Written by Becca Hemens
As the crowds poured out of Mile End station and eagerly made their way towards Victoria Park, the opening day of All Points East was ready to commence. Carefully organised by British icon and Glastonbury headliner Stormzy, Friday’s ‘This Is What We Mean Day’ hosted some of the industry’s biggest names in rap and R&B. Founded in 2018 and quickly establishing itself as a key event in the music festival calendar, not even the rainstorm warnings could deter fans from a day of bliss.
With the East and West stages hosting the day’s top performers, attendees were spoilt for choice. New Orleans based and grammy nominated musician Lucky Daye took to the East stage and wowed the crowds with his soulful blend of delicate vocals and passionate rap. As he got down on his knees and belted his hits “Over” and “Roll Some Mo”, the audience bathed in
the long-awaited sunshine and reveled in his impressive musical versatility. Afterwards, it was time to head to the BBC Radio 6 stage to enjoy the founder of the ‘Girls Can’t DJ’ collective Jordsss where the summer vibes were high and the dancing was infectious. Providing a mix of club classics and techno anthems, Jordsss set the tone for a great night to come.
As the day went on, it was time for headliner Kehlani to take to the West stage. Reflecting her gratitude and grace, she ensured the crowd were as much a part of the set as her band while she performed music from her soundcloud days to her chart-topping numbers ‘Gangsta’ and ‘Nights Like This’. Dedicating her performance to “all the pretty girls in the world”, Kehlani united her adoring crowd who danced at her mercy. Next, it was finally Stormzy’s turn to close the night after a greatly successful day, and his set proved to reflect the astute curation of the festival. Beginning with his more refined music backed by the phenomenal vocality of his gospel choir, he opened with his hit ‘Fire + Water’ as the rain poured down on the audience. Even from the
back, the weather couldn’t shake the crowd’s spirits. The show later took a turn as he threw himself into his hard-hitting number ‘Big For Your Boots’, and the crowd went wild, revelling in the rain as he began the second part of his act. With everyone chanting along biblically to hits like ‘Vossi Bop’ and ‘Shut Up’, all worries of wet feet and damp hair were gone. As he relished the festival-goers’ dedication and thrived at being in his hometown, he marked the day as one of love, unity and joy.
With an expansive choice of stages, an impressive display of talent and variety, and the genuine passion of artists, Stormzy’s ‘This Is What We Mean Day’ was one to remember. From the attentive staff and the ease of entry to the extensive food choice and the drinks flowing from the beverage tents, All Points East didn’t miss a beat. At Haste, our stomachs were full and our heads were on cloud nine. And now? We sit back and wait for next week.