A massive UK music fest in Hackney
The line up for the Hackney Weekend concert includes Hackney-native Leona Lewis. (BBC)
It should be known that the British never let a lack of toilet facilities get in the way of a good time.
When London was announced as the 2012 Olympic host city, it meant one staple of the UK summer would have to take temporary break: the world-famous Glastonbury contemporary arts festival in Somerset. Quite simply, there aren't enough police on the beat – or portable toilets – to host both in the same summer. Olympics 1, Glastonbury 0.
Music fans, however, needn't cry into their ciders over the one-year Glastonbury holiday. The Hackney Weekend (23 and 24 June) will be the biggest free ticketed music event in the UK this year, featuring some of the biggest acts on the planet and all just a shot put throw from the Olympic venues.
The festival – held in East London’s Hackney Marshes - is an Olympic-year version of the Big Weekend, a festival organised by BBC Radio 1, one of the UK’s biggest radio stations. These events, held in a different UK location, usually have a 50,000 capacity, but this has been doubled for the Hackney Weekend this year.
The line up includes former Glastonbury headliner Jay-Z, R&B superstars Nicki Minaj and Rihanna, former White Stripes frontman Jack White, Florence + The Machine and Hackney-native Leona Lewis, as well as a “BBC Introducing” stage that showcases some of the big stars of tomorrow at their very start.
Hackney’s hipster-packed bars, cafes and arts spaces have become a centre of London’s music scene. Over the years, the gritty neighbourhood has bred talent from glam rocker Marc Bolan to members of metal overlords Iron Maiden and Def Leppard to Brit Award-winning rapper Plan B.
The Hackney Weekend is free, though at the time of writing all the tickets have been snapped up. Your best chance of getting in is to snag a ticket from a Radio 1 competition, befriend one of the acts taking part, or listen via Radio1 or its urban music sister station 1Xtra which will no doubt be spilling out of the neighbourhood’s many venues and watering holes.