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Review: Lush Life Festival

17 August 21 words: Katie Lyle
photos: Ishaq Madan

Last Thursday evening, Hockley Hustle and Mimm collaborated to bring listeners at Nottingham Castle bandstand a collection of jazz, funk and soul music… 

After the past 18 months' lack of events, gathering to watch performances from local artists is a dream come true. Lush Life Festival did all this and more. With live music at the epicentre of Nottingham culture, you could tell from the warm, cheery atmosphere at the Castle’s bandstand that everyone was ecstatic - and relieved - to finally be back. 

Tying in the world of jazz, funk and soul, the standard of artists was extremely high, with Notts’ own Saffron, Alex Mighten, Ella Knight and Yazmin Lacey filling a stellar line-up.

With live art being created directly beside the stage, it felt like this was much more than just a gathering of listeners. The event was so welcoming, and I was greeted with a free Mimm tote bag and delicious smells of Notts Street Food. Alongside this, DJ sets from SphSqrs and Soul Sister helped to keep us all dancing in between acts. 

Saffron’s opening set for the event was everything I needed. With soothing vocals and cyclic basslines, her performance felt like you were in the middle of a jam session between some of the best local musicians, in the best possible way. With Franky Bones on keys this oozed jazzy, soulful vibes. The one and only Nottingham legend Alex Mighten (formerly known as Karizma), who also happened to be hosting the event, brought his incomparably upbeat, lively personality with phenomenal bars that had everyone moving. 

We were in for a treat as Ella Knight delivered a stunning performance as the sun set across the city. I was super excited to hear her performing her beautiful new single All Around - it felt electric.

Closing the night, Yazmin Lacey was phenomenal as expected. With such a unique, natural and rich vocal tone, we were showered with dreamy harmonies as everyone swayed with a drink in hand. 

All this on top of the stunning surroundings of Nottingham Castle just felt like a perfect evening, and it was my first time seeing the stunning new site since its reopening. As a ticketed event, with only 500 on sale, it felt like it had the perfect sized crowd to bring a chilled out evening that was bustling at the same time. 

Not only all this, but Lush Life was for an amazing cause - with profits of tickets going to Nottingham Central Women’s Aid, who support women and children escaping domestic violence and abuse. Money raised also went towards the sponsorship of CUBE for their upcoming project, where they will be offering support and access to women and non-binary people to gain experience in various areas of the music industry. 

I really hope to see this festival popping up again, and I will definitely be attending if it does. 

Lush Life took place at Nottingham Castle Bandstand on Thursday 12 August.

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