Siren Stage

Review: Waterworks Festival 2021

Waterworks Festival launched as a sellout event at Gunnersbury Park, closing the season with lineups curated by promoters, Percolate and Team Love. The festival’s bill featured the likes of Tim Reaper, Jossy Mitsu, FAUZIA, Om Unit and Sicaria Sound to name a few. Despite facing several obstacles, such as licence rejections and three years of planning, Waterworks opened with an impressive start.

The weather was gloomy and overcast, yet this strangely fit with the set design and theme of the festival. We didn’t quite know what to anticipate of the stages, though they certainly exceeded our expectations. Each stage was unparalleled to the other, offering a different sentiment, whether you wanted to find escapism with Pearson Sound at the Orbit stage, or engage in the (good) racket at RA’s bass heavy stage, Siren.

The Water Tower. Photograph: Charlie Hill

A particularly interesting stage was the Water Tower, which had a 360 degree sound system and saw an explosive closing set from Rinse resident, Josey Rebelle. We didn’t realise until later on into the night that the stage was built around the Gunnersbury Pavilion, which felt like a suitable homage to the park.

Let’s face it – no one is ever going to see all the acts they want to see. Some day festivals have the tendency to cram too many acts in one day. However, it seems that Waterworks premeditated this issue by focusing on quality rather than quantity, despite hosting a whopping seven stages.

Siren at night. Photograph: Charlie Hill

A particular highlight came from Sicaria Sound’s penultimate set at Siren, featuring Novelist. This felt like an entirely different stage altogether, transforming into a trippy rendition at night. Sicaria Sound delivered a thundering set, pummelling the crowd with their syncopated selections along with the gritty lyrics of Novelist. Pearson Sound’s set also really stood out, who brought a mesmerising set to the Orbit stage. The crowd was in an almost trance-like state and felt like you’d left Acton Town and travelled to some otherworldly place.

Sicaria Sound, Siren Stage. Photograph: Charlie Hill

The festival as a whole was dynamic and captivating, from the ambience to the lineup, it was an ample representation of the UK dance and electronic scene. A number of new festivals have popped up in London, making it harder than ever to stand out. Yet, Waterworks’ first appearance saw a spectacular start and they have undoubtedly determined themselves as a forerunner in the day festival circuit. In short, Waterworks was the perfect conclusion to the ‘Third Summer of Love.’

Sign up for Waterworks 2022 here.