With star-studded lineups all around and a seemingly endless list of acts to discover, for one week and one week only beat-ridden Cambridge turns into a hub for amazing acts from around the world. All you need to do is find them.
Scouting for Girls at Downing Ball
Summer is and always will be a glorious time for throwback playlists, and Scouting for Girls holds a treasured spot on every one of them. The London trio soundtracked many an awkward 12 year-olds transition into Hello Kitty bras and prepubescent hair growth – so what would be more fitting than awkwardly headbanging to their indie pop sound whilst shedding a nostalgic tear on the vast Downing lawns. 10 points to anyone who ditches their gown and dresses up as an olive in solidarity with Georgie in that heartbreaking Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging Halloween scene backed by “She’s so lovely“.
Sigala at St. John’s Ball
Tropical house may be a cringe indulging phrase to many a music snob but make no mistake, it has dominated the charts for the past years and shows no sign of leaving any time soon. Of the many Kygo impersonators infiltrating Cambridge this week (note JP Cooper at Queens), no one makes the feel good vibes emanate from his sound-system quite as masterfully as Sigala, most notably on his happy go lucky sampling of the Jackson’s on “Easy Lovin”. He is sure to kick up a storm under the dimming sunlight at gorgeous John’s.
Charli XCX at Trinity ball
Trust Trinity to snag this kick-ass pop princess whose very voice turns everything it touches into gold, most memorably Icona Pop’s iconic summer hit “I love it”. Her euphoric tunes take many a cantab back to a distant Cindies dance floor and no one can can claim that they don’t know an embarrassing amount of words to “Boom Clap”.
Conchita Würst at Kings Affair
Ever wondered what happens to Eurovision winners after they belt out saxophone-backed electro love ballads at the potentially strangest music event ever to exist? For Conchita Würst, the drag queen alter ego of Austrian Thomas Neuwirth, the love-fest that is Kings Affaire is the chosen stage for her amiable eccentric presence. Her larger than life Eurovision win “Rise Like A Phoenix”, is sure to bring the house down and touch even the most post-ironic of the Kings Affaire attendees.
Mister Saturday Night at Junction
For electro lovers May balls may seem a little normcore in their lineups, but sweet release was offered by junction, who had you covered with the deepest of techno and house beats for their Summer all nighter. With an exceptionally good selection of DJ’s, you were no doubt in the zone till the early hours of the morning. Most exciting was Mister Saturday Night whose legendary NYC parties are notorious spaces for self-expression, as any dance floor should be. Hopefully you managed to imitate some of the moves below when you lit up the dark junction venue.
Laura Mvula at Jesus
Part of the exciting wave of soul-pop inspired London ladies such as Jorja Smith and Lianne La Havas, Laura Mvula’s hits such as Green Garden are equally pretty and catchy. She’s been known to perform with whole orchestras and anyone lucky enough to catch a ticket for Jesus has an absolute musical treat to look forward to.
David Rodigan at Clare
This reggae disco veteran has been on the London dance scene for as long as ravers can remember. He has even earned an MBE as a disc-jockey for his dancehall contribution to the otherwise shamefully bland national music taste of Britons. At the healthy age of 65 Rodigan still grooves harder than your grandad reinterpreting Hound Dog at a hotel karaoke.
Nadia Rose at Emma May Ball
Nadia Rose is back (like she never left) and will be fiercely repping the London grime scene with her lyrical mastery and tongue-in-cheek disses all around. She will unavoidably have you twerking in your tux quicker than you can say “flammable”.
Shaggy at Strawberries and Cream
The king of naughties reggae pop was at a stage near you and there is no way you missed it. Many a dedicated festivilian low-key googled the lyrics to “it wasn’t me” to avoid the embarrassment of failing miserably at the “Howafinassumoya villa, hwadidumdefisum ya pilla” bit yet again. To be a true player you have to know how to play. Also on the poster was Wiley, the Streets and AJ Tracey, which amounted to a day of moshpits and happiness.
Loyle Carner at Pembroke
The simple fact that Loyle Carner will bless Cambridge with his presence will make any hip-hop geek swoon. His laid back classic hip-hop flow is as water tight live as it is recorded. Ain’t Nothing Changed is possibly the best debut of 2017 and you’ll undoubtedly have your lighters up for his thoughtful confessional bars.
Manoeuvring May Week music will be hectic, but as long as you bring your best boogie game wherever you go, you are sure to make it through in one musically fulfilled piece.