CGuk | Wireless Festival 2022
It’s that time of the year again, June to August is always the most anticipated time of the year for festival goers. Wireless is one of the biggest UK festivals and this year they decided to up the levels and change the whole structure on how it is usually ran. Notoriously, the festival is known for being held at London’s Finsbury Park. Due to the pandemic last year, the festival was moved to Crystal Palace Park and was held in September instead. So when Wireless announced that they would be performing in 3 different locations on 2 different weekends, they were clearly here to play no games.
Weekend one in July saw Crystal Palace Park take centre stage, to kick start the two weekends on July 1st to July 3rd. A$AP Rocky, J.Cole & Tyler The Creator played the main headline sets for the venue.
The Birmingham & Finsbury Park events followed the weekend after on July 8th to July 10th. This was the second time Birmingham have hosted the festival, the last occasion was at Perry Park in 2014. We saw; Dave, Cardi B & J.Cole headline at NEC Birmingham. Whilst Cardi B, SZA & Nicki Minaj headlined the OG spot of Finsbury Park.
For me, Wireless is such a highly rated festival because of what it does for the UK & Overseas music culture. The way it combines worldwide acts and provides a stage for the UK to see such a high caliber of artists. Look at how many UK & overseas collaborations we have watched appear after the festival, don’t get it misunderstood… Wireless plays a huge part in this!
Despite the crowd at Crystal Palace Park being excited for all the headliner acts, when the festival announced that Chris Brown would be making his first UK performance in 12 years, of course all eyes were going to be on his performance. The reaction was expected, especially coming off the back of his recent album release "Breezy" as well. Every time you see Brown perform, he puts on a show that no one else can offer in my opinion. Who else can sing, rap and dance like that, it almost seems so effortless... if you didn't get to see him at Wireless, you should certainly go to his next UK tour (that he announced whilst on stage.)
Just touching on what I previously said about how much Wireless does for the culture, this became even more apparent when A$AP Rocky & Rihanna were spotted at local barbershop. The superstars were casually greeted into 'Star Fade' which completely blew up the business, Nigel the Barber was even giving interviews to BBC Radio 1Xtra about the trim. Yesterdays price is certainly not today's price for Nigel, all of this became possible through the event, it has the pull for huge names.
Tyler The Creator had one of the stand out performances of the weekend, bringing all the energy to the stage and it shown in the crowds electric reaction to him. The Kid Laroi also brought out Fivio Foreign on the main stage, which came at the perfect time as the duo have dropped a brand new single "Paris To Tokyo." J.Cole had the busiest two weeks out of all the artists on the bill, not only did he set Crystal Palace on fire, he also shutdown Birmingham as their headline act. Despite not being able to perform last year, A Boogie certainly had more luck on his side this time and made his presence felt, as he blessed the stage.
It is fair to say, CP held a bunch of legendary memories, but one that will stay in the UK music fans hearts... Was the moment Nines came out and performed for the first time in 4 years. You could see just what it meant to him and the fans, after so many setbacks and police not trying to let him perform, this was certainly a moment that won't be forgotten.
The weekend of 8th to 10th July saw Wireless take on Finsbury Park and NEC Birmingham, what a time to be alive. When it came to summarising the general line up, I would say Birmingham had the better artists, especially how Chris Brown was added last minute. But many fans were sold at the fact London had Nicki Minaj headlining for the last day. Both venues certainly never failed to disappoint the crowds as people showed out and exceeded numbers of 40,000.
It was so good to be back at Finsbury Park this year, the original spot. The festival organisers clearly listened to last years complaints about the lack of female artists on the line up. This year all three headliners were female artists; Cardi B, SZA & Nicki Minaj all stole the show and showed out for not just the ladies, but the entire rap/R&B community. Cardi lit up the first headline set and had the crowd going wild, she also decided to surprise London by bringing out her husband Offset and then fellow Wireless artist Megan Thee Stallion. SZA had the crowd in their bag and set the vibes correct for the Saturday headline set. Then finally, I would say Nicki Minaj is probably the most anticipated headline set in years, the barbs shown out in full force and pretty much locked off the streets of London.
The moment of the weekend had to go to Lil Baby's set on the Sunday, despite the rapper being late, it was well worth the wait. I wouldn't be lying when I say that there was not one track that the crowd was stood still, he played hit after hit and had the best crowd of the whole weekend. It is crazy to see how far his performances have developed since seeing him perform at the 2019 Wireless. You can watch his famous "Freestyle" performance below, to watch his full set, click here.
Nicki's headline set took you through a whole journey of her career and boy did it make you realise how long she's been at the top of this game. You have to put respect on her name, naturally she won't be as popping as when she came into this game but the fact she is still so relevant, proves her longevity to the rap game. She literally caused a roadblock on the Sunday, as the tickets sold out (which many said she was the reason for,) a lot of fans were trying to break into the festival to gain entry.
As soon as she was spotted on the streets of London, fans swarmed around her. Many people were explaining the effect she had on people was similar to Michael Jackson. For her to be even mentioned in those conversations like that, you can't knock what she has done for the rap game, especially females in the game. Despite being a little late, the reaction of the crowd was expected, from the moment she came out all you could hear is screaming and shouting. She took us all the way back to Beez In The Trap, Super Bass, Moment 4 Life and dropped off some new gems like "Do We Have A Problem" & "We Go Up."
The line up for Birmingham was certainly one of the strongest looking out of the three, the NEC had a lot of the exclusive performances as well. The first headliner set went to Dave and he set the bar very high for J.Cole & Cardi B, who was both fresh off the main stages at the other two venues. J.Cole blew the speakers twice during his headline set, which tells you all you need to know really... LIT! Cardi brought nothing but energy and decided to bring out Offset with her too, who had the crowd going wild to Bad & Boujee.
Chris Brown had a few surprises up his sleeve for his second show at Wireless, as soon as the crowd heard "Ayo" everyone knew what time it was. Bringing Tyga out was a clever move, it brought all the energy to his performance, the crowds reaction was another reason why certain artists just have to be respected, purely because of how long they have been in this game.
It was good to see so many Birmingham DJ's be put on the bill, it made a lot of sense considering the festival was coming back to the 0121. This is yet another example of how I think the festival brings creatives from all over together and offers them a platform. The exposure that some of these DJs will have had is more than they could have imagined, plus the experience of performing in front of huge crowds is priceless for their careers.
I think it's very fair to say, Wireless didn't disappoint yet again... the real question is what are the plans for 2023? Will they host 3 venues again or just stick to Finsbury Park? What headliners do they have up their sleeves? We shall be keeping you updated as always, here at CGuk on all the latest news.