In recent years, Friday has worked as Forbidden Fruit’s way of gently easing everybody going, and the local residents, into the proceedings and madness that will follow for the next two nights. With a slightly later starting time and a slightly lighter lineup than the Saturday and Sunday, the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham may be more empty than expected, but it’s no less active.
The Trinity Orchestra provide an initial safe haven on the main stage, kicking things off in an elegant and uplifting style. Their sound somehow gets lost in the mix at times, which could be why they draw in such a scarce amount of people. It’s certainly a far cry from Al Gibbs and Octave One who both get the audience straight into nightclub mode by five o’clock in the afternoon. It’s clear some festival goers are looking for high energy from the get go and he knows how to provide just that.
There is enough varied facilities spread throughout the grounds to please everyone. For the easygoing festival goer, there’s no lack of food options, carnival attractions or quieter areas to sit and enjoy the music. For the attendee who wants to go on the tear from the get go, there’s thumping bass, drinks flowing and oxygen bars, which I’m still not sure if I fully understand the purpose of despite being labelled as ‘the festival experience’.
Young Fathers quickly fill up the main stage area for the first time today by emitting a massive sound. It’s one that demands the attention of any audience members casually walking past. They are definitely unique enough to catch everyone’s ear, and are vastly different to and more refreshing than what comes to mind when you think of the ‘average’ festival act.
Pusha T takes off pretty slowly, but eventually warms up as more people show up. His hits carry his set and do enough to catch people’s attention, if only for a minute or two at a time. Katy B manages to serenade and rile up the red tent for her closing set. Her booming vocals over the festival friendly production grant hands constantly raised in appreciation. It’s almost a similar atmosphere provided by Kerri Chandler at the same time at the Lighthouse Stage, but with a bit more grit and bass that is lapped up.
As the main stage reaches near-capacity for Dizzee Rascal, it’s clear many people are searching for the right place to end the night on a bang. Dizzee has the perfect mix of dirty, bass-led grime tracks and chart successes to please everyone in attendance. He maintains the ability to perform at a breakneck speed, all the while making sure energy levels are high and the security guards that spread amongst the madness are safe. An unreleased Calvin Harris collaboration and ‘Bonkers’ expectedly ends things on as high a note as we’ve had today. If there’s one thing that Dizzee seems to have mastered is pleasing the festival crowd.
Friday may be the quieter night of the weekend but it’s definitely the most pleasant. Not shrouded in massive queues, over flowing toilets and the usual obstacles you’d expect from a festival – that’s Saturday’s job.
Pusha T and Forbidden Fruit 2016 photographed for State by Leah Carroll.