Glynde, followed by a 15-minute walk or very stylish tractor ride straight to the festival gates.
Once all the day’s logistics are settled and you get the wristband of your choice to enter, the world is yours! With 5 stages, the festival has something for everyone, representing both some of the most recognized names in the industry as well as smaller stages to champion emerging and local musicians.
The timetables for the stages are staggered, so it is possible to check a bit of everything that is going on. There’s even a Love Supreme app that shows weekend schedules and lists for where to go next. It was a very useful tool that was usable offline, as there is very little cell service in Glynde Place.
Kicking off the main stage, featuring some of his favorites plus a sneak peek of his latest release, Theater, Joe Stilgoe and the artists were a perfect start to the day. A combination of comedic originals and well-arranged familiar covers, he took the time to showcase his stellar band full of London stalwarts (Sumudu, Giacomo Smith and Tom Farmer to name a few) and the main stage arena filled up pretty quickly.
In the middle of the day, pianist/multi-instrumentalist Jon Cleary (Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal and BB King), touring from New Orleans, had everyone in the South Downs tent. Under the tent Supreme Standards, the aspiring London-based R&B singer-songwriter Bel Cobain had his fans in the crowd, singing along to his popular singles which featured a few horn players and some rapping. Warriors of Tomorrow Sultan Stevenson Trio were whipping up traditional bebop in the New Generation Jazz area with a dedicated crowd of sun-kissed picnickers.
Back on the main stage, Sam Henshaw impressed with gospel-inspired R&B. Known to have been handpicked by Chance the Rapper and James Bay to support their tour, Samm Henshaw’s set was uplifting but grounded and had the arena pit waving their arms with him for the entire hour. It was the perfect festival set – big, full band sound, charismatic, upbeat music. Aside from the headliner, Henshaw was the standout performance.
Tom Mischa Love Supreme veteran, has worked the room (or the field?) well, playing his funky neo-soul hits to audiences who know them all too well from Spotify playlists and cafe soundtracks.
Towards the end of the evening, Lianne LaHavas had the first support slot of the evening. His fans were there in droves to sing along to his hits like bittersweet, Green & Gold and unstoppable. Although his music was softer and more relaxing with elements of soul and folk, it contrasted well with what was to follow.
After a rather long stage editing and the construction of two (!) drum scenes, the legend of R&B and Hip Hop Erykah Badu finally took the stage with her band – DJ, piano, bass, four backing vocals, drums and percussion. Known for her eccentric nature, the arena was full of equal parts trepidation and excitement as she descended center stage in a giant cloak made of rags and an African-inspired headdress.
Love Supreme’s audience is such a hodgepodge of personalities, it was hard to know how many people in the crowd were just up for a fun festival night and how many actually knew Badu’s music, but it didn’t seem to matter because she launched into familiar tunes like Next life again and again, Telephone and Window seat.
The production elements (with Soul Train footage, trippy light shows, and a vocal effects mic she used on one song) added to the entertainment value. There were parts that felt unscripted and truly reflected her “in the moment” style of performance – as she paused mid-song to move on to something more in keeping with the mood – and it was easy to see how much she wanted everyone to be a part of the show as she asked the audience to sing along with her.
She offered everyone an uplifting spiritual message in the final song: a cover of the musical The genius entitled Believe in yourself in which she addressed the audience directly between sung lines of Lena Horne’s tribute. In the end, she jumped off the stage and posed for photos, reaching through the security barriers to the high-five and shaking hands with the crowd, leaving everyone smitten with this goddess influenced by rap. The festival’s Festival Line Up poster called the performance a “UK Exclusive Performance” and as far as that goes, it was a memorable performance.
Supreme Love Festival Site / The 2023 festival runs from June 30 to July 2.
Categories: Live review